Choosing Between Limewashing and Rhino Shield for Brick Surfaces

Homeowners looking to enhance their brick homes often choose between traditional limewashing and modern painting techniques like Rhino Shield. Limewashing is an ancient practice dating back to Roman times, while Rhino Shield is a contemporary product that’s been used on brick surfaces for over 20 years, even featured on HGTV’s Curb Appeal the Block. We repair and paint thousands of brick homes annually and often get asked about the differences in appearance and protection between limewashing and Rhino Shield.


History and Composition

Limewashing has ancient roots, originating in Roman times. It involves making a lime putty from crushed limestone, which is then aged, diluted with water, and colored with natural pigments. This process results in a matte, chalky surface.

Color and Appearance

Limewash is naturally off-white but can be tinted with natural pigments to create soft, muted tones. The color can be hard to control since it lightens significantly as it dries. Usually, up to three coats are applied, and the final look can vary based on the pigments, surface, and application technique.

Environmental Friendliness

Limewash allows the surface to breathe, making it ideal for older buildings that need breathability. It’s also eco-friendly, containing low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Cost and Maintenance

Limewashing costs between $3,000 and $6,700, depending on the number of layers and the size of the area. It needs reapplication every 5 to 7 years as it gradually washes away, unlike paint, which chips and peels.

DIY or Professional Application?

While you can buy limewash at home improvement stores, professional application is recommended for the best results.

Rhino Shield

Popularity and Need

Painted brick has become more popular in the last few years. Standard paint requires a thick coat on brick to ensure an even look and to prevent water absorption, which can damage mortar. Rhino Shield has been protecting brick surfaces for over 20 years, even used by the US Army for their brick buildings.

Consistent Color and Protection

Rhino Shield offers a wide range of colors and sheens, providing a consistent and vibrant finish. You can also choose a clear coat to maintain the natural brick look while adding protection.

Breathability and Environmental Impact

Rhino Shield, like limewash, is breathable and low in VOCs. It seals brick better, preventing water intrusion, which can cause mold and mortar degradation.

Efficiency and Durability

Rhino Shield requires only two coats: a specialized primer that seals brick pores and a topcoat that is much thicker than regular paint. This topcoat is highly durable, resistant to weather, and lasts at least 25 years with a warranty.

Additional Benefits

Rhino Shield offers many benefits, including:
– UV reflectivity for lower energy costs
– Water repellence to prevent mold and algae
– Insulation and fire resistance
– Mortar protection, reducing the need for tuckpointing

Long-Term Investment

While Rhino Shield is more expensive upfront ($13,000 to $18,000), it’s a long-term investment. It lasts 25 years, resists cracking and chipping, and comes with a transferable, non-prorated warranty.

Professional Application

Rhino Shield requires professional installation, ensuring the job is done correctly and backed by a 25-year warranty.


Choosing between limewashing and Rhino Shield depends on your preferences, budget, and how long you want the finish to last. Limewashing is cheaper and gives a historical look but needs frequent maintenance. Rhino Shield offers a long-lasting, protective finish with a wide range of colors but at a higher cost.

If you want a budget-friendly option and don’t mind reapplying every few years, limewashing is suitable. If you prefer a durable, low-maintenance solution with many benefits and color options, Rhino Shield is the better choice.

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