Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Painting with Lime Wash

Once again, we’re arriving at lasts…this time the last exterior paint. This will be applied to the north and south bump-outs. This paint is a lime wash because we applied lime plaster to the bump-outs which have limited protection from precipitation. The questions arises – what color should we use?

On the south bump-out, we selected yellow ocher. We’ve used this color frequently throughout the interior of the house—we must really like it. We chose it for the south bump-out for a specific reason: the intensity of the southern sun. We have noticed that the dark frames of our windows become very hot in the midday sun and cool quickly at night. The thermal expansion and contraction of the frames have caused a small bit of plaster to slough off in several places. A large dark plaster wall would also be subject to increased thermally-induced movement. Therefore, we opted for a light color to minimize the expansion and contraction that occurs during the day and night  and across the seasons. Plus, the dark window frames in the pale yellow wall look fantastic.

Scott repaired the plaster with a commercial concrete patch mix with polymer additive to make it more elastic. He made an expansion joint at each problem area around the frames. Then we covered the south bump-out wall with a paint created from pigments we purchased from Capital Ceramics in Salt Lake City - a mixture of yellow ocher, ceramic brown and raw sienna. In addition to the pigments, the lime wash consisted of one part Type-S lime and three parts water.

 We were uncertain about the color for the north bump-out, so Scott mixed several colors and applied test patches.
We contemplated these for several days and decided upon eggplant (or aubergine in the world of color design). Aubergine is the darkest color in the set.

Two friends – Jean and Catherine - arrived just in time to help with all of the painting. After completing the south wall, they jumped right in on the north wall with three coats of aubergine.

Yikes! It wasn't the ugliest thing we had ever seen, but it wasn't working here. Scott said this color might be nice somewhere...but somewhere far from here. The coats seemed much lighter than the test patch, and, despite all our efforts to smooth things out, we could see every brush stroke. This wouldn’t do at all.  Scott declared that we were going to revert to our tried and true color – yellow ocher.

He mixed the same pigments as before – yellow ocher, ceramic brown and raw sienna with a slightly greater proportion of ceramic brown – and we did the entire wall over again with much better results.
With patience, stick-to-it-iveness and friends, you can do anything.

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