How to Whitewash Brick Backsplash


Whitewashing a brick backsplash can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. It provides a bright, clean backdrop that makes the space feel more open and airy. Whitewash also mutes the red brick color, allowing your decor and accents to stand out more. This simple DIY project is an affordable way to update your backsplash without going through the hassle and expense of a full remodel. Here is a complete guide to whitewashing brick to create a gorgeous new backsplash in your kitchen.

Gather Your Supplies

Whitewashing brick is a relatively easy process, but you’ll need to gather a few supplies first:

  • Protective gear – Gloves, safety goggles, dust mask
  • Paintbrush – A medium-sized nylon/polyester brush
  • Paint roller – A 4-inch roller with 1/4″ nap
  • Paint tray – To hold the whitewash mixture
  • Whitewash paint – Specially formulated limewash or chalk paint
  • Water
  • Cleaning supplies – Bucket, scrub brush, towels

Make sure to use a paint formulated specifically for whitewashing brick. Regular paint won’t adhere properly. Limewash and chalk paint are designed to soak into porous brick and create an opaque, muted finish.

Clean the Brick Surface

Before starting the whitewashing process, it’s important to thoroughly clean the brick. This will help the paint adhere and create a uniform finish.

Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Use a scrub brush to clean all the grout lines and scrub the face of each brick. This will remove any built-up grease or dirt.

Be sure to rinse the surface several times with clean water to remove all soapy residue. Let the brick dry completely before moving onto the next step.

Prepare the Whitewash Paint

For best results, it’s important to properly prepare the whitewash paint:

  • Start with about 1/4 cup of water for every 2 cups of whitewash paint.
  • Stir the water and paint together to create a loose, milk-like consistency.
  • You want the paint to easily flow off the brush, but not be too watery.
  • Add more water or paint as needed to achieve the right consistency.
  • Pour the prepared whitewash into your paint tray.

Mixing the whitewash correctly will make the application process much smoother.

Apply a Priming Coat

Before applying a thick final coat, it’s best to first apply a thin, priming coat of whitewash:

  • Use your paintbrush and apply a thin layer all over the brick surface.
  • Work in small sections so the whitewash doesn’t dry before you brush it on.
  • Apply in a “V” or crisscross brush pattern to help the paint soak in.
  • Don’t worry about complete coverage with the first coat.

This primes the brick and helps the final coat adhere better for full, even coverage. Allow the priming coat to dry completely before moving on.

Apply the Final Whitewash Coat(s)

Once the first coat is fully dry, you’re ready for the thicker, final layer(s) of whitewash:

  • Stir the whitewash mixture again before applying.
  • Use a paint roller and apply a generous coat using overlapping strokes.
  • Try to avoid drips by applying even pressure and loading the roller evenly.
  • If coverage is uneven after 1 coat, apply a second final coat and allow to dry.
  • For a bright white finish, 2 topcoats are usually needed.

Work methodically and carefully to achieve full coverage. Apply final coats only when previous coats are fully dry. Let the final coat dry at least 24 hours before use.

Seal and Protect the Finish

To help the whitewashed finish better withstand moisture, grease splatter, and daily wear and tear, it’s important to seal it:

  • Use a clear sealer formulated for brick and masonry.
  • Carefully follow the product directions for application amounts and drying time.
  • Apply at least 2 coats of sealer with a high-quality sealer brush.
  • Allow each coat to fully dry before adding another.

Sealing the finish will protect your beautiful whitewashed brick for years to come.

Whitewashing FAQs

Should the brick be sealed before whitewashing?

Sealing before whitewashing is not necessary. Just be sure to properly clean and prime the brick first.

How long does whitewashed brick last?

When properly sealed, a whitewashed brick backsplash can last 3-5 years before needing a refresh. Proper prep and application are key.

What sheen is best for whitewashed brick?

A flat or matte sheen is best to maintain the authentic whitewashed look. Semi-gloss or high-gloss will create too much shine.

Can whitewash be applied over existing paint?

Yes, but the surface must be properly prepared first by cleaning, lightly sanding, and priming the existing paint.

How do I prevent brush strokes in the finish?

Applying the whitewash with a short nap paint roller instead of a brush will provide a smoother, brush stroke-free finish.

Can limewash be used instead of chalk paint?

Yes, traditional limewash works very well for whitewashing brick. Follow manufacturer instructions.


Whitewashing brick to create a clean, light backsplash provides an easy and affordable kitchen update. With the right supplies and careful technique, it’s a project any DIYer can tackle in a weekend. Just remember to properly prep, prime, apply, and seal the surface. In no time, you’ll have a bright and beautiful new backdrop to enjoy for years to come. With this comprehensive guide, you have all the information needed to whitewash your brick backsplash like a pro.