What’s Lime Wash?

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Lime wash is a diluted lime putty that can be applied to various surfaces. It can be colored and adds a thin layer of protection while enhancing the look underneath. It is not a permanent cover and has been used for thousands of years as a coloring technique that becomes part of the material.

Lime wash is basically lime putty that has been watered down and can be easily applied to various surfaces. Dull grout can be dispensed with its natural shade, or any color can be added prior to application. Because it typically contains small crystals of calcite, the wash finish will often appear to provide a subtle shimmer in open light.

People use lime wash the same way they would any type of white wash. Its purpose is not to add full coverage to a texture, but to include a thin layer of protection that will help enhance the look underneath. Like white wash, whitewash is not a permanent cover and constant exposure to the elements will eventually wear it down and a new coat will need to be applied.

For example, a wood wall painted red and treated with a pure lime wash will still appear red, just a muted color. The wash can be adjusted to show more or less of the underlying color by adjusting the amount of liquid in the solution. Some people prefer the added texture that a light wash will add to a painted surface, while others prefer to go with the thicker application and advanced protection.

The art of lime washing has been around for thousands of years and is practiced in different cultures. It is important to note that this wash is not a painting technique, although it can be applied with brushes, but is, in fact, more of a coloring technique. The properties of the lime seep into the pores of the wood or masonry and actually become part of the material. Over time, the natural aging process will give the surface a certain glossy patina which is considered by many people to be very attractive. Even when most of the whitewash has faded, traces will remain which help enhance the appearance and character of the surface.

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