So a lot went in to the decision to whitewash our brick fireplace in the lower level but there was one main issue: the surround was covered with this ugly tile and a fireplace door that wasn’t even attached to the brick. The tile was uneven and, as it turns out, stuck to the bricks with several different types of mortar/adhesive.
With some grunt work and the kindness of others to help, I/we removed all the old tile and scraped off most of the mortar/adhesive before undertaking a can’t-turn-back DIY project – whitewashing brick. It was a pain in the ass getting the vast majority of it off. Hammers, chisels, scrapers, F-bombs, swollen thumbs – but we got it done.
I did my homework – well, scoured the Internet and Pinterest – but after contemplating other options (pallet surround), we decided whitewashing was the way to go.
And as I sit here now, the fireplace brick sits with a fresh coat of whitewash. I actually applied two coats since the first one was soaked up pretty quickly by the brick and mortar.
Here’s my amateur step-by-step instructions on how to whitewash brick.
- Clean brick with water and sponge to remove all debris
- Line floor/wall with paper do paint doesn’t get on it
- Mix latex paint and water (I used a 1:1 paint:water ratio for first coat; and a 1.5:1 paint:water ratio for the second coat) in one of these Handy Paint Pails – trust me, a little goes a long way
- Stir mixture
- Spray brick with water bottle to lessen the absor
ption of whitewash into brick and mortar
- Paint/dab mixture onto your wet brick
- Cover entire area with one coat before reapplying to fit your liking
That’s it. Our surround is only about 60 sq. ft. and it took me about 90 minutes. Who knows what it’ll look like in the morning but I can tell you one thing – it’s going to look 100 times better than that old, uneven tile. Besides, they covered this awesome arch with those ugly doors and uglier tile.
As for the hearth, it was surprisingly made of a nice looking stone. I cleaned the stone as best I could and plan on putting on some sort of rubber edge guard around the edge to protect from any mishaps with the boys.
I also commissioned my brother to make a hollow decorative mantel I plan on hanging above the opening but hanging it might mean yet another DIY article. If we decide to put a TV over the fireplace, I’ll hang it from the brick above the mantel.
The timeline for the completing this project is Thanksgiving. We’ll see.