Asked on Aug 19, 2019

Can/should I white wash/paint the stone on the exterior of my house?

Erin Robinson
by Erin Robinson

I have natural stacked Texas limestone on the exterior of my house. It is rather -orange- and I want to either paint it or white wash it. But, have also heard that it is best for the stone to stay unpainted and just paint the trim different. Also have a reddish roof that will stay and a long front porch. Need advise, any ideas are welcome.

Shutters are no longer there.

  9 answers
  • Ana Bacallao Ana Bacallao on Aug 19, 2019

    I would leave the stone as is because it appears to me to already have quite a bit of white pieces. I would paint the front door and trim. What look are you going for?

    • See 1 previous
    • Ana Bacallao Ana Bacallao on Aug 20, 2019

      White trim always looks fresh and gives a pop. It seems to me that the color you have now is more off white than a true white so you might consider it. Your stone work is very pretty.

  • Bonnie Bonnie on Aug 19, 2019

    I wouldn't paint that beautiful stone. It's easier to go ahead and paint the shutters, door and railings first, then step back and see what you think.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bonnie Bonnie on Aug 20, 2019

      Maybe try an off-white that picks up the lightest color of the stone? It's too bad the roof is red because it really limits your options. A gray roof would let you use the grays and whites that are in the stone and mortar.

      In the end, it's your choice if you don't like the stone colors. You can paint them but the roof dictates that it needs to be a warm color.

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Aug 20, 2019

    What about painting the shutters? That could be a nice update. I think it would look good if your trim was a nice bright white and the shutters were either white or black. Then you can hanging baskets with red flowers to bring out the roof.

  • Rymea Rymea on Aug 20, 2019

    I think the stone is beautiful. I don't like the thin railing and do you really need ALL those posts to hold up the overhang? See if you can get rid of about 4 posts and center the opening on the front door. You probably don't need a railing at all.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Aug 20, 2019

    you can lighten the Limestone using a Lime wash not whitewash with paint--- a limewash (a mixture of lime, tint, and water). ... Painted brick requires upkeep, but limewashing is a way to get this look you love without the maintenance. Lime is more durable than paint and also has properties that discourage mold is how it's made How do you make lime whitewash?

    Mix the whitewash.

    1. Mix 2 cups of salt with 1 gallon of warm water and stir to dissolve the salt.
    2. Add 6 to 8 cups of hydrated lime to the salt water.
    3. Mix well until the lime is dissolved.
    4. The mixture should be thinner than traditional paint.

    Limewash is made from powdered limestone that has been treated with heat and water to change its chemical composition, resulting in a stable product that provides a durable coating when applied to porous brick. The terms “limewash” and “whitewash” are often used synonymously, but while limewash is a specific type of whitewash, other types of whitewash do not use lime as an ingredient.

    Like other popular brick/stone-coating treatments, such as German Smear, limewash has its roots in antiquity; it was used centuries ago to protect structures from the weather. Both coatings add a thin layer to the outside of the structure, which helps protect the bricks and mortar from the elements. Buildings that were coated every few years developed a durable layer of protection against rain, wind, and harsh sun rays.

    In most regions of the world, limestone deposits are plentiful. Therefore, because true limewash contains just lime and water, its use was very accessible and commonly used in the protection of ancient vernacular architecture. Its ability to protect brick, block, and other types of porous material (including adobe, clay, and terracotta) made it invaluable for coating structures dating as far back as ancient Egypt, where it was used it to coat temples and monuments.

    Today, limewashing is a staple in the historical restoration industry as well as being a cherished method for updating the look of exterior (even interior) brick on homes. You can find it on commercial buildings and residential houses in all price ranges throughout Europe and the United States, and it’s just as at home on a castle as it is on a cottage.PROS AND CONS OF LIMEWASHED BRICK

    Like all coatings, limewash has its pros and cons. Weigh them before you commit to this exterior update, but know that it can be scrubbed away later if you decide.


    • Limewash is inexpensive. A whole house can be coated for $10 to $80 in supplies. If you can find hydrated lime locally, which has already been treated in a pressure hydrator and only needs to mix with water, it’s as cheap as $3 to $5 per 50-lb. bag (of which you’ll need two). If you order it online, you can expect to pay about $40 per bag—an upcharge mostly due to high shipping charges.

    • Limewash coating is natural and environmentally safe—a “green” choice.

    • Applying limewash is DIY-friendly. See below for how to get started!

    • Limewash, which is highly alkaline, resists fungal growth and insect damage.

    Subsequent coats of limewash can be applied over existing coats.

    • The coating won’t peel off as paint-based coatings can.

    • A layer of limewash offers protection against weathering.


    • Limewash will erode over time, requiring renewal coating every five to seven years.

    • The solution should be applied on overcast days to keep from drying too quickly.

    • When dry, limewash may rub off on clothing. Limewash will not adhere to previously painted bricks/stone.

  • Linda Linda on Apr 05, 2020

    I think paint would look very nice. Here is a post with color suggestions.

  • Itode Major Idowu Itode Major Idowu on May 02, 2020

    I think paint would look great or Limewash. I am thinking of doing the same

  • Jel49071748 Jel49071748 on May 21, 2020

    I wouldn't. You have something that is very unique and hard to recreate in today's mass-produced world. I would think this kind of brick, natural, traditional, is a huge selling point in the Texas Hill Country. Putting paint - or even limewash - on top of that would make it look halfway like the trendy white stone / black trim they are using everywhere right now, which will look passe in a few years. I would look into changing the color of the trim first. Removing the railing and trimming the posts with cedar would look amazing and make this house really shine IMO.