Brick updating would love

Friday, November 10, 2017 by Alesa


5 Update Ideas for your Fireplace:  Brass, Mantel, Hearth and Surround

Partner post to The Best Paint Colours for Rooms with a Brick Fireplace

Is your fireplace outdatedand boring?  Have you been wanting to make a change, but can’t afford a full fireplace makeover?  If so, then get ready to give your fireplace a swift kick in the ash…

Fireplace Update Idea #1     Paint the brass surround

Most brass surrounds have pieces that are removable.  Unfortunately, some surrounds also have a strip of brass that separates the tile surround from the fireplace insert and this is not removable, however once the other pieces are painted it’s barely noticeable.

Source – Dear Molly Anne

This is a 3 step process:

(And all the steps must be followed to a tee (and I am watching…)

Step 1   Sand with fine grit sandpaper.  The new paint needs a roughed-up surface to stick to and if the old surface is shiny the new paint will not adhere properly.  400 grit sandpaper should be used to etch the surface without carving it.

Step 2   Heat Resistant Spray Primer(here).  When spray painting, fine/thin coats are essential to avoid drips and build-up.  

Step 3   Heat Resistant Spray Paint (here).  This Rustoleum product is the best as it’s actually a BBQ paint and works like a hot damn (literally and figuratively!)

*Remember, paint takes 3 weeks to properly cure so be very careful with your painted pieces when reattaching them.

Via My Repurposed Life


Fireplace Update Idea #2     Paint the mantel

A wood mantle is not necessarily a ‘good’ mantle.  If it’s outdated and doesn’t match your decor then it isn’t doing you any favours.  On the otherhand, if it’s white and you’re looking to make a change, painting it a dramatic colour can add some instant impact to your space.  Either way, here’s what you need to do…

Kylie M Interiors E-Design

Just because it’s wood, doesn’t mean it’s good ~ (moi)

Step 1Sand it.  Whether it’s stain or paint, you need to sand it to remove the majority of the sheen.  If you don’t do this, the new finish may not stick as well.  You aren’t ‘sanding it down’ you are ‘scuffing it up’.  Use 150 grit to break it up then 220 grit to smooth it out.

Step 2Prime it.  If you are painting over any raw wood you’d be smart to prime it first.  In most cases it’s best to use oil primer as the water in latex primer can often raise the grain in the wood – creating yet another step in the process.  You can use latex paint over oil primer without any worries.  2 coats of primer should do the trick.

Step 3Paint it.  Regardless of whether you’re painting over wood/stain or existing paint, I still recommend Behr 2 in 1 paint.  3 coats of this product will give you a beautiful finish as it has a moderate amount of self-levelling properties which make for a smooth surface when applied with a 10-13mm nap roller.

Via This Old House(love me some BOB!)

Remember, paint takes 3 weeks to cure properly so be gentle.

While you can apply lacquer/varathane as a finishing coat, I personally haven’t found it necessary as this product has held up very well on many different surfaces in my home.


Fireplace Update Idea #3     Retile with Stoneskin

These tiles were installed OVER the old porcelain tile – no muss no fuss!  We also painted the oak mantel white and spray painted the brass surround.


Here’s a few reasons to consider Stoneskin for your fireplace surround….

1.  It is about 1/3 as thick as a standard tile, meaning that you can put it over existing tile without worrying that it will a) slide off b) create a large lip on the edges.

2.  All of the options are stone/marble/travertine, meaning that it’s an upscale look that adds panache to any backsplash or fireplace surround.

3.  It comes in 12 x 12 sheets meaning that if you pick the right pattern (square, not staggered), you will not even have to rent a tile cutter to install this product around your fireplace.  You can just use a utility knife to get out the shape/size you need.

4.  Some of them don’t even need grout as the tiles are set flush together.  No space =  no grout = 1 less step for the not-so-handy homeowner!

5. And if THAT doesn’t get you excited then maybe the fact that some of them are PEEL AND STICK will do the trick!

Now the Stoneskin Online Store is TERRIBLE and not user-friendly.  If you want to see an awesome selection of this product, check out Menards.  Menards pricing is considerably higher than what they sold it for here in Nanaimo, so do some shopping around to see if you can find better pricing.

While the cost initially is a little shocking ($15 – $20 sq ft locally) when you weigh it against removing your existing tile, repairing the drywall (or installing new drywall) and THEN installing the tile – it really balances out.


Fireplace Update Idea #4     Seal your stone, brick or black slate hearth.

(sealed left – unsealed right)

Whether you have old brick, modern river rock or a 1980’s black slate hearth, these are all products that can change colour/tone when sealed.  Most of these products were not sealed originally because they don’t usually get exposed to water.

To see what your fireplace would look like when sealed, fill a spray bottle with water and cover a section of your fireplace with it.  It’s really pretty cool.  Keep in mind that many of the sealants won’t have the ‘sheen’ that water makes, but will create the ‘depth of colour’.  There are the odd stone/brick products that don’t respond to water or sealing and this is usually because a) they are not natural products or b) they have already been sealed.

If your stone/brick doesn’t change colour, it has likely already been sealed.

(unsealed left vs sealed right)


Fireplace Update Idea #5     Paint your brick/stone

Yes, men around the world just cursed my name.  You may notice that there are many woods, furniture styles, stones and clothing fads that keep coming back in style, however, you don’t see many bricks being resurrected from the record books.

So, don’t be afraid to paint your brick and here’s how you can do it.

Step 1    Clean it.  If your fireplace has soot/build-up on it then you need to clean it.  Here are some in-depth cleaning instructions for brick(TSP works well).  If you don’t have any build-up, be sure to use a wire-brush to remove any loose hunky-chunky’s from your surface and then dust it all off.

Step 2    Prime it.  You need to use water based primer – NOT OIL BASED.  Oil primers will prevent the brick from breathing – as we all know, breathing is essential.  1 good coat of primer will do the trick.

Of course don’t paint the firebox or anywhere that the fire would touch.

Step 3    Paint it.  Using a latex paint (satin finish is appropriate for brick) and a nice thick nappy roller, apply the paint to the brick.  Once you’ve rolled it on, use a brush to fill in the grout areas that did not get hit by the roller.  You’ll save yourself a lot of work doing it this way rather than cutting in ALL of the grout lines first and then rolling.

Via Design Lotus

And with all of these update ideas, it never hurts to get a 2nd opinion if you are unsure of any of the above.  My advice is based on personal ‘hands-on’ experience and I am not a tradesperson nor an employee of a paint/hardware store – I’m just a crazy lil’ Ginger who likes to paint stuff!


Well, that’s it – that’s all I’ve got!  Happy Decorating!

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