Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Brick House Update: the Basement and Limewash

We had a little excitement a couple of weeks ago as suddenly one night after heavy rain the neighbors tree leaned over. When I was working on the house the night before the tree was fine, next morning it looked like this. From the looks of it the poor tree had rotten roots, so once the ground thawed there wasn't anything holding it up anymore. Thankfully, it very gently sagged it way to the ground and the neighbor was able to chop it up before it came down with a crash and damage the Brick House tree (Which it was leaning on!).

 The last two weeks have been concentrated on the basement. Not very glamorous. Basements and attics are not my favorite spaces. Too dark and too many possibilities of creepy crawly jumping out at you. 
But since the laundry area at the Brick House is in the basement, I have been trying hard to make it less dark and creepy.

 So I decided to give Limewash a try! Limewash is also called whitewash, but whitewash can be confused as painting any surface with a thin white coat of any type paint. Where as Limewash is good old fashioned Whitewash made using hydrated lime. 

 It really isn't as scary as it sounds. The basic recipe I found online several places. I ended up using more lime then usually called for. It made it "stick" better and I wanted a nice thick white coat. Limewash has been used for centuries as a inexpensive coating on houses, masonry, barns, outbuilding and outhouses. It is a very breathable coating, naturally anti-fungal because of it's high alkaline level and a bug deterrent.
Sounds perfect for a basement, right? 

I mixed two gallon batches at a time. Using a one quart canning jar to measure I used two gallons of water, one quart pickling salt and 8 quarts lime. This makes a very thin mixture that is slightly thicker than water. But when it goes on brick (at lest my thirsty bricks) it thickens up and sticks. When I painted it on wood, it looked thinner for longer.

Before Limewashing
Here are a couple of before photos. The walls weren't too bad. But they certainly could use a freshening up!

Before Limewashing
Definitely helps brightens the place up!

We have also been working on the basement steps. They needed a railing. But when we went to add a railing we discovered the bottom step was rotten and wouldn't hold the post and bolts. So we also replaced the step. In the photo above I was in the middle of painting, hence the half white post!

I have also been working on the basement stairwell walls. When we took the plaster ceiling down, an inch or two of the walls also came down. We had to take a small part of the new drywall down to run a wire for a the outside light. The larger spot to the right was where the old switch was. I patch lath back in and ran the wire over the ceiling to the other switch there. Now both switches are together and it tidier. And now I was finally able to plaster the walls!

One side done!

This side drying. Next up; limewashing the plaster!

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