How to whitewash a brick fireplace.

Most homes built around 70s-80s usually have a brick fireplace with colors of brick varying anywhere from orangey-red to black-brown-red. It automatically dates the room and looks drab. One fairly “easy” fix is to whitewash the fireplace, it will instantly change the room for brighter and lighter. However, it is time consuming and can be bit frustrating depending how porous or dark your fireplace is. But it is definitely doable! I’ve whitewashed 2 fireplaces as our current house and previous house each had dark bring fireplaces. Here’s how I did it.

Our last house had a fireplace that looked like this.

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I mixed equal parts of white latex paint and water, stirred and stirred. Covered up all surfaces, got a sponge and a rag and went at it. I sponged the mixture on the bricks, then dabbed the drips with the rag. Sore shoulders – check. I waited a day and let the brick absorb it. I don’t have an in between photo but the brick does absorb a lot of paint. So much so that I had to do a second coat. The, however, it looked too painted and uniform, so I got my sander out and sanded a few areas down. Hello dust!!!! Here’s the after.

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It’s our listing photo, so all crap has been cleared away but it does make a huge difference, doesn’t it.

On to our current (and forever) house.

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As soon as I saw the fireplace, I knew I would have to whitewash it. However, unlike the other fireplace which was built out of interior brick (brownish) this most was mostly red with black. Our chimney sweep said that’s the exterior brick. Anyhuuu. This was one SO difficult. I can’t even. It took my well over a week and I was really panicked because no matter what I did, it looked bad. I started with 1/3 white latex paint I had left over and 2/3 water. I ended up with light pink fireplace. Girls were thrilled. I did half and half and ended up with pink-purple fireplace.

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No honey, there’s no dinner as I have spent all day painting our fireplace purple. So bad. Bad bad purple. Slept on it and decided to add a bit of warm beige on my current white paint-water mixture.

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Better but decidedly yellow-ish. Everyone told me it looks fab and begged me to stop. So I did. But it bothered me. Every single day. It just wasn’t right. I figured if I made the water mixture whiter, got the brush out and painted ALL the grout lines, it might look better. It did. BUT it drips everywhere and I have myself a serious carpal tunnel with this. It still wasn’t what I wanted so I ended up getting my sander out and went to town on all those overly yellow areas, concentrating on the edges. It took hours, 7 sander pads (brick eats though it) and 2 days of cleaning all the dust off. It literally got everywhere and I hadn’t thought to cover anything up. I know.

So this is the after. Sorry, its not the greatest photo. I’m looking for a round mirror to go where the wreath is and need a carpenter to redo the mantle so I haven’t taken any photos. However, it is so much better than the original. Ideally, I’d love to do a limestone veneer over it but that has to wait a bit.

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Before

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After

So what do you think? Would you whitewash your fireplace?

 

x

-haiku

2 thoughts on “How to whitewash a brick fireplace.

  1. Yes! Its a definite improvement. In a perfect world I would cover it with stone. I like what you did with yours, brass surround is the worst. You could panel over the the brick (or remove the brick) and paint the whole thing white! It would look awesome. But def not a DIY. 😦

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