How to Reface a Stone Fireplace

Written by jourdan townsend
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How to Reface a Stone Fireplace
That stone fireplace is so '80s...1880s. (Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Resurfacing an old stone fireplace can give it an clean, modern appearance without the cost of a professional remodel. With only a few supplies, a DIYer can turn an old, unappealing, dark stone fireplace into a neutral showpiece in a single weekend.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Medium bowl
  • Mild dish detergent
  • Table salt
  • Water
  • Soft cloths
  • Long-handled, stiff-bristled brush
  • Heavy-duty tarp
  • Fireplace broom and dustpan set
  • Garden hose or pressure washer
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Masonry primer
  • 2 plastic paint pans
  • Large paintbrushes
  • Paint roller
  • Latex interior paint in your colour choice

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    Cleaning the Fireplace

  1. 1

    In a medium bowl, mix 28.4gr. mild dish detergent with 28.4gr. regular table salt. Stir in the water, a little at a time, until the mixture has a paste-like consistency.

  2. 2

    Apply some of the paste onto a soft cloth and rub paste onto fireplace stones in circular motions. Work from one top corner down to the bottom corner, then across to the other side and up to the top. This will take some effort. Once the entire fireplace face is covered evenly, allow the paste to sit for 10 to 20 minutes.

  3. 3

    With a long-handled, stiff-bristled brush, scrub the entire stone fireplace face thoroughly to remove stubborn dirt and stains.

  4. 4

    Dampen a clean, soft cloth and use it to remove the remaining paste from the fireplace stones. Examine the fireplace to make sure all of the dirt is gone. If some remains, reapply the paste and let it work for 10 to 20 minutes again, then scrub and remove it as before.

  5. 5

    Cover your floor with a heavy-duty tarp. Lift and remove the metal grate from your fireplace and set it on the tarp. Sweep out the interior of the fireplace with a fireplace broom and dustpan until no ashes or dirt remains. Carry the fireplace grate outside and use a garden hose or pressure washer to spray it clean. Allow the grate to dry completely before replacing it.

    Painting the Fireplace

  1. 1

    Use a fine-grit sandpaper to sand away any broken or chipped places in your fireplace face. Wipe away excess dust with a clean cloth.

  2. 2

    Ensure that your stone fireplace is, like most stone fireplaces, hard stone and not limestone, sandstone, or river stone, which are porous.

  3. 3

    Pour the masonry primer into a plastic paint pan. Dip a large paintbrush into the primer and apply a thin, even coat over the entire stone surface of the fireplace. Allow the primer to dry for 1 hour.

  4. 4

    Pour your chosen latex paint into a second plastic paint pan. Apply an initial thin, even layer of the paint with a clean paint roller and then paint any bare crevice areas with a clean, large paintbrush. Let dry for 30 minutes.

  5. 5

    Paint on a second layer of latex paint, again keeping the application as smooth and level as possible. Allow the completed fireplace to dry at least overnight before using it.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want to keep the natural stone look but simply lighten or darken the colour, try using a faux stone finishing technique when painting the fireplace face.
  • Do not apply latex interior paint anywhere inside of your fireplace. It is heat and fire-resistant up to 93.3 degrees Celsius, which means it is safe for your stone fireplace face. However, the interior of your fireplace can become much hotter than this.

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