April 25, 2023

How to Whitewash Exterior Brick?

How to Whitewash Exterior Brick?

Bricks are low-maintenance and energy efficient, making them a widely-favored material for homeowners and commercial developers. Although a classic style, the dark red brick color can become outdated, which is when most people whitewash the brick exterior of their building to create a fresh, clean, modern look.

Because brick is porous, great care and attention to detail are needed to complete this type of project. As exterior painting contractors, we know a thing or two about the process and have written this blog to teach you how to whitewash brick.


  • Working time: 3-4 hours
  • Skill level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Cost: $100+

What Is Whitewash Painting?

Whitewashing is when white paint or limestone is applied to brick. New techniques like the "German smear" use white mortar, which is more permanent and difficult to remove. A whitewashed brick house can be achieved in several ways, depending on the state of the bricks and desired permanency.

Whitewashing Unpainted Brick

Creating a natural finish on brick exteriors is achievable with thinned latex paint, providing a close-to-transparent look reminiscent of traditional limewash paint exterior. Diluting white or gray paint with water (at ratios of 3:1 or 4:1) allows the hue and texture of the brick to be visible. Generally, all the brick and mortar should be coated. For more contrast, each brick can be painted while leaving the mortar untouched

Whitewashing Painted Brick

You must first take off the paint, clean the brick, and then you can apply whitewash to the brick. Alternatively, you can apply a faux whitewash technique to whitewash a brick house.

Rather than diluting the paint, it's simply tinted, and a sponge, sized to fit one brick, is used for dabbing each brick. This technique accentuates the pattern on the mortar that was previously concealed by paint

What You'll Need for Whitewashing Brick Exterior

how to whitewash brick

To whitewash brick, you'll need the following tools and materials. The exact amount of paint and limewash depends on the surface area you cover.

To work out how much paint you need to whitewash brick exteriors, measure the total area of the exterior walls, including windows and doors, and then add 10-20% extra to allow for any wastage.

Divide the total area by the coverage rate of the paint you are using to calculate the number of liters of paint required. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for the coverage rate of the paint you are using.


  • Scrub brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Wire brush
  • Putty knife
  • Mixing bucket
  • Drop cloth and sheet plastic
  • Chip brushes
  • Cotton rags


  • Brick surface
  • Painter's tape
  • Dish soap
  • Warm Water
  • Limewash solution
  • White paint
  • Gray paint
  • TSP (trisodium phosphate) or alternative

How to Choose an Exterior Whitewash Brick Paint?

When selecting whitewash paint for your home’s exterior, it is important to consider the colors of the roof, trim, and brick. Pre-mixed colors are available, and you can even create your own custom color to match your home perfectly. It's up to you whether you want exterior paint to incorporate more of the brick as an undertone or cover it up for a mostly-white look.

Whitewash Exterior Brick in 5 Easy Steps

how to whitewash brick

Whitewashing your walls can be a beneficial way to protect your brick walls from moisture, mold, insect infestations, and harsh weather. The whitewash contains antibacterial properties and forms a protective barrier to help reduce the risk of deterioration over time. 

Here's how to whitewash bricks.

Step 1: Gently Clean the Brick

Whitewashing over dirty brick won't achieve the desired effect. Exterior power washing is the most effective way to get rid of dirt and the first order of business.

You'll also want to apply a cleaning solution to eradicate stubborn grime before you whitewash outdoor brick. Potencies vary from dish soap to ammonia - always use the solution according to the instructions and then rinse off with a clean rag dipped in warm water.

Step 2: Remove Lingering Paint

If the brick has been painted in the past, you may notice signs of chipping, flaking, or blistering paint. If the paint seems to have been around for a long time, it may contain toxic lead paint, which must be professionally removed.

Cover the floor with a drop cloth and protect yourself with goggles and a face mask. Also, prepare a garbage bag to collect the old paint. Using a putty knife, wire brush, or paint scraper, carefully remove all the chipped or peeling paint from the brick

Step 3: Protect the Work Area

Take the necessary steps to protect your work area. This will not only help to keep the area safe and clean, but it will also help to ensure that your painting project is completed quickly and successfully.

  • Remove furniture and any other items that could be damaged by paint.
  • Cover the floor with a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to protect it from paint splatters.
  • Fill any holes or cracks with a spackling compound.
  • Wear protective gear, such as gloves, a face mask, and eyewear.
  • Use painter's tape to protect areas that should not be painted.
  • Cover any outlets with painter's tape and plastic sheeting.

Step 4: Mix the Whitewash

Next, you'll need to mix the whitewash:

  • Mix a 50/50 solution of water to white latex paint and stir to an even consistency.
  • Add more water to make the brick less white, or try a higher paint-to-water ratio if you want it to be whiter.
  • Test a small area with whitewash of several different paint-to-water ratios until you achieve the right color saturation. We recommend letting the test area dry first, so you can see what it looks like. Remember, paint generally dries slightly darker than the color it appears when wet.

Step 5: Apply Whitewash

how to whitewash brick

The method to whitewash a brick house exterior vary, but these two methods are suitable even for beginners: 

  • Using a brush: Dip a brush into the thinned paint, then remove any extra paint on a grate to avoid a wall full of drips. Break the wall into small sections and start with the grout lines, then move on to the brick faces.

Aim to work on one two-foot-square section at a time and blot the bricks with a wadded-up paper towel to give the surface a washed, not painted, look. Dabbing the paint instead of wiping will create a more natural texture. Continue to work in small sections until the whitewashing is finished.

  • Using a paint sprayer: Spray the brick area to be whitewashed with water from a spray bottle, making sure not to leave any drips. Moisten a wadded cotton cloth with thinned paint and use it to wipe onto the damp brick surface.

If the mortar is deeply recessed, load a sash brush with a small amount of thinned paint and use a dry-brushing technique to reach both the mortar and the edges and ends of the bricks.
After painting with a rag, use a dry brush to fill the hard-to-reach places. If there is an area with too much color, mist it with water and blot up the moisture and paint.

No matter how you paint brick, remember that brick is very absorbent. The first coat of paint may look thicker than you want. Don't worry; in the upcoming hours, the paint will be soaked up by the brick and become more visible.

Step 6 (Optional): Distress the Finish

To get a distressed look on bricks, take a damp cloth and lightly scrub the bricks in a circular motion. Once the distressed look is achieved, allow the paint to dry completely. To further protect the bricks, seal them with a clear, water-based sealer to protect them from the elements.

Upgrade Your Brick Exterior with Oahu Pro Painters

Are you looking for a painting service in Hawaii? Oahu Pro Painters is here to help! We provide interior and exterior painting services and can whitewash your brick home. If you're investing in your property, you want to select the right painting partner to do the job properly the first time. Why not schedule a consultation with us?


How long does whitewashed brick last?

Whitewashed brick can last anywhere from 5-20 years, depending on how well it is maintained and the quality of the brick. Because whitewash needs very little maintenance, it need only be reapplied every few years to ensure it remains intact and looks its best.

Is whitewashed brick out of style?

Whitewashed brick is not out of style and is still used in many homes. It has become increasingly popular in recent years and is used to create a unique look that is timeless and fashionable.

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

How to Whitewash Exterior Brick?
Written By:
Karl Van Zadnt

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