Painting Over Limewash Paint (Here’s How To Do it)

Limewash is a traditional coating used on surfaces due to its weather-resistant qualities. But limewash has a chalk-like look which might not suit your idea of an attractive finish. So can you paint over limewash paint?

You can paint over limewash paint. But, you must sand and prime the limewash coating before applying new paint. If you don’t use a primer, the limewash paint will bleed through and ruin the finish. 

You can use chalk paint over limewash because chalk paint and limewash have almost the same formula. Also, you can use mineral paint over limewash because mineral paint is a self-leveling paint that requires no prep work. 

Painting Over Limewashed Brick

You can paint over a limewashed brick. But, you must apply multiple coats of primer over the limewashed brick before applying new paint. However, if you use chalk paint (or limewash paint), you don’t need a primer. 

Compared to other paints, limewash doesn’t just stick to the top surface of the material. Instead, it soaks (penetrates) into the material, creating good adhesion. However, since limewash penetrates the surface, the other paints can’t penetrate that surface and won’t adhere well.

So, the only way to apply paint over limewash is to remove the paint or apply primer. The primer sits on top of the limewash, creating a good undercoat for the paint to stick to. The primer also acts as a sealer. This helps limit the limewash’s corrosive effect on the paint since limewash coatings contain a high lime content.

However, you can paint over limewash brick with chalk paint or other paint containing plasters. This is because chalk is present in limewash, and painting chalk over limewash can be done directly without using a primer. But for other paints, you need a primer before applying over limewash brick.

How To Paint Over Limewash?

Painting over limewash is hard because of its repelling nature. But, this guide reveals all you need to know to make this process easier.

However, you need a few tools:

  • Sandpaper
  • Rags or tack cloth
  • Paint Primer
  • The required paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Wire brush
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Paint thinner (optional)
  • Paint bucket (optional)

1. Prepare The Workspace

First, prep the workspace. Remove or cover all furniture or objects near the limewash surface to avoid paint splatters. Also, you must cover floors with a drop sheet. 

If painting indoors, open all doors and windows and wear safety goggles. 

2. Abrade The Limewash Coating

You must remove the abraded side of the limewash coating so the new paint can penetrate the surface. If you don’t, the abraded side of the limewash won’t allow the new paint to stick over it.

To remove the abraded side of limewash, use a wire brush to scrub the coating. As you scrub, the abraded side of the limewash will get removed. However, you must only remove the abraded side of the limewash paint, not the entire coating. So, just create ridges and scratches in the limewash coating so the new paint can stick to it.

You can use a sponge or medium-grit sandpaper as an alternative to a wire brush. 

3. Sand The Surface

After using a wire brush on the limewash coating, the surface will be rough and riddled with bumps. If you apply paint over a rough surface, the finish will be uneven and rough. So, before applying paint, you must even out the grain and smoothen the surface.

To smooth out the limewash surface, sand it. To sand limewash paint, use 180-grit sandpaper and sand the entire coating. The 180-grit sandpaper will remove bumps from the surface. Then, use fine-grit sandpaper (220-grit) to smooth out the surface. 

A smooth surface of the limewash coating will allow the primer and paint to stick well. After sanding, remove the dust with a soft brush. 

4. Apply Two Coats of Primer

Once the limewash is sanded, apply two coats of primer. The primer will act as a “bridge” and prevent the limewash coating to bleed through the new paint. Limewash paint has a high alkaline content that eats away the paint from the inside. So, you must seal (prime) it before applying another paint. 

You must use an alkaline-resistant primer (neutral) over the limewash paint. A good choice as a primer over limewash paint is mineral primer. 

To apply primer over limewash paint, use a paintbrush or sprayer. You must apply 2 coats of primer. Wait until the first coat of primer dries before applying the next one. 

If you apply mineral, chalk, or limewash paint, you don’t need to use a primer. 

5. Apply The Required Paint

Once the primer dries, you can apply new paint.

The best paints to use over limewash is chalk and latex paint. These paints are flexible, easy to apply, and have a colorful finish. Also, they are water-based and won’t yellow over time. 

To apply the paint, use a paintbrush, roller, or sprayer. You must apply 2-3 coats of paint over limewash. 

6. Seal The Paint (Optional)

If you apply latex paint over limewash paint, you must seal it, especially for outdoor surfaces. The sealer will create a thick and glossy layer that protects the surface underneath (including paint) from moisture, water, and scratches.

To seal the paint, use polyurethane, wax, gel stain, or varnish. Apply 2-3 coats of sealer over the painted item. 

However, for indoor surfaces, sealing is optional. 

Using Emulsion Over Limewash Paint

You can apply emulsion over limewash paint, but you must prep the limewash coating first. Before applying the emulsion paint, you must clean, sand, and prime the limewash. Also, you must use natural emulsion.

Natural emulsion paint is made of paint pigments suspended in emulsion (or paint solvent). The formula of natural emulsion is similar to the chalk paint formula. Since emulsion and chalk paint have similar features, the emulsion paint will stick over limewash the same way chalk paint does. 

So, to apply emulsion over limewash paint, use a mineral primer and then apply the emulsion paint. 

Mixing Limewash Paint With Latex Paint

You shouldn’t mix limewash with latex paint. That’s because limewash and latex paint have different formulas. Mixing them will produce a finish with inconsistent color and flow. 

Limewash coating needs to penetrate the surface a lot to stick on a surface, while latex paint doesn’t. Also, latex paint is flexible and not weather-resistant, while limewash isn’t flexible but is weather-resistant. So, the paint make-up of both paints is different.

If you mix latex paint with limewash, the finish won’t dry simultaneously and will have an inconsistent flow and color. Since the finish won’t dry at the same time, the finish will develop paint cracks. Also, some parts of the finish will have a darker color than the others.

So, you shouldn’t mix latex paint with limewash paint. However, you can apply latex paint over limewash paint if you prep the limewash paint by applying a neutral primer.

Tinting Limewash Paint

To change (or darken) the limewash color, tint it. To darken the limewash color, mix it with raw linseed oil. 

Limewash paint has a white color only. So, to tint (or change) the finish color, mix it with another paint or sealer. You can tint it by adding paint pigments (made for limewash) or using raw linseed oil. The raw linseed oil will darken the finish. 

However, you shouldn’t mix (or tint) limewash with water-based paints. That’s because both paints aren’t compatible with each other. 

Final Words

You can paint over limewash paint, but you must sand and apply a neutral primer over the limewash before applying paint. That’s because limewash has an alkaline formula that doesn’t allow new paints to stick to it. 

You can also tint the limewash paint by mixing it with 3% raw linseed oil. 

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