Updated: Nov 9
The lowdown on limewash paint: find out what this 'eco paint' is all about.
Before we get into the details, a note to say that this is not an advert for Bauwerk Colour and I haven't been paid to write this. I received the following PR products, a paintbrush, a tin of prep coat and a tin of limewash paint and in return I agreed to create some content for my Instagram account documenting my honest opinions.
Spoiler alert: I loved it and decided to share lots of info here on my blog because I genuinely believe my readers will be interested in this brilliant, natural product (maybe they ought to be paying me after all! lol).
I've always wanted to try limewash paint. Regular readers will know that I love painting and regularly paint (& repaint) my home, experimenting along the way with a plethora of colours, textures and paint effects, but somehow I'd never got round to using 'proper' limewash paint. If I'm honest, the price was probably a factor because it certainly wasn't a lack of shades or any downsides to the paint itself. In fact, when the time came for colour selection I was slightly overwhelmed (if that isn't too much of an oxymoron?!) by the huge selection of available colours and spent a long time perusing the beautiful, inspiring images on the Bauwerk website.
This year, I'm giving the downstairs of our house a complete overhaul, I've already updated our IKEA hack built-in shelves to become a DIY home office and the next stage of the plan involved painting the whole area (three rooms in open plan layout) the same to make it flow better. I decided to that limewash would be ideal for this room makeover because it has texture and depth and wont be too plain or dull (the reason I ended up zoning the areas with paint previously was that a single shade throughout felt a bit boring).
I narrowed it down to five shades (Bone, Quiet, Whitewash, Mykonos, Intention) and spent some time testing them in various different spots and at differing times of the day as the changing light can make a huge difference to a paint colour.
I thought it might be useful to summarise some of the key points about limewash paint, as I received lots of questions on my insta stories from people who didn't really know what it was all about. See below for the answers and don't hesitate to message me if you think I've missed anything. I'll be sharing a proper step-by-step soon.
What is Bauwerk limewash paint?
I was surprised to find that Bauwerk limewash paint is actually a very natural and organic product, unlike the usual tins of paint I'm used to using. Bauwerk explain that they use 'clay, minerals and beautiful natural pigments.' and that their 'Limewash is a thin layer of limestone that dries on your wall by taking in carbon dioxide from the air.'
Why do you need to stir Limewash paint?
I was even more surprised when I opened the tin... the contents looked a bit like swamp water! The paint had completely separated and you could see layers and layers of sediment. Don't be alarmed, this is completely normal and easily remedied by a quick stir. In fact, get used to stirring if you decide to use this paint as it is an essential part of the process and should really be done each time you plan to dip your brush. I used a long piece of plastic to ensure I got right to the bottom on the large tin, you could use a 'proper' paint stirrer if you have one, or even a whisk, as suggested by Bauwerk.
Why is limewash paint an 'eco-paint'?
Bauwerk limewash has zero solvents or VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) so is safe to breathe in, unlike lots of paints on the market. The limewash doesn't create a film-like layer over the wall in the same was as say emulsion would. The upside of this is that the wall can breath, and the paint won't peel, bubble or blister, the downside is that you can't use limewash to cover over imperfections as you might be able to with a few layers of emulsion. Limewash is fire proof, fade proof and mineral based (eg no animal products). Finally, Bauwerk advise that their paint is produced with 100% green power so is kinder to the environment. At this point I was desperate to try it.
Did you use a brush or a roller to apply limewash paint?
You really need to use a brush to apply it because a roller won't be able to create the super gorgeous & cloud-like patterns and textures that is synonymous with limewash applications. I used the large brush supplied directly by Bauwerk and I actually found it a bit too large because I personally prefer the more intricate textured cloud effects. I tried using a smaller paint brush that I had and found that worked better for the detail I was going for. The Bauwerk paintbrush was much better quality and I'd definitely recommend using one of them, but go for a smaller size if you want detailed clouds.
Which shade did you choose?
In the end, I plumped for the shade called 'Quiet'. If I'm 100% honest i probably wouldn't choose it again as it has a slight yellow undertone in certain lights in my home and I'd personally prefer a browner or even grey-er undertone. That said, I still love it and enjoy sitting looking at the beautiful texture and the way the tones change through the day.
Did you prep the walls first?
Yes, I followed the Bauwerk instructions and used their prep coat which was easy to apply and provided the perfect base to create beautiful clouds on to. I had previously skimmed some of the walls (visit the DIY skimming section of my blog here) so they needed a prep coat. Check your walls to determine what they are made of and whether they are solid, stud, painted, plastered etc then refer to the Bauwerk guide for instructions on the prep you should do.
Did it take long?
As is often the case with DIY and decorating projects, I found the prep stage took the longest. But as they say, fail to prepare then prepare to fail! So it was definitely time well spent. The limewashing itself was super quick and easy and REALLY fun! As you aren't covering the surface of the wall with even strokes, but instead sweeping off in different directions and going as wild (or was that just me?!) as you like, it takes no time at all, meaning the process is considerably quicker than painting with emulsion.
Was it messy?
When I first opened the tin, I was slightly alarmed at the thin consistency as I'm a very messy person and had visions of it spraying and slopping all over the place! But, the key to success is actually shaking most of the paint off the brush before a single bristle touches the wall, so this means that there's actually very little opportunity for dripping, splashing or spraying. I splashed some out the tin when I first stirred it as I went in way too enthusiastically, once I realised slow and steady was better I adopted a stirring technique that meant all the paint stayed in the tin going forward. I ended up getting so brave that I did a couple of walls without even putting dust sheets down (tbh, that probably tells you more about my impatient nature and appetite for risk taking that the messiness of the paint but you get the idea).
How to apply limewash paint to your interior walls
I'll write a separate tutorial on exactly how to limewash with Bauwerk paint, as there is lots to cover... the prep stages are really important as is the painting technique you use, the timing of the coats, cutting in, creating texture and there are lots of tips and tricks I discovered along the way. If you are looking for a step-by-step right now, I'd advise popping over to the Bauwerk YouTube channel as there is lots of useful info there and some really helpful painting demo videos.
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