Austin Professional Painting

German Smear

A type of mortar wash, German smear is achieved by tactfully smearing a mixture of mortar and portland cement onto the brick, leaving some of it exposed.

Typically this process is done with white mortar. You can also achieve a variety of looks with the German Smear depending on how it’s applied and the thickness of the coats. With this decorative wash you can expect a more “textured” look with some thinner and thicker spots.

Most noteworthy, you’ll usually only see German Smear on high-end construction and historic properties.

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Limewash / Whitewash

White wash is a mixture of water and paint, the thinner the paint, the more the brick color will show through. Furthermore, you can get a variety of different looks just by testing different thicknesses of paints. Whitewashing is generally the lightest coating of the three brick wash methods and is typically done two ways.

An overall coat of thinned paint covering all of the brick and mortar. Tactfully coating areas with thin and thick paint, and then scrubbing or washing away the wet paint in some areas. As a result giving the brick a worn look.

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Slurry Wash

Slurry is another type of mortar wash that is done by completely coating the area with a thick layer. Slurry uses the same materials as a German Smear but differs in the application.

With a slurry there is full coverage of the masonry producing a stucco-type look but still allows the brick texture to show through. Typically, slurries are done with slightly tanner mortar colors. This is an excellent way to achieve the stucco look without the maintenance and cost of traditional stucco.

Each of these mortar wash looks have become increasingly desirable in recent years as a way of giving the home a rustic but modern look.

The Benefits of this
German Smear Style:
  • Changes the appearance of your brick home
  • Can be waterproofed
  • Double as a tuck-pointing alternative
  • Add to the structural integrity of your home
  • Can receive prominent accent colors

When to go with the German Smear style:

  • You want to enhance the curb appeal of your home
  • Your home is in need of tuckpointing
  • You wish to go a step further and utilize accent colors
  • Your home is in overall good condition

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What Decorative Wash
Is Right For You?

You may be wondering which decorative wash would best suite you. However, before you dive into choosing what look you like, we recommend a few preliminary steps.

The first step is to find out if your HOA will allow your home to be altered with this type of style. Many HOAs have strict restrictions on what type of alterations can be done to your property. So before spending the time and energy in researching, have a talk with your HOA to see if it's allowed. If you are adding a wash to the interior of the home then you don't have to worry about this step.
Second, you will want to consider what type of surface you are wanting the wash applied to. The masonry surface, whether it be brick, stone or stucco, needs to be structurally sound and free of any cracks or deterioration. Luckily, any masonry company that would apply the wash should also be able to repair the structure and get it ready for application.

Lastly, but most importantly, you want to consider your own taste and style. Decorative washes are permanent and are difficult to remove once applied. Make sure you find the style you'll be happy with for years to come!

We recommend looking at a couple of different sites for inspiration. Houzz is a great resource for searching different home improvement projects. Pinterest has a huge database of photos. Just search the different types of washes and save your favorites. Google images is also helpful and can lead you to some helpful pages or articles. Here's a great blog post that talks about each decorative washes and has descriptive pictures to help you decide.

Decorative wash faq
Our price for applying a decorative wash on the exterior of a home typically ranges from $12,000 to $25,000. This depends greatly on the size of the home and the amount of brick to cover. For a one-story, 1,800sq ft home with brick on all 4 sides, our roundabout cost would be approximately $12,500.
Brick Restoration offers three types of decorative washes:
Whitewash: A thin haze like coating over the entire brick veneer.
German Smear: A thicker coating applied in patches that creates a rustic, antiqued look.
Slurry: A thick application covering the entire brick veneer to create an almost a stucco-like finish.

Yes, but you can also cut your own hair…

Due to the labor-intensive nature of this work, and the skills, tools, and materials required, we have found this is a job best left to the professionals.

That being said, there are plenty of DIY methods and tutorials available online. If you do decide to do this yourself, do a test sample first and make sure to buy all your material at once to avoid slight color variations that can occur in the mortar mixes.

Our mix is a specially created formula made to achieve the best look and lasting results.

Typically, a German smear or slurry is made with a mix of Portland cement, lime, sand, and water.

All of our exterior decorative wash jobs include;

Preparing the home – covering windows and doors, removing exterior features (ex. shutters, light fixtures, etc.) as necessary and possible.
Preparing the brick veneer surface with power washing and crack repair as needed.
Application of custom decorative wash to brick veneer.
Application of industrial strength water repellent to seal custom wash.

Our mix is a specially created formula made to achieve the best look and lasting results.

Typically, a German smear or slurry is made with a mix of Portland cement, lime, sand, and water.

All three of our decorative wash applications can be done on brick and stone. In many occasions, a wash can be applied to painted brick also.

Absolutely! Washes are a great way to change the look of your home without having to do major redesign or remodeling.
For a one-story, 1,800 Sq Ft home, the entire process takes about 7-10 days
Our decorative washes are permanent. Natural weathering will occur over the decades as it does with any material.
With the growing trend, there is an abundance of photos online. We recommend browsing Houzz, Pinterest, and Google for the different types and choosing a few examples of ones that you like before meeting with a contractor.
Once you approve your proposal, our first step is to go out and do a small 3×3 foot sample on your home according to the look you want. Once you sign off on this sample then we will continue with the rest of the process.
All of our decorative washes are a permanent application. This product has a strong adhesion and is not meant to come off once it cures. We recommend that you be sure of your decision and of the look you want before proceeding.
Little maintenance is required for washes. Because washes are typically white or light in color, the exterior may become dirty over time. Light pressure washing or scrubbing should resolve the problem. We strongly recommend sealing the wash with a water repellant sealer after the application.

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