Whitewashing the North Lodge

May 25, 2010

Back in 2005 Historic New England made the decision to whitewash the outbuildings at the Governor John Langdon House both for preservation and interpretive reasons. Historic photographs indicated that the buildings, referred to as the North Lodge and South Lodge, were whitewashed during the early twentieth century. Applying a new whitewash finish over the now bare brick structures is in keeping with the early twentieth-century interpretation of the site.

Whitewash, or limewash, is a traditional finish for masonry structures made out of lime putty and water. It is easy to make, easy to apply and acts as a sacrificial barrier to protect the building. In many scenarios it is better than paint because it allows moisture to escape from the building without damaging the masonry or the coating. Because of its nature, however, whitewashes need to be applied more often than paint because it is overall a thinner product but each successive coat makes the overall finish more durable. The lodge received four coats of whitewash back in 2005.

The Historic New England carpentry crew begins maintenance of the whitewash finish on the North Lodge starting the week of June 1, 2010 as weather permits. The crew will apply three more coats of white wash to the structure in between repair work on the cornice that was damaged during this past winter.