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Everything You Need to Know about Lime Paint

As featured in Rue Magazine

Interview: Victoria de la Camara
Main Image Interior Design: Hawk & Co
Main Image Photography: Carl Larsen

For several years now, some of the most popular interior spaces have featured the natural beauty of lime paint. Perhaps it’s because of its matte tones and earthy quality, or even the subtle movement of its finish that has made this type of wall application ubiquitous amongst rooms created by top designers. But for those of us that are used to just choosing between matte, eggshell, semi-gloss, and gloss, what exactly lime and mineral paints are can be elusive.

We reached out to the Southern-Californian brand JH Wall Paints who are experts in the field. Founded by Jeremy Harnish, a licensed California painting contractor, and his wife Michele, their brand has been a leader in the category of lime and mineral paints. We sat down with Jeremy to have him offer his insider knowledge on all of our lime-related questions:

You offer a range of products… Help us understand what they are. What is the difference between Lime Wall Paint and Mineral Wall Stain?

Lime Wall Paint is a natural and textured paint made with slaked lime and minerals to give walls a unique beauty of soft, tonal variations and luminescence.

The Mineral Wall Stain can be used over raw wood and masonry and over our Lime Wall Paint for added depth and dimension. It is opaque and uses the same earthy mineral pigment to give color. We sell a Mineral Wall Stain Clear Dilution to add for a more transparent finish. Further, it has some protective qualities, as well as a very slight sheen, whereas Lime Wall Paint is a dead flat finish. The Mineral Wall Stain can also be used directly over Mineral Prime and is available in more vibrant colors than Lime Wall Paint. 

Should one be used over another in certain areas of the home, such as the kitchen or bathroom?

We suggest Lime Wall Paint on walls and our Matte Wall Sealer in areas where a durable, waterproof, washable surface is desired. You can use Mineral Wall Stain on raw wood cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom with the sealer over it. It is nice to pair the two— Lime Wall Painted walls with Mineral Wall Stained cabinets in the same shade.

Can you apply any of these products in a shower area?

Yes, you can apply the Lime Wall Paint with the Matte Wall Sealer on top.

It seems as though walls with lime paint can look quite different – in some cases, it can have a lot of movement, in others less… Are there different application techniques that give you different results?

Yes, there are so many possibilities and ways to get creative:

The standard cross hatch method is popular, and we also love the vertical pattern of application where you brush up and down. We also love the tone-on-tone application where you do one color as the first coat and a lighter color on top. This also helps give more dimension and looks amazing in a vertical application. You can also apply a first coat, like our black, as a base coat, with another color brushed on top vertically in sections where you see both colors. The result is a beautiful, modern finish. 

Are there ways in which you can achieve the exact result that you want, whether that means minimal movement or a lot of movement?

Yes, we have designed our product to be rolled on as the first coat and brushed on the second. This is very unique to our lime wash paint. We have developed it so a standard painting contractor can apply it as a brush and roll system. 

For added depth and movement, you can apply a thinned down third coat, or you can randomly roll in sections the first coat and brush the second. 

We also detail in our applications instructions to keep a wet edge and spritz the wall after each coat a few times. The random drying times help the lime bloom, creating more pronounced tonal variations. Once the second coat is applied, we suggest to keep spritzing the walls throughout 24 hours for more movement. This will also help the surface cure faster and bring about more of the bloom of the lime.

I currently have regular paint on my walls, do I have to do something to prepare it for Lime Paint?

For previously painted surfaces you will need to apply one coat of our Mineral Prime. It creates a microporous surface for the Lime Wall Paint. Over new drywall, we suggest two coats of Mineral Prime. For porous surfaces, no primer is needed. This includes unsealed masonry, including brick and stone, and unsealed plaster and exterior stucco.

Are these products something I can apply on my own or do I need a painting expert?

You can definitely apply our products on your own. We have designed it to be a DIY project. Since it’s brush and roll, it’s as easy as traditional paint, yet it is non-toxic, zero VOC, eco-friendly and sustainable, as well as aesthetically appealing. We also can work directly with your painting contractors to advise them on application instructions. 

What are the practical realities of using a Lime Paints? How long do they last? Can they be cleaned and is there any upkeep required?

Lime Wall Paint is anti-bacterial, anti-mold, anti-fungus and improves the air quality in the home. Lime Wall Paint can be touched up easily using the leftover paint that you store after use and you can feather in any touch ups nicely. Lime wall painted walls that have been sealed using our Matte Wall Sealer can be washed. There is no upkeep to Lime Wall Paint other than touch-ups when needed.

Are there any benefits to using this type of paint over a normal flat paint?

The difference is staggering. Do you ever get headaches or grow dizzy from the smell and odors of traditional paint? Did you know that latex and acrylic paints emit chemicals into your home and living environment for months after you apply the paint? This is called outgassing. The synthetic ingredients in paint usually cause some reaction in people that ingest the fumes. You can always open up a can of acrylic paint and smell heavy odors. To me, that is the difference between synthetic paint and lime wash paint – it’s all in the smell….and the distinct aesthetic beauty that is created by lime wash.

Lime Wall Paint uses natural ingredients that breathe life into your home by the absence of chemicals and synthetic fillers and additives. Our paint creates a luminescent finish with subtle tonal variations that cannot be duplicated with traditional paints.

What differentiates JH Wall Paints from other options on the market?

We use a premium slaked lime in our Lime Wall Paint that has been aged for over three years, which results in a uniquely beautiful finish. Many other lime paints and washes use acrylic primer and have acrylic and synthetic ingredients in their paint, defeating the organic healthy nature of lime wash.

In addition, other lime paints use chemical tints and toxic additives and fillers, so the products are not natural and mirror traditional paints. We use only natural earth powder pigments, so we have a true lime wash with a mineral matte luminescent finish. Each order is produced in a small batch format using these pigments. 

Our collection of Lime Wall Paint was specifically designed to elevate the aesthetics of the living space, while increasing the air quality in the home. We developed it to be easy to apply by anyone. In addition, we provide individualized application support to assist clients, designers and contractors with the project from beginning to end. We are available via phone and email seven days a week to help clients along the way with any help they need.

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