What is lime finish? An expert guide to lime painting

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There is so much more you can do with your walls than just paint them with a standard white finish and call it a day. But if your style tends to be more neutral, then you probably don’t like the idea of ​​spicing things up with wild wallpaper. The golden mean is to introduce texture without using more than your average paint application supplies. Enter: Lime.

What is lime

Limewash is a finish that gets its textured veneer from added sandstone aggregates. This finish has an almost chalky appearance and when in a box it looks more like putty than a fine paint, although the treated walls are soft to the touch. Dating back to Roman times, the material was originally derived from crushed limestone and became popular as a way to lighten stone and wood. The crushed limestone was diluted with water and mixed with various natural pigments depending on the desired color. Today, its romantic atmosphere and rich in stories makes it more popular than ever.

“We love that it can be added in different ways – streaked, crisscrossed or stabbed on the wall,” says the interior designer behind this dining room, Caroline Rafferty.

Genevieve Garruppo

“That chalky old world patina found on buildings in Europe and South America is the source of our love of painting,” says Jamie Davis of Los Angeles. Portola paintings, a designer favorite offering both traditional paints and a range of specialty textures, including the bestselling Lime Wash. “The specialty finishes are actually what brought us into the paint world, especially Lime Wash,” he shares, adding that “they have a lot of history but not so much in the states. , more in Europe and South America, this is what first attracted us to this type of chalky matte patina finish from the old world. ”

Beauty aside, limewash is also a great paint alternative for anyone who needs a more hypoallergenic solution, as the alkaline pH of limestone makes it very resistant to mold and bacteria.

How to apply it

Thanks to paint brands taking these ancient art forms and modernizing them for more mainstream access, limewash has become much easier to apply in a variety of spaces. Here’s what to know before investing in this finish. “Traditionally, lime paints could only be used on rough plaster, stucco, brick and cement,” says Davis, but Portola’s product can actually be painted directly over whatever your walls are. made because of the special primer they created, which is a “super thick porous primer that will allow you to create the same look and feel as drywall.” ”

room with stone and lime wah
The walls of this 1770s home by Cameron Schwabenton have been stripped of their original brick and plaster. The restoration revealed traces of blue pigment on the original whitewashed walls.

Trevor Tondro

The primer is applied in two or three coats, and does not require too much maintenance … it can be rolled, brushed or sprayed on the wall, then the coat of whitewash is done on top right out of the box . “Lime builds up and blooms through and naturally creates these high and low colors, it’s from the lime that rises to the surface,” Davis explains, which is how she fills a space with so much. depth and dimension.

What if you want to try a limewash application without a primer? Well, it depends: “The main thing with limewash is that it reacts differently depending on the surface, so the primer gives you good control and you know what it’s going to do,” says Davis. Translation: If you go this route, be sure to tackle multiple areas first. So you can certainly apply it directly to your surfaces, whether it’s sealed or unsealed stucco, stone, slate, concrete, but just keep in mind that limewash will have a very different look. This versatility is just one of the things that makes it so awesome.

What color to choose

In terms of color, limewash has a more natural association, which is another reason it’s so awesome for someone who prefers to give their walls a neutral backdrop. “Traditionally these finishes were all done in earth tones and ochres and terracotta, but now we’re making these beautiful whites and creams and chic colors that have a slight subtle movement, so you don’t know what it is. “is, but it’s not ordinary paint. You can have it as a traditional paint or do these soft and subtle textures,” he says. As mentioned earlier, the limewashes of old were pigmented with natural ingredients and many still are, although the technology allows for more variety. So even the boldest hues tend to look natural.

chic country house living room
Suzanne Kasler whitewashed the stone walls to brighten up the space while maintaining the rustic feel.

Tria Giovan

Portola offers almost 60 standard colors in the lime finish, but “everything is made to order, so we have the flexibility to create custom blends,” says Davis. So if you want to jump into bolder, more saturated territory, now you can! Other big brands also offer a wide variety of colors, such as Murals J and Syndey Harbor Painting Company.

What’s the point

“The lime is a little more grainy, more chalky, I find that it’s more rustic So with these more modern applications, I feel like Roman clay works well, “says Davis. That’s right, it doesn’t stop and end with limewash – it does. are also other specialty finishes that can add texture as well. “A lot of designers / homeowners will call us and want a lime wash and end up wanting roman clay, which has that beautiful, super, super soft physical touch – it’s unlike any other wall I’ve ever felt … It has this very refined quality while still retaining that old world feel, ”says Davis. Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint is another great specialty paint with a unique finish if you are looking for something you could do on your own, as it’s a thin coat of Surecrete for an aesthetic similar to concrete.

living room with lime paint
Interior designer Dana Oatley Ortega created an ethereal old-world aura by using a limewash, Daquiri Ice by Portola Paints, instead of the standard paint.

Nathan Schröder

“That’s what attracted us to these finishes, it’s the natural patina you can get with these finishes, for years and years, that’s what people have been trying to duplicate with these faux finishes for years. 90, but they were trying to replicate a real thing, ”he said. adds, but “you don’t have to be an Italian master plasterer, you can have your painter do it or do it yourself.”

It really just requires a little extra primer (or not, if you want that more rustic and grainy look!), Then either a roller or a brush, a tray and maybe a combination.

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