have you whitewashed a brick fireplace?

(51 Posts)
ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 17:48:44

got the idea from pinterest here

I am v tempted ,thought I'd check if anyone else has done it successfully or not.

ArtisanLentilWeaver Sat 22-Jun-13 17:52:12

Yes! It wasn't brick though it was 20 times more hideous and made up of small rough granite type bricks.
I painted it with a bog standard silk emulsion -gray- and people asked if we had a new fireplace. And it washes up far better than the manky old stuff. Do it!

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 17:54:49

oh hopeful then , you used full thickness paint then?

playftseforme Sat 22-Jun-13 17:56:29

I haven't painted a brick fireplace myself, but our old house ad a whitewashed brick fireplace and chimney breast, and it looked fab. Lots of people commented on it.

ArtisanLentilWeaver Sat 22-Jun-13 17:59:23

Yes, tried a tiny bit at first then went for it. It still looks freshly done after 18 months.

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 17:59:27

pic of our fireplace on my profile

I have sanded the horrid red stain off the mantle and the walls are now a pale duck egg

wondering if I should paint the mantle

ArtisanLentilWeaver Sat 22-Jun-13 18:02:14

Yes paint the mantle too. That fireplace will look lovely as it is a nice shape.

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 18:03:17

shall I paint it white ?

CarpeVinum Sat 22-Jun-13 18:09:20

I like that. But our brick is too horrible for whitewash.

I have been seduced by the fireplace bricks painted with chalkpaint on Pinterest instead.

As far as I am concerned I can't live with it any longer and even if I have to repaint annually to keep it nice looking...it can't possibly look any worse.

DH has given me the go ahead as soon as I can work out which kind of paint in Italy is the same as emulsion in the UK.

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 18:24:05

CarpeVinum -by chalk paint you mean a type of paint not watered down?
can you link to any of the pins?

MadBusLady Sat 22-Jun-13 18:24:38

Ew, if that's what whitewashing is then yes, paint it. I like painted fireplaces esp when it starts to scuff off a bit but I don't think the "After" pictures in that whitewashing link look much better than before. You can still see it's modern, blocky house bricks.

More like this one or this one?

MadBusLady Sat 22-Jun-13 18:26:23

The second pic is very like yours actually. I think they have dug a bit of the mortaring out to emphasize the rounded, worn shape of the bricks.

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 18:31:30

both your links are same
this one is nice

MadBusLady Sat 22-Jun-13 18:34:03

Oh damn.

This one and this one.

MadBusLady Sat 22-Jun-13 18:39:29

Hm, that grey one reminds me of those awful 1970s concrete bricks a bit too much. In fact that might also be the problem I have with whitewashing.

I think I must have been traumatised by a dated self-catering cottage in Wales or something.

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 18:39:44

hmm think I prefer the whitewashed to the white painted look

Solo Sat 22-Jun-13 18:40:02

Oooh! I have one of those fake brick kit fireplaces. It houses a horrid gas fire that I'd love to replace or get rid of, but I do, in a weird way quite like the fireplace, but hate the colour of the 'bricks'. Do you reckon it could be painted or do I have to pull it out? It's something I've pondered for nearly two decades blush

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 18:40:38

suppose if I hate it I can just paint it

CarpeVinum Sat 22-Jun-13 18:41:25

top two pins on this board, one painted white, one painted white then gone over in soft dark wax

You make the chalk paint with two parts emulsion and one part...chalk, calcium carbonate ? it comes in powder form. Then mix. Then paint. No moremthan three coats in one day. Leave at least couple of hours to dry between each coat.

Or you can use unsanded grout instead of chalk for a slightly grainier finish.

MadBusLady Sat 22-Jun-13 18:41:34

Well, painting isn't going to cost too much and you can still rip it out afterwards if it doesn't work smile

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 18:41:35

solo, do you mean the gas fire? I guess you could paint the brass/metal

Solo Sat 22-Jun-13 18:42:12

Ggirl yours is lovely btw! envy

CarpeVinum Sat 22-Jun-13 18:42:58

Chalk paint has a less "plasticcy" look than normal'paint on it's own. And with wax on top of good coverage you can add "effects".

But I think I'll stick to plain old off white. I am not creative. I fuck up anything fanceypants.

Solo Sat 22-Jun-13 18:43:14

Noooooo...the fake bricks. I hate that they are a very orangey colour. the gas fire has to go!!

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 18:47:17

carpevinum-love the chalk paint one..hmm decisions

think I'll whitewash then if I don't like will get some of that annie sloan stuff

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 18:48:30

solo. I have hated my fireplace for over 20 yrs as well!
go for it, I'll post a pic after I've done the whitewashing

Solo Sat 22-Jun-13 18:53:46

I don't know if mine is too porous ggirl but I'll look forward to seeing yours!
I might go for it...actually, I could pull out a loose brick and paint the back to test it out!

Startail Sat 22-Jun-13 19:00:23

White wash, perhaps. Solid gloss paint looks like Lego.

I have cream bricks, I hate them, but they are really nasty grey things (not painted inside the fire place) so I put up with cream.

CarpeVinum Sat 22-Jun-13 19:03:33


If it makes you feel any better, look at my monstrosity.

