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What is White Washing and why is it done?

What is White Washing?
Whitewash is a mixture of lime, salt, and water used for various functions, including preventing sunburn, reducing insect damage, and reflecting heat on a building. Whitewash is a common decorative technique nowadays. It gives the furniture, bricks, walls, and other elements an aged and old look.

Because of its antibacterial characteristics, whitewashing was once utilized on barns and fences. It is becoming increasingly popular these days because of its weather appeal and vintage style. Whitewashed brick walls offer a fresh and sophisticated appearance, while whitewashed furniture has a rustic appeal.

Whitewashing on a wall with a brush
Fig 1: Whitewashing on a wall with a brush
Courtesy: wikiHow

How White Washing Came Into Existence?
From ancient times until medieval England, this approach was used. During the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of England was ravaged by two fires: one in 1135, which destroyed numerous structures, and another in 1212, which claimed the lives of 3000 people. Townsfolk were required to whitewash their homes in the 1300s as a fire prevention measure.

The Colonial Period appears to have seen the most whitewashing. Whitewash paint was required for the interior and exterior of barns, houses, and churches in Colonial times. Its appeal stemmed primarily from its ability to prevent mildew. The coating was not only antimicrobial, but it also helped keep pests out of their homes and barns. As a result, the kitchen was frequently whitewashed as a deterrent to vermin and as a cleaner and odor neutralizer. Furthermore, whitewash was much less expensive to make than normal paint. It was inexpensive, but it did not require a skilled laborer.

What Are The Advantages of White Washing?
Whitewashing is an antique painting method that is far from obsolete. It will give your home a classic, rustic look that you won’t be able to achieve with ordinary paint. While the process is old, it has stood the test of time and can benefit your home that standard paint cannot. Some of the other advantages include-

White Wash Has A Long Life Span
Even if you buy the most expensive conventional paint on the market, it will eventually peel, chip, and fade. If you want your paint to stay looking excellent, you must maintain it on a regular basis. This isn’t an issue with whitewash. Whitewash doesn’t allow peel or chip, and it just requires minor upkeep to maintain its beauty. In fact, it can occasionally endure for decades without requiring any maintenance.

White Wash Has Antibacterial Properties
Antibacterial properties are one of the benefits of whitewashing. Lime, which is found in whitewash, has antimicrobial qualities. It can keep moisture and mold from walls, ceilings, and floors. Houses and barns are commonly whitewashed to protect them from bacteria. Furthermore, they make the surface more sanitary and hygienic.

Mold Isn’t Able To Grow In White Wash
Whitewashing prevents mold from growing on houses, buildings, barns, and furniture. The lime in the whitewash works as a drying agent, keeping moisture out of the walls and other surfaces. Mold may thrive in damp environments, and a little moist space can become a breeding ground for mold, fungus, and bacteria. Moisture is kept out by applying thick layers of whitewash to the exposed surfaces.

Whitewash Is A Non-Toxic Product
You don’t have to be concerned about harmful chemicals when painting using whitewash. Whitewash is a non-toxic substance. Whitewash doesn’t produce foul odors, so you won’t have to worry about them lasting.

White Wash Acts As Insect Repellent
Whitewash is also effective when repelling insects from your home, building, or barn. Barns are usually whitewashed to prevent flies and mites from infesting the animals. A whitewashed house will also deter bees and wasps from nesting in your attic.

White Wash Is A Good Alternative Paint
Whitewash is a wonderful coating alternative if you don’t want to use paint. The paint contains compounds that are hazardous to one’s health, such as VOC. Furthermore, they emit powerful gases that are harmful to the respiratory system. You can use whitewash manufactured from natural components if you want a safer choice. You may produce your whitewash with lime and water at home. When compared to paint, it is a more cost-effective option.

Can We Make Our Own White Wash?
The answer is yes. Whitewashing is a simple and inexpensive process. To achieve the desired consistency, simply combine white water-based paint with water. A 1:3 paint-to-water ratio produces a thin, translucent finish that doesn’t require wiping or dry brushing. A 1:1 ratio will result in a thicker covering that can be wiped or sanded to get a distressed appearance. To add depth and durability to the finish, use a glaze or sealer. Some of the other ways are-

Make An Eco-Friendly Statement In The Farmhouse Style
Whitewash can help to unify an area by brightening dark materials. It’s perfect for creating a rustic, farmhouse vibe with salvaged materials. Paneled wood walls and ceilings may make a statement without a pickled whitewash treatment overpowering the area. Consider a layer of whitewash before tearing down paneling or removing unsightly cabinetry.

Incorporate Warm Texture In A Scandinavian-Modern Aesthetic
Whitewashing is an excellent technique to add the warmth of wood without the color. Whitewash, like a stain, allows the grain and warmth of the wood to show through. As a result, the hue is a warm grey that would look wonderful in any modern home. A pickling stain looks best on new materials and gives them a rustic appearance.

Repurpose A Vintage Item In A Beach-House Style
Whitewashing wood furniture can brighten the color while preserving the intricacies. Furniture with a distressed patina has a traditional and cozy appearance. This is a terrific way to give aging formal furniture a beachy makeover. Consider dry brushing the whitewash to reveal more of the wood’s natural color.

Transitional-Style Wood Paneling And Logs
We’ve all seen pictures of glitzy lofts with exposed brick walls. Whitewashing wood paneling or even log walls may give them a distressed look. Using this technique over all of the walls and ceilings creates a new look with a lot of texture. Instead of using bright colors, add texture and wood tones to the furniture for a sleek, transitional aesthetic. Use a heavier whitewash and sand it away when it dries for a more rustic look.

Industrial-Style Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood complements industrial design well, but greys and browns can become gloomy and heavy. Whitewashing salvaged wood is an excellent method to bring new life to an industrial area, a piece of furniture, or even cabinetry. Whitewashing helps you preserve the age and grain of reclaimed wood while also adding character. After sanding away the whitewash, cover drawers, and cabinets with a clear glaze or wood sealant. Oil-based sealers, which can turn yellow, should be avoided.

Shabby Chic-Style
In this look, whitewash reigns supreme. It can be used to soften wood moldings and beams and give the furniture a clean, classic look. But don’t stop there: whitewash the flooring to create a bright, airy atmosphere. This look works well with distressed, sanded, and pickled finishes. They all function well together but choose your finish based on the material and application. Pickled new wood, painted rough wood, and glazed furniture and cabinetry are all recommended. Color and pattern can be used in seat cushions and metalwork to create a warm and whimsical look.

Whitewashing is still utilized for functional purposes, but it is also popular for its rustic aesthetic appeal. Stone and bricks, for example, can be bleached to make them more visually appealing. Whitewash is a simple, time-tested procedure for both functional and just aesthetic purposes. Despite being thousands of years old, it is still used today to provide old-world elegance to one’s property.

• How Does Whitewashing Differ From Painting? | Exterior Decorative Solutions. (2017, December 22). Exterior Decorative Solutions.
• The History Of Whitewashing | Tulsa White Wash Pros | (918) 378-8452. (2017, September 30). Exterior Decorative Solutions.
• 6 Ways To Use Whitewash Paint And How To Make It – Northshore Magazine. (2017, September 21). Northshore Magazine.
• Whitewash: Pros and Cons of Popular Brick Exterior Treatments | Renovations Roofing & Remodelling Inclusive.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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