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The History of Whitewashing

Whitewashing Origins

The oldest house paint in history was a sort of whitewash, but even though it has been used for thousands of years, its origins are hazy. We know it must at least go back to ancient Mesopotamia (roughly between 4000 and 3000 B.C.), as the famous White Temple derived its name from the whitewash coating its inside and exterior. Furthermore, archaeologists discovered that whitewash was used to coat Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb (which stands to reason, considering whitewash paint has antibacterial properties). There are more famous structures that have been whitewashed too, including the Greek Acropolis and the Roman Colosseum. There is even mention of whitewash in the Bible, from a metaphor Jesus uses about the religious leaders of the day.

Whitewashing has managed to survive the test of time, for both its practical application, and aesthetic value. As such, whitewashing has a rich history. From Greece, to England, all the way to the United States, people have made use of whitewash paint for many of their needs.

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How to Whitewash Brick

Whitewash is a cost-effective technique to revitalize your home’s brickwork, and far superior to painting bricks with standard paint. Even expensive, high-quality paint will inevitably chip and peel, but whitewash will last even in harsh conditions. It will give you home a welcoming, rustic appearance which can last up to thirty years without maintenance. Furthermore, if you want more exciting colors, whitewash can be tinted to whatever color you want, while still maintaining its durability. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits, however, is how easy whitewash is applied; so easy, you can do it yourself. Here is how to whitewash brick.

Whitewash Preparation

You will first need to prepare the brick before you whitewash it. Any preparation required should be able to accomplished with items you have around your house. Depending on the size of the job, though, you might need to invest in equipment from a rental store or hardware store. Remember to cover up any areas you do not want whitewash on because it can be difficult to remove.

Sanding Bricks

Firstly, you will need to sand the brickwork. There are two reasons why you need to sand the brick before you can begin. One is to remove any previous paintjob on the brick, which will require 100 grit sandpaper to do. The other reason is to smooth the brick so the whitewash sticks to it better. Once you start to smoothen out the bricks, you will need to switch to 200 grit sandpaper. For an extra smooth surface before you whitewash the bricks, continue to sand with higher grit sandpaper until you reach the desired smoothness. You can sand the bricks by hand, but if you prefer, you can use a power sander to speed up the process.

Washing Bricks

Secondly, clean the bricks, because if you do not then any dirt or grime will be visible beneath the whitewash. Before you begin, you want to know much cleaning your bricks can withstand. While bricks are durable, too harsh of a wash can damage them. Start cleaning the bricks and grout with a mild solution of dish soap. If this is not enough to clean the bricks, then proceed with stronger cleaning solutions, such as boric acid or a mixture of ammonia and dish soap. Scrub the brick with your cleaning solution, and then rinse them off with warm water. Once you have finished washing the bricks, you can make your whitewash.

Making Whitewash

The recipe for whitewash is ancient, but has persisted through the years because it works. To make whitewash, you will need to mix together masonry lime and table salt in warm water. For smaller batches, dissolve two cups of salt in a gallon of water, and then combine with eight cups of masonry lime. Ideally, the whitewash will be thinner than paint, and similar to the consistency of pancake batter. Keep the whitewash in the shade, otherwise it will dry up. Now you are ready to whitewash brick. Tulsa Painters>>

Whitewash Brick

Having completed your preparation work, you will need a paintbrush to apply the whitewash, and a cloth to remove any excess. Before you begin, if you have any leftover bricks lying around, paint the whitewash on there first. This way, you can see if the whitewash is how you thick you want to apply it, and so you know what it will look like once it dries. Once you are ready, paint the whitewash onto the bricks, making sure to get the grout first. Apply the whitewash in small sections, until you have covered the entire desired area. The whitewash will darken as it dries, and once it is dried, you are finished. If you want to make the whitewash appear older, wash off portions of it several hours after drying to make it look more rustic. Then enjoy your home’s new, beautiful whitewashed brickwork.

Whitewashing will take a few hours, but with all of the benefits which come with it, it will be worth it. If you do not have the time to do a whitewashing project yourself, you can always contact a whitewashing company.