Limewashing the Coach House

Limewash on the coach house

The work on the Coach House roof is now finished (hooray).


Whilst the scaffolding was still up it was a good time to start limewashing two of it’s walls.  The end wall (second picture below) is still covered in an old stone render (like a pebble-dash) which is now very grey and shabby and the other wall facing into the courtyard is exposed brick with remnants of old render and earlier limewash…a bit more derelict factory than smart courtyard.  Here it is on moving in day – complete with wrecked roof, bins, broken drainpipe and washing line :


First job was to limewash the apex of the end wall (the highest part) while the scaffolding was still up:


We researched a lot into limewash and other natural wall finishes – and found this book to be really helpful – USING NATURAL FINISHES. Limewash is not paint, instead it cures. It has the advantage of letting the brick of the walls still breath and not trapping moisture in the building. It also has antibacterial properties which is why it was used inside houses a lot.

We calculated how much we needed (based on 3 coats) and bought two 15l tubs of limewash from CONSERV, who were really efficient with quick delivery (they’re also pretty local – based in Cleveland).  Note the essential accessory of a bent coat hanger made into a hook to hang the bucket of limewash off a ladder!


It’s easy to apply.

  1. Dampen the wall down – we used a hose on a mist setting (other videos show people using a plant mister – but that would have taken forever).
  2. Then apply the Limewash using a large masonry brush.  We found a round brush much easier to use than a square one – better for getting into nooks and crannies.  You have to be careful not to flick and splash it everywhere and if you do, wash it down quickly as it stays put once it’s dried.limewash
  3. It’s weird stuff – when you apply it, it’s kind of translucent , a bit like skimmed milk. 245211032
  4. But as it dries it goes opaque.  You can see below differences in sections as they dry.245211034
  5. Leave each coat overnight – then repeat the process again, starting by misting the previous coat with water.

We’re quite pleased with the result, but it probably needs a couple more coats.

Here’s the before picture (it does look very pretty on this photo on a beautiful September morning – but the overall effect was generally a bit grim):


…and after its’s second coat it’s looking pretty smart.


It’s already made the courtyard much brighter and we can now get on with the next steps – getting the large trees trimmed, putting some doors in on the left hand side of the coach house and then getting on with paving and planting. It carries on getting whiter as it cures over the days.

lime wash


Here is a photo with another coat it is looking a much whiter.  The limewashing also showed up where some pointing needed replacing, which we have done. We have also had the trees crown lifted so overall it is a LOT brighter.


Finally here’s a shot of the other side of courtyard looking down from the coach house roof, taken when the scaffolding was still up. It will be a pretty special place when it finally stops being the main house building site!


Since then we have paved and planted the courtyard – you can read all about that here…


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