Truely The World's Ugliest Fireplace

That's what I'll be attacking with chalkpaint. It just can't possibly look any worse.

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 20:02:31

CarpeVinum-ooooh , I'm sure that could be converted into a rustic pizza oven, tbh anything would improve it

CarpeVinum Sat 22-Jun-13 20:31:04

The actual fire thingie insert is great. It new and pipes hot air to four rooms upstairs and down...but it cost so frigging much to install there was nothing left over to "pretty" up the ...horror of Italian cheapo 70s orange bricks.

It's paint it or nothing, cos I still have the other fireplace to make as functional as this one...which is lots of euros.

Pizza ovens look nice, but are a pain in the arse (allegedly) . Nobody I know who had one put it uses it for more than a spider hut. grin

I only cook frozen pizza. <terrible "quasi Italian ish but not really" mother emoticon>

EleanorFarjeon Sat 22-Jun-13 20:35:57

I really want to do this to our fireplace. Agree OP - whitewash rather than white paint.

Ours is a thwacking great Jacobean inglenook, dh is shock at the idea.

RandomMess Sat 22-Jun-13 20:38:32

Cute Kitty Carpe!

CarpeVinum Sat 22-Jun-13 21:00:28

Isn't she just. That is my little Lilly. I "grew" her from an abandoned nine day old to the little Monkey she is today at nearly a year. I luffs her mucho...hence the sixty zillion pics of her. grin

CarpeVinum Sat 22-Jun-13 21:05:12

dh is shock at the idea

Mine was that way about the (dark) antique wooden cieling in the kitchen. Made the room feel like being in a coffin. Very oppressive.

So I painted it while he was out.

Even he had to conceed that it lifted the room to such a point that being precious about old materials wasn't worth it unless they has no distinct disadvantages in their virgin state.

<hands bucket of whitewash>

<is bad influence>

Ooooh I want to do this. Ours is a seventies sandstone monstrosity.

MadBusLady Sat 22-Jun-13 21:11:37

A Jacobean inglenook?? I'm on Team DH.

Mind you, it's not like ripping it out, you can strip it again including its centuries-old patina <wibble>

LittleFrieda Sat 22-Jun-13 21:17:25

I would render/plaster that fireplace and then paint it. It will look so much nicer.

Liara Sat 22-Jun-13 21:31:59

I've done this on the refractory bricks of a fireplace I was plastering. I used dilute plaster, as that is what I had to hand, and it really toned down the colour very nicely.

I think that limewashing either of those would work just fine. You can use hydrated lime mixed with water. Ideally soak the fireplace first, so that the paint doesn't dry out too quickly, or it might powder. The colour won't show immediately, the lime will react as it dries and go whiter in the process.

The good thing about lime paint is that it is not going to have a problem with heat. It is also very cheap, and can be painted over as many times as you want until you get an effect you like. Every coat just makes it nicer.

If you are going to tint it, make sure the pigments you use are lime compatible.

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 21:32:00

LittleFrieda - would still have to be white or cream I guess. Will see how whitewashing looks first before spending serious money on it.

btw does anyone know how big a job it is to get the tiles on the hearth changed?

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 21:33:40

Liara-you're getting a bit too technical for me
where does one get lime stuff, any links to show how to do it?

Liara Sat 22-Jun-13 21:38:19

You should be able to get lime at a builder's merchant.

How to do it? Mix one part lime with 3 parts water. Paint on. That's it. Mix the paint up regularly as the lime will tend to settle on the bottom and then the last bit might be too thick.

If you want to, you can add a little bit (about a teaspoonful per 5 litres or so) of skimmed, powdered milk, which can help the paint hold better. You probably don't need it on something as porous as a brick fireplace, but it won't hurt if you have some handy.

Liara Sat 22-Jun-13 21:39:34

I can't see the tiles on the hearth on that picture, so hard to say how big a job it might be to change them.

ggirl Sat 22-Jun-13 22:13:21

so is the lime a white colour?

the tiles are dark brown , some at front broken so def need replacing

Solo Sun 23-Jun-13 00:39:08

shock A Jacobean inglenook?!?! I'm on Team DH toooooo!!!

EleanorFarjeon Sun 23-Jun-13 17:46:34

I think I'm going to do a little area inside to see how it looks.

Jacobean or not, it's still very bricky and it's very big and imposing.

CarpeVinum Sun 23-Jun-13 18:11:59

Jacobean or not, it's still very bricky and it's very big and imposing

See this is the argument I have with DH when I paint his coffin like antiques.

Old is no vaccination against fugly and annoying to look at.

And paint often helps in that regard.

Can't you knock it out? Friends of ours had a similar fireplace and installed a wood stove and knocked the brick monstrosity out. Looks a gazillion times better than before.

ggirl Sun 23-Jun-13 19:28:58

have looked into that and apparently the back is too small or something so major bashing about needed
have also just redecorated (I know..arse about tit)

Liara Sun 23-Jun-13 20:28:49

Yes, the lime is white. If you put pigments in you can make it other colours, but they will always be pale.

we had a naff fake brick fireplace that was grey. We painted it white with normal emulsion and it covered really well and looked loads better. it only needed one coat.
We've changed the decor since and took a sledgehammer to it!

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