What Is A German Smear And How Can You Get The Look In Your Home?

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What Is A German Smear And How Can You…
What Is A German Smear And How Can You…

What is a German Smear and How Can You Get the Look in Your Home?


Are you looking to add a touch of rustic elegance to your home? If so, you might want to consider the German smear technique. German smear, also known as German schmear or mortar wash, is a technique used to create an aged and textured look on brick or stone surfaces. It can transform your home’s exterior or interior walls, giving them a timeless and charming appearance. In this article, we’ll delve into what exactly German smear is and how you can achieve this look in your own home.

What is German Smear?

German smear is a technique that originated in Europe and was commonly used in Germany. It involves applying a mixture of mortar and water onto a brick or stone surface. The mortar is spread unevenly, allowing the brick or stone to partially show through. This creates a weathered and rustic effect, as if the surface has been aged over time. The German smear technique can be applied to both interior and exterior walls, depending on the desired look.

How Can You Get the Look?

1. Prepare the Surface

Before you start the German smear process, it’s important to prepare the surface properly. Clean the brick or stone thoroughly to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. You may need to use a pressure washer or a stiff brush to ensure a clean surface.

2. Mix the Mortar

Next, you’ll need to mix the mortar. Use a pre-mixed mortar or mix it yourself using a combination of cement, sand, and water. The consistency should be thick enough to stick to the surface but still spreadable.

3. Apply the Mortar

Using a trowel or a brush, apply the mortar mixture onto the surface. Spread it unevenly, allowing some areas of the brick or stone to show through. This will create the desired rustic look. Work in small sections to ensure that the mortar doesn’t dry out before you can smear it.

4. Smear the Mortar

Once the mortar is applied, use a sponge or a cloth to smear it. Gently rub the surface in circular motions, removing some of the mortar and revealing the brick or stone underneath. The amount of mortar you remove will depend on the level of texture you desire.

5. Let it Dry

Allow the German smear to dry completely before applying any sealant or paint. This will ensure that the mortar sets properly and creates a long-lasting finish.


Q: Can I German smear any type of brick or stone?

A: German smear works best on porous surfaces such as brick or soft stone. It may not adhere properly to smooth or non-porous surfaces.

Q: Can I use different colors for the mortar?

A: Yes, you can experiment with different mortar colors to achieve a unique look. However, traditional German smear is typically done with a light-colored mortar.

Q: Is German smear a permanent solution?

A: German smear is a durable technique that can last for many years. However, over time, the mortar may fade or wear off, requiring touch-ups or reapplication.

Q: Can I German smear interior walls?

A: Yes, you can apply the German smear technique to interior walls as well. It can add character and warmth to any room.

Q: Can I hire a professional to do the German smear?

A: If you’re not confident in your DIY skills, it’s always a good idea to hire a professional to ensure a high-quality and consistent finish.