White Washing: Not Just for Tom Sawyer

White Washed Bricks | Walla Paiting

For those of you who are literary enthusiasts, white washing is useful for more than punishing Tom Sawyer. White washing is a cost effective way to update any home plagued by dark or dirty brick inside your home. Below we will explore the steps to white washing and view pictures showing the project in process.

Before starting project:

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First, the area around the bricks should be properly protected. This is where it pays off to hire a painter to complete your project. Without the proper tools or experience, even the simplest DIY home project can turn into a disaster. The floor should be covered all around the project area at least 3 feet out. Splattering of paint is common with the white washing method. Any surface area such as walls or shelves around the brick should be taped off and covered with plastic.

Once the area around the project area is protected, it’s time to prepare the white wash paint. Simply mix half paint and half water. Yep, that’s all there is to it. The white wash paint is super easy to make but is very messy to use. It has the appearance and consistency of milk, and it will run right off your brush or drip down the brick if not spread evenly. It’s also important to note: using a high quality paint means everything. Money spent on quality products saves enormous time and effort for any project.

Use a large brush, 3-4 inches is recommend, and apply the white wash paint to the entire area of brick and mortar. Do NOT apply a primer to the brick and mortar first; this will completely cover the brick in combination with the paint, and the white washing effect will be ruined. You can apply the paint rather quickly as long as the application is consistent and drips are not forming around the brick or mortar. However, keep in mind the mixture is very thin and will easily splatter around the area of your project (hopefully you covered your work area as discussed above). Also, periodically stir the mixture because the paint likes to separate from the water at the bottom of the container.

Partial coat of paint:

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ATTENTION: Do not be alarmed when you first apply the white wash paint. It will appear almost solid white when it goes on but will absorb into the brick and mortar as it dries, leaving a unique look of brick showing through the translucent white on top. How white you want the brick to be is a personal preference. Some people like to apply two coats of the paint mixture to achieve a brighter and white look. Personally, I like one coat of the mixture so you can still see the brick coming through the paint. I believe the purpose of white washing brick is not to completely cover brick, but to accentuate the brick for a unique and updated look. Remember you can always put more paint on but you can’t take it off once it’s on. Start light and apply more heavily after a while if desired.

First coat of paint (before drying):

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Completed Project:

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