Limewash Paint Information & FAQ



What is James Alexander Limewash Paint?

With a light and easily applied viscosity, James Alexander Limewash Paint is applied with a large block style brush and provides a soft and painterly matte finish. Authentic limewash adds unmatched dimension and depth of color along with nuanced texture. It tends to enhance the appearance of surrounding finishes and serves as an affordable upgrade.

How it works

Limewash paint is made from crushed limestone. In the process, the crushed stones are burned and then water is added to the mineral lime. The material is aged in water. Mineral pigments are then added for color.

 When the limewash paint is applied, it begins the process of carbonation where the limewash paint absorbs and captures carbon dioxide from the air and actually uses it to cure into a limestone finish on your walls! This is called the lime cycle and the curing process. It takes days or weeks even to fully cure, depending on the moisture content of the surrounding air.

The process of CO2 absorption is the primary mechanism which helps natural lime paints improve interior air quality.

Continue reading below to learn more about our Lime-Prep primer, sealer, and Limewash Densifier to find out what items may be needed for your project.


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Do I really need Lime-Prep Primer?


If you are not applying to non-sealed masonry, wood, or plaster, you will need to apply Lime-Prep Primer to create a compatible surface for the limewash to "grab" onto. In addition to providing better adhesion, Lime-Prep primer will also help with producing a more accurate color finish.


How will or sealer or densifier affect appearance and performance? 


Densifier is a water based, mix-in binder additive that makes interior limewash applications cure to a finish that is more typical in performance to a flat water based wall paint. It will still have the visual movement, texture, and finish of our pure limewash. Densifier reduces the inherent chalky surface finish for areas of wall that may be touched. This is especially helpful to create a practical limewash finish in higher use areas such as hallways, bathrooms and other living areas. Our sealer can be applied over a densified limewash finish for an additional level of protection.

Our interior sealer is a very flat finish with exceptionally low sheen. It allows the surface to be wipeable. There will be a slight sheen increase from using sealer. If you want the surface as flat/matte as possible, adding a sealer may not be desirable. Another benefit of not sealing is that you can touch-up with no prep (if you need to touch up after applying sealer, you will need to apply Lime-Prep primer to the surface before completing the touch-up application). Finally, a consideration is that with deeper colors, the sealer can alter the appearance of the color. If you decide to use sealer, always test in an inconspicuous area before applying to the whole surface to ensure that the visual appearance of the sealer on limewash is acceptable for your project.


Does James Alexander Limewash Sealer make walls washable?


The sealer allows walls to become wipeable but we would not consider it a washable surface. Limewash paints do not create a plastic film as acrylics do so they do not allow for the same level of scrubbing without damage. An alternative care method is to not seal the walls and occasionally apply a new coat of limewash as it does apply rather quickly compared to standard paints.


Roller or sprayer applications


While we don’t recommend roller or sprayer applications in most circumstances, some production level applications may benefit from using specialized methods or equipment for faster applications. Please contact us if you have any questions for a larger project and are considering application methods. 


Where is it made and where can I purchase your products?

James Alexander Limewash Paints are made in the United States. We currently sell exclusively direct-to-customer via our website and online shopping channels. 


Can I apply limewash paint to difficult to adhere or glossy surfaces?


You can after proper preparation. If the surface is glossy or a known difficult surface to apply paint, you will likely need to apply a “bridging primer” before applying Lime-Prep mineral primer. There are several readily available products that will work for this application. The “bridging primer” should be a primer that is intended to prime “difficult to adhere to” surfaces and is suitable for a water based paint coating over the primer. After applying the bridging primer, you will be able to apply the Lime-Prep Primer and will then be able to paint with James Alexander Limewash. Please feel free to contact us if you'd like advice with prep.


Coverage rates


Coverage rates will range depending on the porosity of the surface. Generally, a gallon of Limewash paint will provide approximately 250-350 feet of coverage. Coverage rates are determined using two coats as a standard. If coverage rates are much lower than expected, the surface may be absorbing too much material and should be misted more thoroughly to reduce absorption rates.


Why do the instructions say to spread the limewash as far as it can be spread naturally? Won’t a good thick application provide more consistent results for color and finish?


Limewash is not like a standard film-forming paint so a thick application is the opposite of what is required with this finish. We want the limewash to absorb into the surface and create a beautiful finish but it will perform poorly if it's applied too heavily. Limewash painting is more like staining and less like traditional painting. A thick coating will weaken the finish and can cause cracking of the limewash finish and durability issues. Always apply thin!



How do I do touch-ups?


Limewash creates a somewhat uneven color and patterned appearance so touching up small areas can often work quite easily. Make sure that if you did seal, that you apply Lime-Prep at your touch-up area before applying limewash. It is a good idea to test your method in an inconspicuous area before touching up in a more visible location. If you have questions, you can always contact us for tips.


Are all your products water-based?


Yes, all of our products are water based and are water-clean-up.


Can I dilute James Alexander Limewash Paint to use as a “wash” finish for brick or wood?


Yes! One or two applications of various dilution ratios will create a translucent finish. James Alexander Limewash can be diluted with water up to 300 percent of volume to create a nearly transparent wash effect. This is a standard dilution ratio for wood-wash finishes.


Is James Alexander Limewash heat resistant or fireproof?


Our primers and sealers are not rated for high heat and cannot be used for high-temperature environments. All James Alexander Limewash paint is non-flammable and is a “heat-resistant” finish. This means that it will not catch on fire, however, it is not designed to be exposed to open flame or high heat specifically. You can use it indirectly close to flame but it should not be directly exposed. 


What about custom colors?

While we do not offer custom color matching, mixing two or more colors can create a custom blend and all James Alexander Limewash colors are compatible for blending together to create custom colors.


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