Are you tired of the look of your exterior stone? Trust me when I say this, you CAN refresh your stone yourself! My husband thought I was crazy for taking on the exterior stone myself. He insisted we hire someone. After learning it would cost over $3000 to have someone limewash it, I figured I could absolutely figure out how to limewash myself.
I have found anytime you take on a renovation project it's like a domino effect, you end up doing one project that leads to you now hating the surrounding rooms or areas, which then turns into redoing something else and so on and so on! This was the case with our exterior stone. I loved a white brick and made the huge decision to have our exterior brick painted white. It didn't occur to me that the current exterior stone would look too contrasting to the new brick color.
Here's a before photo of our house:
So, the only logical thing to do at this point was to paint our exterior stone. I didn't want the stone bright white and fake looking, so I decided to limewash it. The limewash approach allows the real stone to come through the paint and makes the application look more authentic. The other advantage to limewashing our stone was the fact that we had two days to decide if we like it or not. The limewash directions indicates you can apply the limewash and then you can use a hose to wash it off if you don't like how it looks. With that new bit of info, what did I have to lose.
So off I went to tackle our exterior stone. I ordered the Rombio Avorio White Limewash from Home depot. I only bought a gallon as I didn't think we would need that much. I also bought the Rombio masonry brush. It was more expensive than other masonry brushes, but I wasn't about to skimp on price at this point.
Masonry Brush (link here )
Rombio Avorio. White Limewash paint (1 gallon) (link here)
Small chip style paint brush for getting in the grout lines
Open your paint and dilute your limewash paint with water. Decide how transparent or thin you want your paint to be. I wanted to see a lot of the true rock come through the paint and thus didn't want the application to thick, therefore I diluted our paint by about 70%. The manufacturer states to dilute the limewash paint roughly 50-70% dilution with water, for a 0.67 gallon paint. I diluted our limewash paint about 70% and the bucket became about 1.5 gallon.
I poured the diluted limewash into a large bucket and used a large piece of wood as my stir stick. You need to stir the liquid as much as possible, for at least 2 minutes.
Spray your stone with water first. I used a garden hose and sprayed the stone in sections where I was going to start the limewash application. You don't need to get the stone dripping wet, just wet enough. You do this so that the stone will accept the limewash paint.
I then set up my bucket of limewash, my ladder, my spray bottle and lots of towels next to the exterior stone. There is no right and wrong answer on where to start the job. Just pick a section of the stone and take on little areas at a time. I dipped the masonry brush in the paint and then wiped it down a little on the towel first before putting it on the stone, doing so ensures you don't go to heavy on the application. I found large wide stroke brushes work the best. Have a towel handy and wipe off any of the limewash that seems to go on areas too thick. Be careful, as it is an illusion when you first apply the paint. It seems like you don't have enough on at first, but as the paint dries it gets thicker and thicker. My advice...start with less, as you can always add more.
If you think the limewash is looking too thick, you can always dilute the mixture more by adding more water to your paint bucket. Then stir really well and test the new diluted look.
Have your spray bottle handy. If you think you put on the limewash to thick, use the spray bottle to wash the limewash off. And don't forget...if you don't like the look, just grab the hose and spray the limewash off and start over!
Use the chip brush dipped in limewash to get into the grout lines. The masonry brush won't work well for all the crevices.
As you move on to new sections of stone, use the spray bottle to get the stone damp again. Then repeat the above steps.
Once you have all the limewash up, let it dry for at least 30 minutes as it will thicken and you will get a true representation of what the final product will look like. You really only need one coat of limewash. If there are areas where the limewash is too thick, use the hose to spray off some of the limewash. I didn't hose down all of the limewash like the manufacturer states to do at the end. There was some stone areas that I hosed down because the limewash seemed to thick, but most of my project I applied the limewash, let it dry and loved the end look and feel.
I think it came out beautifully. The grayish exterior stone feels like it now compliments the white brick and doesn't compete.
Before the contrast was too much as you can see from this photo:
After (ignore the broken light, haven't gotten around to fixing the light fixtures yet)!
Would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to ask any questions, we are here to help!