Painting the Fireplace

I’ve been talking about redoing our double-sided faux brick fireplace almost since we moved into this house. Someday I’d really like to rip the brick veneer off entirely and maybe tile it, but when it comes to actual construction we have many higher priority projects waiting to happen. So I finally decided to just paint the sucker. I figure that I actually kinda like the look of painted brick, so if we never get around to tiling I’ll at least have something that I don’t hate. And painting is a fairly easy project to do by myself, and I can start and stop it fairly quickly for those times when the baby’s naps are shorter (or longer!) than expected. As a refresher, here’s how the fireplace has been looking, as seen from the front door:

Fireplace before

And here’s the dining room side:

Fireplace before 2

I snapped these shots during the late afternoon, thus the weird sunlight pattern going on…

Anyway, the urge to get rolling on this project came over me somewhat suddenly, so I grabbed the primer and a discarded paintbrush that we had sitting in the garage and slapped on the first coat over the course of maybe three Dakota naps. Then I did a single coat of semigloss latex paint, the same stuff I’ve been using to ever-so-slowly repaint the beige trim and doors all over the house. I think it ended up taking about a half a gallon to completely cover both sides, in a single thick coat. I tend to actually paint coats on too thinly when doing walls, but the brick is so textured that after the primer coat it was easy to see that brush strokes really wouldn’t stand out at all, even with semigloss. So I really loaded up the paintbrush and did my best to get paint into all the nooks and crannies. The paintbrush was kaput by the end of it all:

dead paintbrush

And even with all the smooshing,  there were still quite a lot of dark crevices that really stood out once the whole fireplace was white:

painted fireplace with cracks

See the black spots around some of the bricks? Since these weren’t real bricks stacked on top of each other, there were a bunch of spots that had gaps between the brick veneer and the backsheet thing that they were attached to. So I picked up some paintable caulk and went to town caulking the worst looking cracks. Here’s that same angle after caulking:

caulked fireplace cracksI quickly discovered that the caulk blended really well. It has a slightly different finish, but you basically have to have your nose an inch or so away from the bricks to see it. So there isn’t even any need to paint over the caulk, and I can just caulk over a spot or two at a time as the mood strikes me.

Anyway, here are the finished shots!

Painted fireplace 1

And from the other side of the living room:

painted fireplace 2

and from the dining room:

painted fireplace 3

And even from the kitchen!


painted fireplace 4

It’s amaaaaazing. Especially from the living room, which is on the north (i.e., dark) side of the house. The room is just so much brighter.

Now of course I need to decorate the darn thing. I have the perfect framed photo for the living room side ready to go. For the dining room side I’m thinking some sort of mirror, since there aren’t any mirrors over there and the room is a bit on the small side. I’d like a non-rectangular mirror with a cool frame, but Dave has vetoed any and all “sunburst”-style mirrors, which is cramping my choices a little. 🙂 I think he saw way too many of them in the staged homes we visited while we were house-hunting. He’s otherwise almost always open to my weird decorating inclinations, so I’m okay with him having this one hard veto, no matter how much I like sunburst mirrors. I’m also debating whether we should build a mantle… I like boring straight lines anyway, so we could almost just mount a single chunky piece of lumber without any adornment and call it “modern” and/or “rustic”. That would mean figuring out what’s going on behind the brick veneer though, so we’ll probably just leave a mantel on the wishlist for now.

My final to-do on this would be to install a gas fireplace thingy in there. The gas line is actually already set up, but there just isn’t an insert at the moment. Along with that I’ll probably want to replace the covers on both sides, since the one on the living room side is a bit too ornate for me, and the one on the dining room side is really beat up and kinda ugly in general.

Anyway, since I promised to my family members that there would be Dakota pics in all my posts, here’s Dakota enjoying (ignoring) the new fireplace color:

Baby's view


Posted on October 11, 2013, in home improvement and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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