Best Number of Coats for Limewash: Expert Recommendations


If you’re considering limewash for your home, you may wonder how many coats are best for achieving your desired look. Limewash is a unique paint that creates a soft, matte finish, and good limewashing can create a truly stunning look. However, the number of coats needed can vary depending on the look you’re going for and the surface condition you’re painting onto.

There isn’t a ‘correct’ number of coats for limewashing. However, if you are limewashing new work or repainting previous limewash, a minimum of 3-4 coats will give you a reasonable depth of colour and coverage. Some people apply 10+ coats of limewash. Generally, the more coats, the deeper and fuller the colour. More coats will also cover up any blemishes or uneven areas better.

What is Limewash?

Limewash is a type of paint that has been used for centuries, and it’s made from natural materials; lime, water, and sometimes natural pigments. It’s a breathable paint that allows moisture to escape from the walls, which can help prevent issues like mould and mildew.

The Basics of Limewash

Limewash is a highly versatile paint used on various surfaces, including masonry, brick, lime plaster, lime render, stucco, wood, and even metal (with the right additives). It’s a great choice for homeowners who want to give their homes a natural and beautiful matt finish. Here are some of the key things you should know about limewash:

  • Limewash is a natural paint made from lime, water and various natural pigments for colour.
  • It’s a breathable paint that allows moisture to escape from the walls preventing damp and trapped water issues.
  • Limewash can be used on various surfaces, including masonry, brick, lime plaster, lime render, stucco, wood, and metal. Additives such as casein can be added for use on non-porous surfaces, like metal and gypsum plaster. Casein in limewash acts as a natural glue!
  • Limewash is available in various colours and produces a beautiful matt finish.
  • It’s a highly durable paint that can last for many years when applied correctly.

Overall, limewash is a highly versatile paint that can be used on many different surfaces, and it’s available in various colours. Whether you’re looking to give your home a fresh new look or just looking for environmentally friendly paint, limewash is worth considering.

Related article: What is Limewash? An Overview of This Traditional Paint

Why Use Limewash?

If you’re looking for a paint alternative that is eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, and low in VOCs, limewash may be the perfect solution for you. Limewash is a natural paint made from limestone that has been crushed, burned in a kiln, and mixed with water to create lime putty (calcium hydroxide).

The lime putty (also called fat lime) is then aged and thinned with water and coloured with natural pigments to create a beautiful matt finish on your walls.

Advantages of Limewash

One of the biggest advantages of limewash is its eco-friendliness. Unlike traditional paints, limewash is made from natural materials and contains no harmful chemicals or synthetic additives. This makes it a great choice for those concerned about the environment and who want to reduce their carbon footprint.

Another advantage of limewash is its hypoallergenic properties. Traditional paints can contain allergens and irritants that can cause respiratory problems and other health issues. On the other hand, Limewash is made from natural materials and is free from these harmful substances, making it a great choice for those with allergies or sensitivities.

Finally, limewash has no VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are chemicals released into the air as paint dries, and they can negatively impact indoor air quality. Limewash, however, has no VOCs and does not release harmful chemicals into the air as it is water-based, making it a healthier choice for you and your family.

Related article: Limewash Pros and Cons: A Comprehensive Guide


How Many Coats of Limewash is Best?

If you plan to give your interior or exterior walls and ceilings a makeover with limewash, you might wonder how many coats you need to apply to get the desired look. The answer depends on several factors that we’ll discuss in this section.

Factors to Consider

Before we delve into the number of coats, let’s consider a few factors that can affect the outcome of your limewash project:

  • The type of surface you’re painting: Limewash works best on porous surfaces like brick, porous (not smooth) stone, lime plaster and lime render. If you’re painting a non-porous surface, you may need to use limewash which contains casein, a natural glue.
  • The condition of the surface: If your wall is in good condition, you might get away with a few coats of limewash. However, if the surface has many blemishes or is discoloured, you might need to apply many more coats to achieve an even finish.
  • The weather conditions: Limewash should be applied on a dry day with moderate temperatures. The limewash might not adhere properly if it’s too hot or cold. Additionally, the rate at which limewash drys can influence its colour and adherence. You want to ensure the limewash dries as evenly as possible.

Number of Coats

Generally, you’ll need to apply at least 3-4 coats of limewash to get good coverage. In normal circumstances, around 4 coats will give you a beautiful even finish. However, some people have been known to apply more than 10 coats to achieve the aesthetic they were going for.

When applying multiple coats of limewash, it’s important to maintain a wet edge to avoid visible brush strokes. You should also touch up any missed spots before the limewash dries. Making sure the limewash dries as evenly as possible is also a must. Hang damp hessian in front of limewash that is drying too quickly to slow it down.

Ultimately, the number of coats you apply will depend on your personal preference and the look you’re trying to achieve. Experiment with different brushes and techniques to find the perfect balance for your project.

Preparing the Surface

Before applying limewash, it is important to prepare the surface properly. This will ensure that the limewash adheres well and provides a smooth and even finish. Proper surface cleaning and preparation will largely determine the quality of the finished limewash.

Cleaning the Surface

The first step in preparing the surface is to clean it thoroughly. This is important because any surface dirt, dust, or debris can prevent the limewash from adhering properly. To clean the surface, follow these steps:

  • Remove any loose or peeling paint, dust, dirt, vegetable matter, grease or oils. They can all cause a weaker bond between the limewash and substrate.
  • Thoroughly dampen the surface before applying the limewash. If the surface is still absorbing water, keep dampening. Do this 15 minutes before applying the limewash.
  • It’s important to note as you are applying limewash, the surface must remain damp but not wet to the point water is running down the surface. This helps to ensure limewash carbonates slowly, which means it won’t rub off or create a poor finish.

By properly preparing the surface, you can ensure that your limewash will look great and last for years to come.

Related article: Should You Paint Lime Plaster? Our Ultimate Guide


When it comes to limewashing, the number of coats you apply can significantly impact the final look of your project.

As we have seen, generally, the more coats you apply, the greater the depth of colour and the less blemishes and colour variation. On some surfaces, applying 3 coats will give you the finish you desire, while on others, you may need 5+ to cover up blemishes on the wall’s surface or give you the depth of colour you want.

Ultimately, the number of coats you choose to apply will depend on your personal preferences and the look you are trying to achieve. It’s important to remember that limewash will dry lighter than it appears when wet, so be sure to test your colour before committing to a particular number of coats.

Regardless of how many coats you choose to apply, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to take the time to properly prepare your surface before you begin. This will help ensure that your limewash project looks great and lasts for years to come.