Asked on Feb 04, 2016

Painting a brick fireplace

Sharon Wood
by Sharon Wood
I want to paint my outdated red brick fireplace, but don't wanted to look just like solid paint. Does anyone have experience in using chalk paint on the brick, or do you have another method to make it look slightly "distressed" instead of just a solid color?
  16 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 05, 2016
    I think to only way to make the fireplace distressed looking is to use the chalk paint. Just my opinion.

  • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Feb 05, 2016
    Could you whitewash it using thinned paint?

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 05, 2016
    Yes for sure. It should be a 50/50 water to latex paint.

  • Heidi Heidi on Feb 05, 2016
    Look at you can get thin wood veneerto cover brick.

  • Sharon Wood Sharon Wood on Feb 05, 2016
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm going to do a bit more online research and then just go for it !

  • Lilbudz3 Lilbudz3 on Feb 06, 2016
    I have a brick fireplace in my home as well. The brick finish is from the early 80's and became 'tired' looking. I like the look of brick but wanted different colors. I watch HGTV alot (ALOT ALOT!!!!) and have seen some redos on their shows. Better Homes and Garden has some pretty good ideas of refinishing fireplaces as well. There are a number of applications you can try. It all depends on what look you want. One would be to cover it with drywall. Another would be to use stone veneer or wood veneer. Of course you can use regular wood to cover it as well. If you want to retain the brick texture and pattern a simple "wash" will work. There a number of recipes you can use. One thing to consider, the brick is porous so it will absorb a lot of the paint. You may need to give it a couple coats of the base color. Otherwise if you want to get rid of the brick look you can apply a couple coats of spackle or drywall compound to cover up the groves and smooth out the bricks. Before you do the actual work I recommend taking a picture of your fireplace and play around with the picture coloring it with different techniques. Use wood grain contact shelf paper to replicate the look of wood. Cut it out the shape of you fireplace and stick it to the picture. Or use plain white contact shelf paper that you can color. Do the same (cut it the shape of you fireplace, stick it to the photo). This will give you an idea of what the finished project will look like before you actually complete the work. Good luck!!!

  • Lynn Nordstrom Banik Lynn Nordstrom Banik on Feb 06, 2016
    We had two fireplaces that each covered an entire wall. After hours of research, I chose "Brick Anew". Both fireplaces turned out beautiful! One could not tell the red brick was painted. Check out You Tube for videos on the process.

  • Robin Robinson Robin Robinson on Feb 06, 2016
    I used leftover ceiling paint, watered it down by a third, and "whitewashed" my fireplace. I just applied the mixture and blotted with a rag, working in small areas (1' X 1') so you can blot excess paint before it dries. It completely changed the look of my 70s fireplace .

    • See 1 previous
    • Patty S Patty S on Feb 06, 2016
      @Sharon Wood I did this very same thing with the outside of my entire house. It is very easy to do.

  • Dtu186937 Dtu186937 on Feb 06, 2016
    I white washed my 1950's brick ranch last year. I used formula of ivory hydrated lyme, table salt, and some portland cement. you paint it on heavier on some area, leave some exposed etc. SOOOOO EASY AND QUICK! I live on a block where all the brick ranchers look about the same, some different color in the brick. I received tons of raised eyebrows and nasty comments as the process was unfolding, however MANY MORE compliments after it was finished. It's also know as acid washing or lyme washing. Good Luck!

  • Diane Judd Diane Judd on Feb 06, 2016
    Yes on's you painted the brick and its dry it'll look like one color but then take some oil stain, ( Furniture stain) Furniture stayin Furniture Stain. Paint it on the bricks. ( not too many at a time) and before it dries wipe it off. this stain will go into the cracks and crevices and give it a distressed look to it. just repeat it until the whole fireplace is done. it Will look great trust me.

    • See 1 previous
    • Linda O'Neal Linda O'Neal on Feb 06, 2016
      @Diane Judd - is there any way you could post a pic of the finished project, please, or at least enough of the brick to see if this is what I want to do? My den is a reclaimed carport. When the previous owner closed it in, he used a yellow based brick for the fireplace. I have two other previously exterior brick walls that are dark red. This difference is driving me NUTS! Your method sounds like it might just be what we need. Thanks in advance for help you can offer. :)

  • Pat Pat on Feb 06, 2016
    I did it the easy way. The grout was gray, and the brick was red, and I was painting the living room walls white, anyway. So, I took my flat white paint roller, and rolled it over the red brick. Because the grouting was rather indented into the bricks, the roller didn't affect the grouting. I ran the roller over the bricks one more time, after the first coat had dried, and I had a lovely white brick fireplace. Easy, huh?

  • Cece Cece on Feb 06, 2016
    I used a lime wash in "concrete" color, a blueish grey. The variations of the brick comes through. The only problem is a water spot will lift off the paint. I think a sealer would help that problem. I love it.

  • Debi53 Debi53 on Feb 06, 2016
    All the ideas given are great ones. On my fireplace, I used a solid masonry stain. This allows the texture to still be there, but will completely cover the color. Stain penetrates the brick while paint sits on top. Paint will sometimes start to flake off, but the stain will not. If you are going from dark to light, you may have to do a few coats since the brick absorbs the first stain, but you just roll on the stain with a thick roller meant for masonry and you might have to use a thick brush to get some areas between the bricks. Solid stain will not make it look like you just put a coat of paint on. There is also a semi-transparent stain that will soften the brick color, but not completely cover it.

  • Shelley Shelley on Feb 07, 2016
    I did an entire house front this way so a small fireplace is not problem. Ask the paint store for tint and use sponges to make it have that mottled old brick lool. Stain will work as well. You can control look and avoid peeing paint.

  • Rebecca Bender Rebecca Bender on Feb 08, 2016
    I just saw this on Fixer Uppers-They did this German Skim? not sure what it is called, on the outside of a house to give it a new look. Here I googled-

  • Sharon Wood Sharon Wood on Feb 10, 2016
    I took the plunge and painted my outdated red brick fireplace with Home Depot's Behr paint & primer in "pencil point", a very dark charcoal grey. Used 50/50 paint & water mix - easy to apply ( watch for splattering as the mix is very thin). Used three coats, but each coat dried within an hour, so done in one day. I'm very happy with the result - the fireplace went from an eye sore to a focal point! Now I just have to decide what color to do the mantle - black or dk brown. I had already painted the brass trim on the doors and trim in black heat resistance paint, so it looks totally updated. Thanks for all the suggestions and tips