Lime washing, or white washing is a technique that has been used for many years, initially to protect wood and more recently to make wood look weathered and bleached. A really effective way of breathing new life into an old wood floor, lime or white washing creates a nice, light coloured grain in wood. Although lime washed wood flooring at one time was the only option for poor people, who couldn’t afford paint, it’s now seen as a stylish and highly appealing option, particularly when applied to flooring.
How does lime washing work?
In the past, lime wash was created by mixing calcium hydroxide and chalk and this same mixture can be used today, but it’s now more common to use a diluted paint solution. When a lime wash is applied to solid wood flooring it creates a really open textured look to the grain and brightens the wood dramatically, giving the overall impression of white flooring. White flooring, like black flooring is currently a highly popular option, particularly in rooms where you’re seeking a natural palette of creams and off-whites, sometimes with a bright splash of colour.
Lime or white washing your floor on a DIY basis
If you have an existing floor that you’d like to lime wash, it’s a relatively straightforward process, but not something that should be done on new flooring because it might cause damage. What you need to do is sand the floor until it is free of all old varnish and finishing. Once you’re down to the bare wood, you need to remove all traces of sanding dust by hoovering and then going over the floor with a slightly damp mop before letting it dry thoroughly.
To make your lime or white wash, the easiest way is to use paint thinner to thin down an oil-based white paint until it is almost translucent. Once you have your mixture ready, you should apply it to the floor using a roller in small quantities, leaving it to dry for about 15 minutes before buffing away any excess with clean cotton cloths. Once you’ve achieve the level of lime or white washing you’re happy with, you need to let the floor dry for at least 24 hours and then finish off the floor with a polyurethane varnish, following the manufacturers instructions.
Why choose a lime washed floor?
Some people might think that choosing white wood flooring is a crazy option, but it can actually be a reasonably effective way of hiding the dust and grime of day-to-day living. White flooring needn’t mean black footprints every time you step inside your home if you prepare your rooms properly. Investing in a good quality doormat, both inside and outside of your home for example will mean that the worst of the dust and the grime is removed before people step foot on your floor. But apart from that, white flooring in many ways is a better way of hiding dust than a black floor, because the dust simply doesn’t show up quite so much.