Homeowners seeking a whole different look for their house’s exterior need only reach to the past for inspiration. Used throughout history – even by the ancient Egyptians – limewash is an eco-friendly and protective coating that can cover imperfections or simply give new brick “Old World” charm.
Tracy and Bill Buzzeo are already hearing from neighbors – and strangers – about the dramatic change to their house, which was recently limewashed by H.J. Holtz & Son.
“One neighbor said ‘You took a very traditional house and turned it into a chateau,’” Tracy says. “People literally stop and point [as they go by] all the time. It’s funny because we can hear them.”
The Buzzeos bought the house in summer 2019, after a two-year search for a house along the James River. They finally found a great one…with one problem: It was red brick.
“I personally do not like red brick,” Tracy says. “Before we even put in a price on the house, we called Holtz to give us a price on the limewash, so we could build it into our expenses.”
Tracy said she had previously seen houses that appeared to limewashed and preferred that look to traditional painting.
“I noticed so many people were painting their brick, but I wanted something different,” she says.
Limewash is made from crushed limestone mixed with water to a consistency of putty. The material is aged, then thinned with more water. Pigments can be added, but the color palette is narrow: white and soft earth tones. When applied to brick, the wash is absorbed, providing a protective coating that breathes, so moisture isn’t trapped within the brick or mortar. Additionally, thanks to its mineral origins, limewash is a natural fungicide and repels insects.
Because limewash is organic, it will fade over time and may need to be reapplied after five years to maintain the original depth of color. Unlike paint, however, limewash won’t chip or peel, so wear isn’t obviously apparent.
Coming from a house that was stone and Hardiplank, the Buzzeos wanted their new house to stand out. That happened quickly, says Holtz & Son foreman Casey Crawley, who says he noticed passersby pausing to admire the project as it was underway.
“I guarantee you that people have stopped to see the change,” he says, adding that the Buzzeos’ choice of a black-brown trim makes a bold statement.
“The contrast is amazing,” Crawley says.
Carol Hudson, H.J. Holtz & Son project manager, says the Buzzeos’ choice of the dark trim takes the house from attractive to stunning. “I love seeing the transformation,” Hudson says.
The Buzzeos’ daughter has planned a fall wedding for the backyard, overlooking the river. It was important to the family, Tracy says, that the house be ready for the big day.
“I had heard from others that if you want a job done right, call [H.J] Holtz [& Son],” she says. “They were particular and did a great job.
They were awesome.”