The concept of staining a brick (or other masonry products) has existed for hundreds of years. In 18th century England, diluted cow dung was applied to brickwork to ‘age’ it and encourage the growth of lichen and algae. This method was used frequently, with yoghurt or milk sometimes added to enhance the recipe. Mixing soot with water and applying it to brickwork and masonry was also common practice by builders in England 150 years ago. Unfortunately, the exactness of the colour match left much to be desired and durability was highly questionable with these methods.
In the late 1800s, inspired by the Italian frescoes to the south, King Ludwig of Bavaria ordered his scientists to create a paint that would last through the alpine winters of his country. Previous attempts to beautify their buildings with lime paints failed quickly in their harsh climate. The answer was the discovery of silicates – stains/paints that when properly pigmented and applied to masonry, produced a colour change that would last for years. Since then, continued development has produced formulations that allow for lifespans of 30 years and more. In fact, there are buildings in Europe that were stained with mineral based products over 100 years ago that have never required maintenance.