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Study on the Durability of Traditional and Modified Limewash Recipes Results Handmade and Modern Brick


Limewash study samples: QUV (upper) and Adhesion (lower) samples

Limewash study samples: QUV (upper) and Adhesion (lower) samples

This report is an executive summary of testing undertaken by NCPTT in partnership with the Cane River Creole National Historical Park (CARI) and Quality Finish. In December 2003 meetings were held to discuss applying limewash to the brick cabins at Magnolia Plantation in hopes of prolonging the life of the structures. We developed a study to determine the durability of traditional and modified limewash recipes within certain criteria. CARI wanted to identify a durable low cost limewash that was applied in approximately three coats. As the project progressed we decided to also test limewash on wood, since CARI expressed interest in applying limewash to the wood structures at Oakland plantation. In collaboration with the project partners, NCPTT designed a program of testing for limewash on weathered wood, rough sawn wood, handmade brick, and modern brick.

Quality Finish researched possible limewash recipes that may have been used locally by interviewing community members. They were not able to identify recipes used in the community and thus turned to published limewash recipes, including a limewash identified through NPS contracting schedules. We worked together to prepare wood and brick test samples. Starting in November 2004, Quality Finish applied ten separate washes on handmade and modern brick samples. On all brick samples, an Edison acrylic emulsion was used as a primer. The same limewash recipes were applied to weather and rough-sawn wood, except for the wash K, the Virginia Limeworks putty and water which was only applied to the brick samples.

As of October 2005, NCPTT has completed scheduled testing on all samples. However the Center has decided to undertake additional testing, including traditional limewashes of lime and water on brick and wood samples without an Edison primer and the three best performing limewashes from the wood test on epoxy samples. The results from the additional testing are expected by the beginning of 2006. This report will focus on the results of durability testing of limewash recipes on the original handmade and modern brick samples.

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National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119