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How To Whitewash A Brick Fireplace

Do you love your brick fireplace, but hate the boring red or brown brick? This DIY painting project turned out so much better than we could have imagined. Read all of our tips and tricks for whitewashing a brick fireplace.

plant on mantel with whitewashed fireplace behind it.

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The “Before” Fireplace

When our friends bought this house they knew that the fireplace just wasn’t their style. It was an amazing feature, but they wanted to brighten up the room a little. We did just that for the price of paint and some painter’s tape.

brown and red brick fireplace in living room.

Is whitewashing brick easy?

Yes, whitewashing brick is an easy DIY. My friend who has very limited painting experience said that she felt like she couldn’t mess it up.

The biggest con to this brick painting method is that it can be messy. There is more natural paint spray from off your brush, due to working with diluted paint.

women standing on ladder whitewashing a brick fireplace.

Recommended Materials and Supplies

  • Small Wire Brush
  • Cleaning Rag
  • Cups or Large Paint Cups With Measurements
  • Dawn Dish Soap and Water or TSP
  • Old Paint Brushes
  • Old Cut Up T-Shirts-cotton t-shirts are the perfect material to use to wipe the paint mixture for the whitewash look.
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Drop Cloths
  • Optional: Other plastic coverings or paper
  • Sherwin Williams Loxon Masonry Paint (we used the base white)
loxon paint, cups, painter's tape in garage.

Why Did We Choose A Masonry Paint

After a lot of research, we were not sure that just diluted latex wall paint was our best bet. When I visited a paint store, they did not want to guarantee that their regular latex paint would not chip off the brick or withstand the heat.

I visited another paint store they suggested Loxon paint because:

  • The masonry paint we chose has a primer built-in and is meant to stick to brick
  • Could withstand some heat (but not a direct flame)
  • Was still low VOC (as my friend was pregnant at the time)

Before You Begin

Just like with many painting projects, prep is the most important part. For this project that meant:

  • Making sure the brick is clean and as soot and dust-free as possible
  • Completely taping and covering anything that we did not want to get paint splatter on such as a mantel, surrounding shelves and walls

Test Different Dilutions

Before we began, we tested to see if we liked the 1:1 ratio of paint and water. We also applied the paint thicker and thinner in some areas to make sure we like the look.

upclose of whitewashed brick on fireplace.

How To Prep Your Room

Step 1: Tape Areas Not Getting Whitewashed

Use painter’s tape on all edges including where the fireplace touches the carpet. For this particular room that meant taping along the ceiling, wood beam, wall edges, and under the brick where it touches the carpet.

man adding painter's tape along ceiling around brick fireplace.

Step 2: Cover Mantel and Carpet

You can use drop cloths, paper or plastic drop cloths with painter’s tape to make sure that your surrounding areas are completely protected. Trust us, this matters more for this painting project than others.

man standing on cabinets by brick fireplace adding painter's tape and paper.

You also could tape and cover your fireplace mantel, fireplace cover or remove them if possible.

Step 3: Clean With A Wire Brush

Fireplaces can accumulate a lot of dirt and grim on them. Use a small wire brush to help knock loose dirt off.

No need to worry about getting every little spec of dirt. Since you are getting a variety of colors with whitewashing you probably won’t notice a little soot mixed in.

hand using small wire brush to clean brick fireplace.

Step 4: Wipe Down The Brick

You can use TSP clean on a rag or use Dawn dish soap and water. Let the brick fully dry before painting.

hand using rag to wipe down red and brown brick.

Whitewashing Tutorial

Once your fireplace is clean and areas taped you are ready to start whitewashing.

Step 1: Mix Paint With Water

We tested a 1:1 mixture and liked that we were able to see some of the brick showing through. You can use this type of cup with measurements on it or mark a solo cup where half would be.

pouring white masonry paint into small blue cup.

Add water to the paint.

Step 2: Mix Paint and Water Thoroughly

Keep mixing the paint as you work to get a consistent look.

diluted white paint being mixed in large paint cup.

Step 3: Use A Brush To Apply The Mixture

hand holding paint brush and putting white paint on brick fireplace.

This will be messy.

You can see it may drip as you are working especially to get the mortar or grout covered.

hand pulling back painter's tape on whitewashed brick.

Work in small sections

I would paint for about 4-5 minutes and then start wiping after that.

Pro Tip: Have one person paint while the other person wipes and checks for drips. This will make your whitewashing process go faster since you don’t have to keep switching materials.

brick fireplace being whitewashed white.

Working top to bottom is best

Start in a place that you don’t see all the time. For example, we started on the top side to get the feel for how thick we wanted the paint.

Step 4: Use T-Shirt Rags To Wipe

Depending on how fast you paint, you want to wipe the paint before it really dries. This is actually an optional step. Though we did find that wiping it definitely helped get that whitewash look.

hand using old t-shirt to wipe white paint on bricks.

Step 5: Continue To Work In Sections

Make sure you are able to reach the areas you need before painting. This fireplace was very large and therefore we had to be strategic about how to move the ladder or what to paint when.

partial white washed brick fireplace.

Even though working top to bottom is probably best we painted under the mantel first since that is more of the focal point of the room. The mantel also stopped any drips from continuing down the wall.

half of brick fireplace whitewashed.

