DIY German Smear

Thanks to Chip and Jojo we are now more familiar with the term "German Smear".  We've seen it on fireplaces, accent walls, and home exteriors.  Essentially that term means smeared mortar.  There are several techniques to achieve different looks depending on how thin your mortar is and how you apply it; whitewashed, lime washed, or a mortar smeared.    

In typical Lenny & Jenny fashion, this conversation went like this...

Jenny:  Did you see that Fixer Upper with the German Shmear?  I like that look.  Wanna hire someone to do that to our house?

Lenny: We can totally do that on our own.

Jenny:  Oh really.  Okay.

And we jumped in... If you have followed our fixer upper journey you know we are a little impulsive but generally things turn out the way we were hoping for.




STEP 2:   Use the RIGHT TOOLS.  You'll need 2 Rubber Grout Floats $10, a bucket of water, a wire brush, and a bunch of extra large grouting sponges.  You'll want a few drop cloths because this can get messy and ladders and scaffolding.


STEP 3:  MIX MORTAR.  You want it the consistency of peanut butter.  This part is important to get right.  Too thick and it ends up gloppy and hard to work with, too thin and you're creating more of a whitewash than a smear.  We used VERSABOND (WHITE) $15/bag.  We used 10 bags for the entire house.

STEP 4: GET STARTED.  Get a good amount of mortar on the float and start smearing.  Starting with an inconspicuous portion of a wall that will allow you to get the technique down.  Smear it on using multiple angles and directions.  This is where it's helpful to have a second person.  As you are smearing it on, the second person with a float and sponge comes after you to wipe off the excess mortar and wipe off selected bricks. You can use a wire brush to get off mortar as well.  Wipe down wall with sponge when completed.

Check out the video below to get a better idea of the process.

And what would a Lenny & Jenny reno be without wood! We made new cedar pillars and shutters, added some can lights, and stained cedar on the ceiling.  Annnd a new door but that's a different blog.  

Jennifer Leininger