Hi friends! Can you believe that I haven’t posted a single blog post in over two years? I will update you later on where I’ve been and what’s been going on, but for now, I wanted to share a little post on How To Update A Brick Fireplace. If you have been a long time blog reader, you may remember my fireplace makeover from a very long time ago. Well, since we moved into this house a little over 2 years ago, I’ve been dying to get my hands on our brick fireplace with some white paint. We also decided to update the mantel for something a little more minimal and modern and we just love how it turned out! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my IG stories of this process.
I used some of the same methods as my first fireplace makeover, but I changed a few things to the painting process. Of course, we added the mantel this time which we did not do before. If you have been wanting to paint a brick fireplace but are a little nervous or scared to do it, I say go for it!
How To Update A Brick Fireplace
There were 4 different components to this project. Painting the brick, updating the fireplace screen, building a new mantel and staining the mantel. The first step was painting the brick.
Painting a Brick Fireplace
Here is what we used to paint the fireplace:
- White Paint (I used Behr Ultra Pure White in Semi-Gloss because I already had some leftover from another project)
- Zinsser Primer
- Paint Tools and Cleaning Supplies
I started by giving the brick a good cleaning to make sure all of the dust and debris was gone. Then, I brushed on coat of Kilz primer.
After the primer was dry, I went in and started the painting process with the Behr ultra-white paint. I used a brush for the grooves and a roller for the flat surfaces. It took 3 coats of the Behr paint.
And that is it!
DIY Modern Wood Mantel
Next, it was time to build a modern wood mantel. We kept most of the existing mantel and wrapped it in new wood.
Here is what we used:
- Pine Common Boards
- Nail Gun
- Wood Filler
Here is a reminder as to what the mantel looked like before:
First, we removed the trim pieces to expose just the base mantel.
Next we cut the sanded pine boards and used a miter saw at a 45 degree cut so that the corners were clean. Then, we nailed everything directly onto the pre-existing mantel.
We used a lot of wood filler and then sanded it all down again.
Updating a Fireplace Screen
The next portion of this makeover was to update our dirty and outdated fireplace glass screen. The inside of the fireplace was dingy and dirty and the glass screen was equally dingy. We didn’t want to buy a new one so I decided to do what I could with what we already had and I’m so pleased with how it turned out!
Here is what I used:
This is a good look at what it looked like before:
The inside was not pretty
I started by vacuuming out the entire inside of the fireplace and scrubbing it down with some mild cleaner.
Next, I rolled on a coat of High Heat Paint to the inside brick. Sadly, I didn’t snap a photo of this step! After that, it was time to update the fireplace screen. Here is where it got a little scary and complicated. I knew that the best way to update the metal would be to give it a coat of spray paint, but we had to get creative since we obviously didn’t want to get spray paint all over our freshly painted fireplace (or the rest of the house!). I taped everything off with newspaper and painter’s tape. Then, I created a shield with plastic.
Next, I cut a whole in the plastic, stuck my hand in with a can of spray paint and started painting!
It was kind of crazy, but it worked! We didn’t get any over spray anywhere and it made the fireplace screen look SO much better! I decided to keep the wood part of the handles to match the wood mantel but we painted everything else black.
Staining A Fireplace Mantel
The last (and most time consuming) step was to stain the mantel. This was definitely the most frustrating because I’m a newbie at staining, but I learned some good lessons along the way.
Here is what I used:
After doing some testing on scrap wood, I thought I had decided on a perfect stain and just went for it. I stained the entire mantel let it sit for about 5 minutes, and then wiped it off. Sadly, I absolutely hated how it turned out. It was too dark and super splotchy.
Also, the parts where we used wood filler were a totally different color than the rest of the wood.
So, after some research, I learned 2 things. I needed to do a better job a sanding and I needed to use wood conditioner. The wood conditioner prevents splotching in soft woods like pine.
After sanding, and sanding, and some more sanding, I finally got all the old stain off. First, I brushed on a layer of wood conditioner. Then, I went in and used Golden Oak for the stain.
This time, I immediately wiped it off instead of letting it sit for 5 minutes. The lighter stain and wood conditioner created a much better result for the mantel!
The color is way more what we were going for.
I love how the mantel has a rustic feel to it but the rest of the fireplace is clean and modern. The floors in our home are very dark, so the white brick lightens up the whole space and makes a huge difference in our living room!
If you have a fireplace you’ve been wanting to update, just go for it! Even if you make a few mistakes like I did, I’m sure you will be happy you did it.
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