The German Schmear
When we bought our home last year the exterior was undesirable to say the least. The exterior colors were drab and dated and the front and backyard were covered in trees that blocked the view of the house. When we moved in we had a vision to brighten it up and clear out some trees to so you could see the house. We removed all the over grown pine trees that blocked the house taking out a total of 19 trees. It actually hurt my heart to do it cause I’m such a tree hugger but the trees had outlived their life expectancy and were in danger of falling. We couldn’t risk that with August in the house!
After clearing out the trees, we painted the second floor exterior that was wood paneling in Cloud White by Benjamin Moore along with all the windows and trim. The red brick was our next project to tackle. I had done the paint white wash on our brick fireplace in our old house in Cali but this time I knew I wanted a more rustic unfinished look. I had two options: German Schmear or Mortar wash. The only difference between the two is the application. German schmear is a thicker application of the mortar with a few bricks left out or then scrapped away or rubbed off for a distressed look. While the mortar wash is an even application over all of the bricks. It’s really just a design preference and you are the artist to create the look and texture you prefer! I really prefer the German Schmear because it’s a bit more rustic and distressed looking.
Here is how we did the German Schmear and the list of materials you will need if you want to recreate the look. We bought everything from Home Depot.
Materials Needed For Your German Schmear
- White mortar mix (you can also choose a grey if that is the look you are going for or add color mix into the white mortar mix)
- Two 5 gallon buckets
- Heavy duty rubber gloves
- Mortar float
- Wire brush
- A few heavy duty sponges for the mortar application
- A hand concrete mixer to use with an electric drill
- Water hose for mixing
Mix the mortar in the 5 gallon bucket to the consistency of a thicker pancake batter. It’s a 70 % mortar mix to 30% water I would say. You can see what kind of application you would like and base it off of that. I think the thinner mix is easier to apply but eventually begins to run causing you to do a lot of touch ups. The thicker consistency is a bit harder to apply but in the end is a lot less messy and dries faster so if you find you have a thicker seem line between the bricks it doesn’t run off as much as the thinner mixture does. But you can try it both ways and see what you like based on the desired look of the German schmear or wash you choose to do.
For the application
Scoop a thick amount of the mixture onto the mortar float and apply in a 40 degree angle sliding the mixture up in a rainbow pattern. Keep doing this till you get the coverage you like and then wash off the bricks you want exposed with a wet mortar sponge. For the bricks that dried faster or those that I wanted the mortar removed after looking at it as it dried I took the wire brush and scraped off the dried mortar to give the distressed look. It’s definitely easier to scrape off the wet bricks but if there are some that look like they have too much mortar on them don’t be afraid to put some muscle behind it to achieve the desired look! No pain, no gain! I think it’s safe to say that I was able to skip the gym during this project then so can you! 😉 😉
Have FUN designing the look and hope that this post gives you some inspiration to get your hand dirty! We’re pretty proud of our out come! Here is a pic of the before and the finished product. Wishing you good luck with yours! Post pics and share your results with me- would love to see what others come up with! Post your pics here 😀