Brick accents add character and color to the home, but that brownish-red clay can make a room feel very dark and traditional. If your TV or living room has a brick fireplace and you want to make it look brighter and more modern, why not whitewash it? This “cover up” method has been used for ages to give both interiors and exteriors a facelift — without spending a lot of money. Historically done with lime paint, this classic look can still be achieved using modern materials.
Whether you want to complement the white cabinets in your open concept kitchen or are just looking to lighten things up a bit, keep reading to learn how to properly paint a brick fireplace white.
Tools and Supplies:
Wire or Scrub Brush
Trisodium Phosphate (optional for cleaning)
Paintbrush, Roller or Cotton Cloth
Step 1: Clean the fireplace.
Before you dive into your project, you’ll want to make sure your brick is nice and clean. Soapy water may be sufficient to remove all of the dirt and deposits, but if not, you may need to whip up a mixture of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water. TSP is pretty powerful stuff, so be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves, and follow all safety precautions, if going this route.
Using a wire brush, apply your cleaning solution and thoroughly scrub the fireplace. Follow with a rinse of clean water.
Once you’re all done cleaning the brick, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step. You never want to apply primer to wet brick!
Step 2: Apply primer.
Once the area is dry, use painter’s tape to mark off where you’ll be painting. Depending on the set up of your living room, you may also want to use paper or cardboard to protect the mantel, TV cabinets and flooring. Once everything is covered, you’ll then apply one to two coats of your latex primer. Then give the primer enough time to dry before you start painting.
Step 3: Whitewash your brick fireplace.
Using a paintbrush, roller, or cotton cloth, begin to cover the brick with the white paint. Some DIY pros prefer to use a paint sprayer, but this takes a little bit of technique. If this is only your first or second time tackling a DIY paint project, stick with a brush or roller.
Alternative approach: If you prefer a “less white” finish, you can alternatively mix water with your paint so that you can slightly see-through it. This will reveal some of the brick’s natural brownish-red colors, and maintain its distinctive characteristics. It also creates a very interesting look. For those with white cabinets in their living room or open concept kitchen, you might prefer how this breaks things up a bit.
With this approach, you’ll skip the primer and apply the watered down paint directly to the clean, damp brick. Start with equal parts latex paint and water, and then add more paint or water depending on how white you want your brick to look.
Before enjoying your new fireplace, let the paint dry overnight. After that, your bright, white brick fireplace is all yours to enjoy fall and winter nights in a whole new way.
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