What Is A German Smear, And How Can You Get The Look In Your Home?
By TAMARA WARTA
Often found on German cottages and old buildings, German smear is an imitation of irregular stones and mortar joints that, instead of using paint, covers the bricks with a layer of wet mortar. The mortar dries into a rough, distressed finish that can be used on both interior and exterior bricks.
German smear can be completed with tile grout, but designers highly recommend mortar, which gives you a few options. If you know a construction worker, you can have them help you make your own, or you can save some time by buying premixed mortar.
One of the most popular uses of German smear is on fireplaces, so if you want to give your fireplace bricks a makeover, remove any trim and clean the bricks. Squeeze the mortar into the grout and crevice between each brick, and smear the mortar with a putty knife for a rustic and unique result.
German smear is a popular look for many home exteriors, and the process is much the same. However, for exteriors, you want to dampen the bricks before you apply the mortar, as the moisture will buy you time to go back and smooth over your work and get the exact texture and thickness you would like.
Ultimately, German smear is an attractive and timeless look that is inexpensive, durable, and fairly easy to implement. However, German smear is pretty permanent, and removing it requires scraping individual bricks and using erosive chemicals.