Painted Rock Fireplace

2 Materials
7 Hours

My little mountain condo had a corner fireplace that was like a dark, sad hole. I thought it could use a make-over... (Plus, mortar repair thru the years was mismatched.)

Fireplace before. Gulp... did I want to paint that rock? was a "commitment!"

Used plastic and painter's tape to protect the black firebox and along floor. This step, done properly, will save you many headaches in the future. (It took about 30 minutes.)

Valspar paint from ACE Hardware (sorry for the messy can). -- Latex - Satin finish

Mantel color: "Twinkle Twinkle". - Valspar "Color of the Year"

Rock color: "Sculpting Clay" -- I wanted a light/medium true GREY.

First I took a wire brush and "brushed" all of the lichen and loose mortar away. Then swept the rock with a broom and vacuumed. (30 minutes)

I read on a blog that a nappy roller is good on rock. I tried it... basically it was a waste of a good roller. It really still left a lot of brush painting to do.

I, ultimately, used a small brush for the mortar and a larger one for the flatter surfaces.

The first coat took FOREVER (four hours.). The mortar and rock really soaked up the paint... also rocks have SO many crevices! But... I knew that if I did a good job on the first coat... the second would be a piece of cake.

Frankly, I was a little worried at this stage!! The paint was far from grey -- it was almost a dirty chalk color. YIKES!

Oh well... "it's just paint." At the very least I had a first coat of something on the surface. I went to bed.

When I woke up in the morning, I found the paint had dried and cured a bit --- into the perfect shade of grey!

I painted another coat. It went on way more easily than the first coat -- only took two hours! My patience and fortitude on the first coat paid off in spades!

Time to remove the plastic and tape: (10 minutes)

Here's my completed fireplace!! I'm SO happy with the result! (the color is actually a bit darker/richer than this photo... more like the previous photo.)

Reward: snow on the ground, a glass of wine in my hand, piano music on -- and a fire to keep me warm. Sigh... so contented. :-)

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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Janice
    on Jan 12, 2020

    I cringed when I first started to read your post, oh no, that beautiful lichen moss was going to be painted over? Then I saw the result......Very nicely done, it is beautiful in a more modern and uplifting way. Good job!

    • Nan W.
      on Jan 12, 2020

      Janice: Oh my! thanks for the kind comment! (also... the previous owner of my condo had "repaired" with non-matching mortar... so paint was a good solution.).

      You've made my day!



  • Linda W
    on Jan 14, 2020

    I have a rock-faced fireplace also. It has really blackened. I tried cleaning it last summer. No luck. Will paint cover the smoke stains or will I have to get it off before painting?

    • Nan W.
      on Jan 14, 2020

      Linda: I am wondering -- since it's clean... if a couple of coats of a good primer, like KILS would prepare that rock nicely for painting!

      ...ask at your paint store. Good luck! POST PICS WHEN DONE!

  • Kaysmom
    on Jan 20, 2020

    My fire place is ugly I dont have a pick atm. I am thinking ripping it apart adding new stone. Any ideas?

    • Nan W.
      on Jan 20, 2020

      Hi! Why not give it some coats of paint and see what it looks like!? That is WAY cheaper than doing new stone!

Join the conversation

4 of 10 comments
  • Victoria V.
    on Jan 12, 2020

    I have JUST had this discussion! I live in family home built in late 50's. BIg rock floor to ceiling fp in corner. Old, dated looking. Scared to death to paint. Your post easy to understand and looks very nice. Now I'm reevaluating mine. Suddenly all kind of painted and mixed faux front( on top half over mantle) come into mind as "do-able"! Thanks for the inspirational nudge.

    • Nan W.
      on Jan 13, 2020

      Victoria: Well, you know where I stand on the issue! I have ZERO regrets about painting the rock. Think my fireplace went from a sad, dark hole -- to a focal point in the room. (See before/after pic)

      I'm also a big fan about not too much clutter around/on a fireplace. I want it to stand on it's own -- especially with dancing flames inside!

      My take... I would not put on a faux front... you can always do that! Paint above mantel is the most inexpensive way to go... if you don't like it, you can always add faux front.

      Good luck and be sure to post a pic of your finished update!!



  • Lilly
    on Jan 15, 2020

    So much better👍🏼👍🏼❤️❤️

    • Nan W.
      on Jan 15, 2020

      THANKS! I really appreciate the positive feedback!

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