Step 6: Let Dry & Clean-Up

Before fully cleaning up and removing all painter’s tape, make sure you are happy with how the whitewash has dried. You can always go back and add a little extra white to some spaces if needed.

whitewashed brickfireplace in progress in living room.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Whitewashed Fireplace

Add your own decorations and touches to this new focal point in your room.

wood fireplace mantel with whitewashed brick.

We are completely jealous of their Frame TV with a beige frame. The newly painted fireplace was the perfect place.

What if you want a solid color?

You have to check out this brick fireplace painted white. Another amazing DIY fireplace makeover.

Expert Tips

  • No need to buy new paintbrushes for this DIY. Whitewashing brick is the perfect time to use your old paintbrushes. You are going to ruin them on the texture of the brick and having new brushes will not get a better outcome.
  • The paint and water will start to separate in your cup as you are working. Make sure to mix the cup occasionally.
  • We liked the variation of saturation of color.
  • The paint mixture will soak into the brick and change its appearance a little as it dries. Make sure to step back and see if you like how it drying as you work.
  • You can always add more paint in some areas or use fine sandpaper if needed.

How-To FAQs

Could you use this paint for a solid color and not a whitewash?

Yes, the Sherwin Williams Loxon paint is actually meant to paint the brick a solid color. This would be a perfect paint to try if you are going for a more solid look.

How accurate do your paint and water measurements need to be?

At first, we thought we needed to be completely accurate. However, because the paint settles in the cup as you are working you can just eyeball it.
If you want an accurate 1:1 ratio you can either use a cup like this or mark where 3/4 cup water is in the solo cup and then mark again where the 1 1/2 cup line is.blue solo cup with black line in it.

What if I want my grout to look more white?

The homeowners of this fireplace actually liked the darker-looking mortar and wanted it to show through. If you want yours to be lighter, we recommend painting the grout first with less diluted paint and then whitewashing the brick after.

How long should you wait before wiping?

We can paint pretty fast so I painted a few rows in 5 minutes and would wipe. We also had one of us paint while the other wiped the brick. As long as the paint isn’t fully soaked in or dry you should be able to wipe it for the look you are going for.

Depending on your mixture and the look you want, you also may really not have to wipe too much. Just test it out first to see your method.

How much did this DIY cost?

At our local Sherwin Williams store, we were able to purchase this paint at 40% off. We also purchased two medium-quality brushes with the paint all for a total of $50.83. My friends already had painter’s tape, wire brush, paper and drop cloths to use.

How much paint did you use?

We used around 1/3 of a gallon of paint to makeover this brick fireplace. We had around 2/3 gallon of Loxon paint left over. Because you are diluting the paint, you don’t use as much as you would think.

Final white washed large brick fireplace with wood beam and shelves.

Pin This DIY To Pinterest

Our friends are so ecstatic with their fireplace makeover that it may prompt us to try to makeover our stone fireplace soon.

Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

Final white washed large brick fireplace with wood beam and shelves.

How To Whitewash A Brick Fireplace

Learn how you can paint a whitewash on brick to makeover your fireplace this weekend.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Keyword: diy fireplace makeover, how to whitewash a brick fireplace, whitewash brick
Prep Time: 2 hours
Active Time: 4 hours
Dry Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 6 hours
Author: Erin
Cost: under $60

Equipment

  • Cleaning Rag
  • Dawn Dish Soap and Water or TSP
  • Old Paint Brushes
  • Old Cut Up T-Shirts-cotton t-shirts are the perfect material to use to wipe the paint mixture for the whitewash look.
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Drop Cloths
  • Optional: Other plastic coverings or paper

Recommended Supplies

  • Sherwin Williams Loxon Masonry Paint we used the base white
  • Water

Instructions

Prep Area and Brick

  • Use painter's tape and drop cloths or paper to cover areas not geting painted. Consider taping along the ceiling, wood beams, wall edges, and under the brick where it touches the carpet.
  • Clean the brick with a small wire brush. Use a shop vac to clean the mess.
  • Wipe down the brick with dish soap and water or TSP.
  • Let fully dry.

Whitewashing Brick

  • Mix 1:1 ratio of white paint and water in cup.
  • Use a paint brush to apply mixture. Paint an small area before wiping.
  • Wipe painted brick with old rags or cut up cotton t-shirts for your desired look.
  • Continue painting and wiping sections.
  • Let paint fully dry and touch-up areas that may need more whitewash paint.
  • Take tape off and decorate your newly whitewashed fireplace.

Notes

  • No need to buy new paintbrushes for this DIY. Whitewashing brick is the perfect time to use your old paintbrushes. You are going to ruin them on the texture of the brick and having new brushes will not get a better outcome.
  • The paint and water will start to separate in your cup as you are working. Make sure to mix the cup occasionally.
  • We liked the variation of saturation of color.
  • The paint mixture will soak into the brick and change its appearance a little as it dries. Make sure to step back and see if you like how it drying as you work.
  • You can always add more paint in some areas or use fine sandpaper if needed.
  • If you are working with someone, it went faster if one paints while the other wipes. some areas might not even really need to be wiped.
Tried this Tutorial? Tag me Today!Mention @theDIYNuts or tag #thediynuts!
Tutorial Rating




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Stephanie Bender

Tuesday 11th of October 2022

Love this fireplace !! Looks amazing.

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