Changing a tired and worn out brick fireplace wall brightens the whole room. Brush down the bricks with a stiff brush and then vacuum. Wash the brick with a cleaner made for masonry to remove soot and grease. Scrub stained spots. Let the bricks completely dry and you're ready to go.
A coat of whitewash will lighten the bricks considerably. Whitewash is diluted paint. Dilute latex paint with water and oil-based paint with paint thinner. Apply the paint and wipe off. Experiment on extra bricks to get the feel of how much paint to apply and how long to let it set before you wipe it off. Sponging a bit more paint gives a rustic look.
Bricks soak up paint. Patience is not only a virtue but a requirement when it comes to painting brick. Put on a primer coat first and let dry. Paint two thin coats and let dry between coats. You may have to jab the paint into the crevices of the brick to get complete coverage.
Thin set is a mortar used for setting tile. Cover the fireplace with a thin coating of thin set. This will hide the bricks. You will see a solid surface of rough mortar rather than individual bricks. Paint over the mortar.
Stone comes in slices that are meant to give the look of stone without the weight and bulk of the entire stone. Cover the fireplace with a coat of thin set. Let dry. Butter the back of each stone with additional thin set and place on the fireplace.
Tile comes in porcelain, ceramic and marble. The tile can look natural in beiges, blacks, browns and whites or be coloured. Some tiles have designs. Others are cut into intricate patterns laid on a sheet of mesh. The mesh holds the tiles together so they don't have to be individually set. Buy all the tile required at one time, in one order. Different batches can vary slightly in colour. Natural stone and marble varies as well even if cut from the same quarry at the same time. Open all the boxes to check the colour variation and arrange so the stones are intermixed.
Change the entire look and shape of your fireplace by refacing with textured Sheetrock and paint. Add a new mantle and no one will ever guess it used to be brick.
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