How to Whitewash a Fireplace

Since purchasing our new home, Jay and I spend a lot of time researching DIY projects on Google and YouTube. I am constantly amazed at how easy it is complete various decorative changes ourselves. One of the first areas I wanted to update was our fireplace. It was a red brick fireplace, but with some sort of acid wash / bleach applied (??). Not my favorite look.

After browsing Pinterest, I decided to paint the brick white. There are two ways to do this. 1 – Roll on white paint using a roller to achieve a uniform look, similar to painting a wall. 2 – Whitewash the brick using a mixture of paint and water that allows the brick texture to show through.

As you can tell by the title of this post, I chose the whitewash route! As an added note, our grout was originally dark gray. I painted the grout white (using the same paint but no water) with a small paintbrush before applying the whitewash. This made a remarkable difference!

Here are the supplies you’ll need to whitewash your fireplace:

  • Paint – We found leftover white paint in the garage, so I used that. It’s just basic flat white paint that I assume was used for the walls or ceiling.
  • Water
  • Small bucket – To mix the paint and water. It helps if it’s small enough to hold in one hand so you can hold it right next to the section you’re working on.
  • Rag – Any old rag or washcloth will work.

Instructions:

  1. Wipe down the fireplace. I didn’t do this but wish I would have! There were small bits and pieces of the brick and dirt that kept getting in my rag and paint mixture. It’s much easier to do a quick wipe down before you start.
  2. Tape any areas you don’t want painted. This meant the pellet stove for us. I ended up draping a garbage bag over the fireplace and taping the edges. The paint splatters easily, so ensure every area is covered.
  3. Mix your paint and water. 50/50 is a good ratio to start. There was enough water to help the paint soak into the brick and leave the texture visible. You can go heavier on paint or water depending on the look you want.
  4. Soak the rag in the mixture and start wiping the fireplace. I found it helpful to begin at the top and work my way down. The mixture is extremely runny, so expect to get messy! 
  5. Adjust your paint to water ratio if needed. If the mixture is soaking in to the brick too much, add more paint. Since brick is porous, a good amount will soak in as it dries.
  6. Once dry, apply a second coat if desired. I ultimately decided on a second coat to help with the contrast between the white fireplace and the gray walls. 

 

Halfway through the first coat

Second Coat

Update: I finished the bottom section and we replaced our mantle. Here’s the final product!

Have you ever used whitewash in your home? If so, do you have any tips to share?


One thought on “How to Whitewash a Fireplace

  1. I never remember to take Before photos. You did that AND during. Well done. It looks great! (And you’re going to love that pellet stove in the winters!)

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