Debunking some of the myths about Lime Wash

We were surfing the internet and found a page that discussed some of the drawbacks to Lime Wash. Most of the list was incorrect. Here are the myths and our debunking answers:

  • There are a few drawbacks of lime wash. The paint can only be used on non-smooth surfaces and may not be as durable as traditional paint.
    San Marco Team Response: Incorrect lime wash can be used on smooth, semi-smooth or rough surfaces. Application difficulty will be the same as latex. On durability, it is more durable than latex (50 years vs 10 years).
  • Because of its high pH level, lime wash paint acts as a fungicide.
    San Marco Team Response: False. Due to it’s high pH, microorganisms cannot survive. In addition lime wash absorbs internal air, removes toxins, & C02 from interior air thus producing a better indoor air quality.
  • When your lime washed surface becomes dirty, add another coat rather than washing it.
    San Marco Team Response: Dirty walls can be easily recoated with a diluted coat that will be less expensive/disruptive than cleaning, especially interior walls.
  • For interior surfaces, add in a binding agent. Lime wash is unsuitable for drywall, but can be used on wood, brick, concrete, and other porous surfaces.
    San Marco Team Response: True but…A binding (consolidator 1st coat) agent is required for drywall as the paint needs a mineral substrate…this is no more expensive than latex as new drywall should be primed for latex. It is not the porosity of the tape joints substrate that needs to be consolidated for any mineral paint application, and the first coat being a mineral paint that provides a mineral binder to facilitate the applications of mineral paints on sheetrock,  but the make-up of the consolidator…it needs to be mineral.
  • Wear protective covering when applying lime wash, as limestone is a corrosive material for the skin and eyes.
    San Marco Team Response: This material is caustic, caution should be used when handling this product. Note: ALL paint manufacturers are going to recommend the use of eye protection, gloves, ventilation, etc.
  • You may need to apply several thin coats to achieve the lime wash coat that you desire.
    San Marco Team Response: The amount of coats (and dilution ratios) will be dictated by the desired effect…no different from latex, especially the textured paints…I did a Ralph Lauren Suede here at the house that required a base coat rolled on with two additional coats brushed on at 45 degrees from the base coat and right degree angles from each other then following while wet a criss-cross brushing of each layer…lime wash will never be that difficult!

But wait there is more…

This is a historical mineral finish used as an application to give a tinted mineral finish to exterior or interior stucco, plaster, stone, brick,  and any mineral surfaces that have a porous surface. This paint material was used as a standard paint finish particularly since  the founding of the Roman Empire and was one of only two paint products available for exterior paint finishes in Europe up to WWII. Lime wash paint continues to be used as a protective and decorative surface when applied to mineral surfaces. Italian slaked lime products (cooked active lime stored in water for 2 years, thus becoming inactive lime) will carbonize with mineral surfaces and create a mineral bond that will continue to harden for decades. Antica Calce applied as an antique finish  (2-3 microns thick) will be affected by natural environmental deterioration such as stone, brick, and any masonry material exposed to the elements. In either event the material applied to external mineral surfaces usually has a minimum durability of 10-20 years before needing to be repainted when applied in such a diluted states as 100% or more with water. Each time Antica Calce is applied the natural chemical action is reinforced and thus functions as a preservative particularly for any mineral or stucco product. Applied with full coverage, 3 coats diluted according manufactures specifications, can have a durability of up to 50+ years when applied to fresh stucco.

This material will be applied to the brick veneer by a large brush to create an antique patina.  The Architect, Builder, and Homeowner need to understand that with applying a lime wash, a certain amount of spontaneity is inherent in the paint, creating mottled chromatic affect on the surfaces as it dries, much like applying water color to Strathmore water color paper. This is the beauty of this material and as the seasons go by a natural deterioration will occur which only intensifies the originality of a historical product.

Antica Calce is a natural product, contains no chemicals, is non toxic, European LEED certified for bio-construction, highly breathable, and permeable. VOC content is a maximum <30 gg/ lt, and mixed according to manufacturers recommendations contains no more than 1-2% VOC. Specification sheet available on San Marco USA web site:

This entry was published on July 13, 2010 at 11:52 pm. It’s filed under Lime Wash, Mold Prevention, San Marco USA Company Info and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Debunking some of the myths about Lime Wash

  1. catherine luke on said:

    can your recommend an experienced painter in the greater detroit area who is trained using your limewash?

  2. Michael Aiken (San Marco USA) on said:

    Unfortunately we don’t have anyone in the Detroit area. But, most skilled painters can achieve the desired affects with a little coaching from us. We have guided lots of painters all over the country. Call us at 404-803-5306 if you have any questions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: