How to Whitewash Exterior Brick in 3 Easy Steps!
Last year we spent a great deal of time trying to spruce up the exterior of our home. Hubby started the long and tedious process of painting the house (he still has some trim on the second floor to finish)-while I focused my attention on the concrete front porch floor and our deck.
Unfortunately, both projects I was responsible for FAILED miserably!
Yes, that’s right! After a L-O-N-G, and very harsh winter-both the deck and the front porch required a complete do-over!
But that’s for another post.
Today I want to talk to you about something I’ve wanted to do to the brick base of our porch, ever since I saw it on an episode of Fixer Upper!
If you watch the show you might remember Chip calling it a ‘German smear’.
But after a closer look, I realized that wasn’t exactly what I wanted. You can see that they rubbed off a great deal of the paint (or so I thought) on some bricks in this close-up. Hence the name ‘smear’.
But then I found out that this technique didn’t use paint-it used mortar! That put me WAY out of my comfort zone.
So I began doing some research and found that whitewashing the brick was the way to go.
There are two techniques for whitewashing.
One requires a mixture of lime and water.
And the other requires paint and water (YES I LOVE PAINT)!
But remember my plan wasn’t to whitewash ‘inside’ our house-my task was to whitewash the outside brick. Brick that is exposed to all the elements of living in Minnesota!
After the debacle with our front porch and deck-the, the last thing I wanted to do was create YET another project for myself. So I did more research.
And I came up empty.
Seriously!! Has no-one who lives in sub-zero temperatures ever whitewashed their exterior brick?
It appeared not.
And it would seem this ugly brick wasn’t going anywhere!
Then it hit me!
Maybe there wasn’t a tutorial for the EXACT project I had to do-but maybe-just maybe I could take what I had learned thus far and made it work anyway!
The surprising thing? Whitewashing our brick ended up being one of the easiest projects I’ve done on this house to date!
All that it took was 3 EASY steps and the following materials:
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Soap and Water
***We just bought this nozzle a month ago, because our power washer died. It does the exact same job as that-and for WAY less money!
(This was recommended by a friend of ours who is a commercial painter.)
Now onto those 3 very simple steps!
Step One: Wash and rinse brick thoroughly.
I can’t emphasize this step enough! Brick is very porous-and over time, it can collect SO much dirt and grime from rain and dust. (Trust me on this) If not cleaned properly there isn’t a paint or primer out there that will seal properly.
All I used to clean the brick was plain old soap and water- and a sturdy wire-bristled brush.
Once I had all the bricks thoroughly cleaned-it was rinse time. This is when that AMAZING nozzle came in quite handy! Like I said above-the power is awesome-and what dirt I left behind from scrubbing, that nozzle definitely removed!
Step Two: Allow the brick to dry completely!!
Even though the brick may appear to be dry after only an hour-it isn’t! Allow the brick to dry for at least 24 hours before moving onto step three.
Step Three: Apply primer. (Without mixing with water)!
That’s right! NO-water required for this step-and there are two reasons for that.
One-The primer is just the right consistency that you don’t need to thin it out.
Two-You, don’t want to dilute the primer. To do so would mean that you’re diluting all the components that make it PERFECT for this application.
My bad for not getting photos for the other two steps-but…..I finally remembered as I started to brush on the primer. This shot was taken only seconds after I started.
Now let’s talk technique. Truth is there really isn’t any foolproof technique to whitewashing. It’s pretty much-brush on the paint as much or as little as you want. That’s it! Except there is one important thing to remember. The lighter your brush stroke- and the less primer you apply-the more ‘pink’ your end result will look! Yes, I said it. PINK! Not exactly what you want-am I right?
But as you can see from the above picture-you don’t have to end up with pink bricks! All I did was load up my brush (remember I put down plastic sheeting to protect plants, etc) and used a criss-cross stroke with my paintbrush. This ‘technique’, if you want to call it that provided an even distribution of the paint without having to go over the brick numerous times to get the same result.
From this photo, you can see that some of the brick is still showing through. That folks is whitewashing! Because the bricks that didn’t cover completely are muted- and not IN YOUR FACE RED!
And yet I LOVE how the color varies in spots. Almost like it just naturally has worn over time. The bonus is that now my rusty old milk can doesn’t clash with the red brick anymore! And an even better bonus is that I was able to add some rustic charm to our exterior without big $$$ and very little time and effort!
I apologize for only showing half of our front porch for this post but I’m currently working on a project for the other half and I don’t want to spoil it.
I promise to share the entire porch next week-along with a closer look at the concrete floor and how I fixed it for GOOD this time!
So what do you think of our whitewashed brick? Would you dare to ‘paint’ yours? I’d love to hear! Leave me a comment or send me an email!
Blessings and hugs,