Limewash timber floors are a great option for those who are looking to protect their flooring while also showcasing a light and rustic aesthetic. But what exactly is limewashing? Is it an outdated form of staining or is it still a viable option for modern homes? Can it be done as a DIY project or is it necessary to hire floor restoration specialists?
In this short blog, we’ll answer these questions and help you decide whether or not limewashing is for you. We’ll briefly discuss the history of limewash and then outline the functional and aesthetic benefits of lime paint.
What is limewash?
Limewash is a type of paint that is created through the use of the colourless powder known as slaked lime (also called calcium hydroxide). Once it’s applied to the timber surface, the lime paint will start a chemical reaction with the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and begin to cure.
The wash provides the floor with some level protection from everyday wear and tear. It also has minor antibacterial properties, protecting your flooring from insects and rotting. In the past, due to its protective qualities, limewash was often used for functional purposes. However, in modern times, it is mostly used for its aesthetic features.
Since genuine limewash is caustic, most homeowners and flooring specialists nowadays use safer alternatives. For example, liming wax and thinned latex paint are often used to recreate that limewash look.
Advantages of limewash timber
- Enhanced appearance
Limewashing adds a translucent white coating over your timber flooring. This gives your flooring a lighter look without completely covering the subtle patterns and grains of the natural timber.
Depending on the type of limewash that you use, the end result might vary. Some washes are more translucent than others. A lot of homeowners like the translucent and chalky nature of limewash because it provides their flooring with a worn and weathered appearance. This look goes well with a lot of antique and rustic interiors.
Since white reflects light, a white floor will be able to spread light around your property. This can make your living space seem larger and more spacious than it actually is. You can also choose whether your limewash has a glossy or a matte finish.
- A method of protecting wood
Unlike regular paints, limewash does not adhere to the surface of the material. Rather, it gets drawn into the material via the curing process. This allows the timber to breath and last for years without becoming brittle or dried out.
The limewash acts as a moisture barrier which prevents your flooring from absorbing too much water. Ultimately, this prevents the timber from rotting over time. In addition, it also acts as a deterrent to termites or other insects that might cause damage to the structural integrity of the wood.
- Easy to maintain
Limewash timber floors are also quite easy to maintain. If you use a durable polyurethane top coating, you will end up with a strong surface that can withstand high foot traffic. A durable timber floor means less money spent on repairs and plank replacements.
In addition, if you stick with water-based paint, you won’t have to worry about the wash having a yellowish tone. Yellowing is often a problem with solvent or oil-based coatings.
The chalky and translucent finish of limewash also hides grime and dust quite well. All you have to do is make sure that the surface is swept and dusted on a regular basis. This will ensure that your flooring remains clean and vibrant for years to come.
There you have it, everything you need to know about limewashing. Since every property is different, we recommend that you talk to a floor restoration specialist if you’re interested in limewashing your timber floors. These specialists will know the best way to apply the limewash and how to achieve the exact level of translucency that you want. Contractors should also be able to give you advice on the type of wash that’s appropriate for your particular flooring and your budget.