Fireplace Makeover Pt. 2: Baby Got Brick

by CrystalRansons
6 Materials
2 Days

Fireplace Makeover Pt. 2:

Baby Got Brick


My husband and I tore down stacked stone and built a new mantel, to see how we did that check out this blog post: Fireplace Mantel Build pt. 1

Material List

- Old Mill Brick Veneer I used 1 full box and about 15 from a second box

- thinset or mortar

- spacers

- sanded grout (bright white)

- bucket for water

- sponge

- grout or mortar bag

How I Installed the Brick

I used Old Mill brick veneer in Castle Gate:

Link: Old Mill Brick

About Old Mill Brick:Old Mill Brick Single Thin Brick Flats are made from the highest quality genuine kiln fired clay brick. Single Thin Brick is designed for quick and easy do-it-yourself installation. Castle Gate is a distinctive blend of reds, grays and blacks, tumbled for an old weathered look. A perfect fuse of colors representing the homesteads on the Old English countryside. The texture and color is an excellent look for any interior or exterior project. Simply apply adhesive to the back of each thin brick and apply to virtually any surface. They are perfect for unique designs, custom spaces and can be used by themselves or in conjunction with Brickwebb or Old Mill BrickPanel+.

It is important to figure out your pattern ahead of time: I knew I wanted a traditional brick lay pattern and a vertical row on the top of the fireplace insert to add some interest to the space.

I found my center and started at the bottom with a grout line at the center.

(I also use a piece of LVP flooring as a spacer on the bottom row because we will be installing LVP flooring and I wanted it to fit seamlessly under the brick.)

I used a mix of thinset mortar and a construction adhesive on the bricks going on the metal insert, when doing research I kept seeing mortar will not stick to metal and a glue was needed. In this case the mortar stuck better and faster than the glue so I think it's up to you if you want to try a glue or just go with mortar.

I ended up just going with mortar and back buttering the bricks (so far its held great)

I knew I wanted thicker grout lines so I used scrap MDF from the mantel and cut them to fit across the row to make sure every brick was level and at the same height as the one across. Symmetry was very important to me on this in order to have it look professional and not "DIY".

This brick was extremely easy to work with and cut on a wet saw, it was my first time using a wet saw and it was actually so much fun.

Grout and Smear

I used a grout piping bag to fill in the grout lines and you just fill it about 3/4 of the way full, twist and squeeze where you want it to go.

I used a bright white sanded grout, you can use mortar but I wanted this to be white and have a german smear look so grout was the best choice.

You want to slightly overfill the lines with the grout and if you are wanting a heavy smear look over fill them even more

You will need a bucket of water and a sponge

When the grout drys to a consistency similar to playdough your child left out for a few hours (not completely dry but almost dry) and with a wet sponge you'll start rubbing the grout away from the lines

You will keep wiping at the grout until you get the grout lines you want and the amount of smear your like

The best thing is you can make it as white washed/smeared or you can just keep cleaning the bricks if you do want the traditional red brick look

I wanted an aged, this has been here and gone through some renovations look so I keep some with more smear and clean some others more.

I will even go in the grout lines with my fingers to give a very hand made feel to it. I also take my fingers to the bricks and "dirty" them up with some of the grout or wipe some off with my fingers to help give different patterns.

The fun part is you can really just make this as clean or old looking as you want! Have fun with it!

You can see I left room around the brick and did not grout the edges, this is because I know how hard it is to shove grout in little areas like that so when the grout is completely dry (like the next day) I took a sanded grout caulk (in the same color as the grout you can find them in the same aisle as you buy the grout) and filled in the edges.

You will apply it like a normal caulk and I use baby wipes to clean up the excess and smooth the line out

So much cleaner than trying to get grout in those hard to reach areas.

To get a more smear look you can also leave "chunky" grout areas on the bricks to make them look more covered but I really likes the look of seeing the bricks but having them be more washed with white then covered.

If you have any questions about this build please leave me a comment or DM on Instagram and I'll be more than happy to answer it!

There is always a project to do so I hope you follow along on my social media accounts where I share my life as a Mom of 3 and all things DIY Home!



*Links may be affiliate links and if you choose to buy a product through my link I will make a small commision, helping to support these projects.

Thank you for being here with me!

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Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Lisa Spencer Lisa Spencer on Jul 25, 2021

    What happens when you need to replace that insert??

  • Sea75895836 Sea75895836 on Dec 27, 2022

    Your fireplace looks great! I'm curious which brand of grout did you use?

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