White-Wash a Stone or Brick Fireplace

When Nick and I first moved into our new home, we had quite a list of renovation projects. We took down 9 walls, re-textured the ceilings, replaced the floors, remodeled the kitchen, repainted and installed new lighting fixtures. After we finished the majority of these projects, we realized that we needed a quick face lift on our fireplace. It looked absolutely hideous with our new gray-blue paint and beach wood floors. So we did a little research and came up with an awesome, quick way to make our fireplace a statement piece in our home.

Fireplace Before

This is what our fireplace looked like before we refinished it. The pictures give you a good idea of what we mean by “hideous” with the new color scheme in our house. My husband was convinced that we would need to completely re-tile or hide the horrible stone. But I’d seen some successful transformations with white-washing brick and stone fireplaces. I convinced him to give me a chance to prove that it was just the color that was the problem, not the stone itself.

Fireplace After

Once the fireplace was finished, Nick agreed that the white-wash looked great and added awesome appeal to our family room and entry-way. It took me a few hours to create the look and very little in the way of supplies or cost.

Supplies

This project has a pretty short list of supplies, most of which are pictured to the right. The only other tools you’ll need are a sheet of fine grit sand paper and a roll of blue painters tape. I always tape before I paint because I don’t color well within the lines :-). My husband teases me all the time about my shaky hands and lack of ability to draw anything remotely resembling a straight line. He’s not wrong about that either. But, if you don’t have that problem, then feel free not to tape.

The Chalked paint is for white-washing the stone and High Gloss paint is for repainting the wooden mantle piece. The brush is for the hard-to-reach grooves in between the stones and for the mantle. The lambswool stain applicator, pictured on the far right, is for white-washing the stone. This is the one tool that is totally worth the purchase. It will cut your white-washing time in at least half.

If you’re wondering about the reasons behind the paint choices, there is a method to our madness! The reason I used the Chalked paint is because it is a completely matte finish and it looks very natural on the stone. It’s the perfect base to create a beautiful white-wash. The recommendation for high gloss paint on the mantle is strictly for cleaning purposes. I like how easy it is to clean mantles and windowsills when you use high gloss paint. It’s simple, fingerprints and dirt smudges don’t stick to the high gloss finish. But, if you don’t like the way it looks, you can definitely use semi-gloss instead.

How to White-Wash Your Fireplace

One comment before we continue! You can use this method on either brick or stone fireplaces. The steps will be the same and the white-wash will work just as well on either material.

Tape

Tape the outside edges of your fireplace to protect your wall paint. Also, tape around your mantle to protect the wood if  you do not plan to refinish it. Taking this first step just helps you ensure that you do not have any messy mistakes to clean up later.

Prepare Chalked Paint

Open the paint and stir it until fully combined. Pour the chalked paint into your tray & mix with water to thin. Add water until the paint is the texture of a stain. It should be easy to spread across the stone, but still stick to it. You can use a test area to get the right consistency. If it’s too thin and drippy, just add more Chalked paint. If it’s too thick, then add more water.

Apply the White-Wash

Soak your lambswool stain applicator into the thinned paint and liberally spread the paint all over each of your stones. It only took one full coat for me to get the look I wanted, though I had to go over some stones more than once. I do not recommend using this tool to get into the crevices between the stones. Though, you can use it for the exterior edge of the fireplace.

Once you’ve finished with the stones, it’s time to get into the crevices. Soak your paint brush into the white-wash and liberally apply it to the spaces between the stones. This is the part that will be a little more time consuming. The more paint you can get soaked into your brush, the faster it will go. There is no real art to this, as all you need to worry about is large drips. If you see them, just smooth them out with your fingers or your brush. Otherwise, just do the best you can to cover all of the visible crevices with the white-wash.

Optional: Re-Paint Your Mantle Piece

If you have a mantle piece on your fireplace, now is a good time to repaint it. Once your white-washed stone is completely dry, tape around the mantle to avoid getting high gloss paint on your stone. Use a fine grit sand paper to rough up the sheen on your mantle. This will allow the new paint to stick to the wood.

Open the your high gloss paint and stir it before use. Once the paint is fully combined, use a clean brush to paint the mantle in long, smooth motions. You want to avoid short strokes as it will leave splotchy areas in the paint job. If you dislike the finish, a foam pain roller will help correct any consistencies. Though, I didn’t have much trouble using a brush. It will take two full coats before the paint achieves full coverage.

Enjoy Your New Fireplace!

At this point, you are done with your project and you should end up with something that looks like the transformation pictured below. We hope you find this simple project helpful! If you have any questions, as always, please reach out. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

If you’re interested in more DIY renovation projects, please check out our post on Budget Kitchen Remodels.

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