30 December 2015

DIY: How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

4 September 2014

DIY: How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

Our family room has a large wood fireplace that is the central focus of the room.

With a larger budget I would've considered refacing the brick with a natural stone, but since we're keeping our house renovation under a tight budget, we sought an alternative method of updating it.

I've already written about removing the hearth, hiring a mason to replace/repair the bricks behind the hearth, and filling in the floor with self-leveler, so today's focus will simply be on painting the bricks.

Here's the "before" picture of my project when I began

I researched quite a bit before I tackled this project.  Most of my DIY information came from the following blogs:

Young House Love: Painting a Brick Fireplace

Better Homes & Gardens: How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

And a few others found on Pinterest.

So here are my steps that I took...

Step 1: Clean the brick

First I took my handy Dutch bristle dishbrush (sold in Dutch grocery stores across Ontario!) with a bucket of warm water and 1/4 scoop of Norwex laundry detergent (my all-natural, go-to for an all-purpose cleaner)

Then I took the ShopVac to it to suck up any remaining loose pieces/dust

Step 2: Prime the brick

I went to Home Depot, described my project, and bought their recommended Behr primer

I used a 15mm roller for the main bricks

Our bricks were extremely rough and the mortar is set quite deep, so it didn't penetrate past the bricks at all

So then we tried a normal paint brush for the mortar, but that didn't work at all.  We didn't want to stop the project and waste an evening on another trip to HomeDepot, so we just used a foam brush to paint the mortar.

This was not the proper brush to use!  But, with time and budget against us, it did the job.  If I ever do a project like this again, I'll research a better brush.  I did read, after the fact, that a craft stencil brush from Michael's would work well.  Live and learn...

Step 3: Paint the brick

You can choose whatever paint you'd like (flat, semi-gloss, gloss) depending on your style.  At first I thought I'd like a glossy look, but I tried a spray can of that and it a) didn't penetrate deeply enough to the mortar, and b) it was s-h-i-n-e-y!!

I then realized that I wanted more of a rustic look than a modern glam look, so I chose a velvet latex paint from Home Hardware

It covered well and was the finish I wanted.

I used another 15mm roller brush for the brick, and then a regular bristle paint brush worked on the mortar (the brush worked fine after the primer was on).

I put two coats on the fireplace, and am really happy with it!

Step 4: Stand back and admire your handiwork!

My next step is to source a reclaimed wood beam for a mantle piece.  Then, eventually, we hope to add a gas fireplace insert.  But first we have to convert the house from oil to gas, which will happen in a few weeks.

I can't wait to decorate it for Christmas!


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