You might recall that we have a RED brick fireplace in our house…it has rubbed me the wrong way since we moved in. Once our new carpet was installed, the red brick became even more noticeable. In the midst of our landscaping project, I got the wild notion that the fireplace was due for a face lift. The rain of last week became the perfect incentive we needed to stay inside and do a bit of painting. (It was also where I got the inspiration for the new blog name, about half way through the project I said to Steve, “you know, we really have a lot of theories about how this stuff should work, but it doesn’t really work like that…” and the new title was born) We read up on a LOT of tutorials and looked at a lot of before/after pictures as we were getting up the nerve to tackle this fairly irreversible project.
To start with, I wiped down the fireplace, mostly to get up any cobwebs/dust that might be on the bricks. Our fireplace is gas, so we didn’t really have to worry about making sure the soot was wiped up…there wasn’t any! We read that oil based primer is the way to go on brick…so even though I hate painting with oil based, we headed to Lowe’s and picked some up. We ended up with KILZ Odorless Primer. As a side note, I was pleasantly surprised with how odorless it really ended up being!
Steve was not happy I decided to take yet another picture before he could dive in…I just wanted you to fully appreciate the red brick in all its glory.
Me posing with the in progress primed fireplace…it’s about this time we both had a small panic attack about what we were doing. My advice if you are tackling a painting of the fireplace, don’t panic halfway through…primer never looks good (even if you are going to paint it white and the primer is white, it’s not the same thing, I promise). We reasoned it was too late to stop and our best course of action was to keep going (we did jump back online and revisit some photos to give us the courage we needed to persevere)
Here it is after the first coat. We ended up going with Valspar “Frosty White” in Semi-Gloss (latex). We were feeling better about the outcome…but I was nervous about painting the bottom. You see, in our plan to install carpet, I neglected to think about the painting impact to the fireplace. The carpet goes right up to the brick, so getting it to look finished without painting our carpet was going to be quite the challenge. Again, I took a deep breath and jumped in. (Ignore the paint swatches over the fireplace…I was playing with some free Valspar paint samples and ruled out the results)
Yep, I basically painted the bottom of the fireplace with my head upside down so I could see any drips before they happened. This took me as long to do as it did to paint the entire rest of the fireplace. I dripped one time on the carpet, but thanks to the quick catch, latex paint, and multi-color carpet, it was quickly disguised.
All done…It has grown on us quite a bit, and we think once we get rid of the ugly blues on top of the fireplace and paint our desired color, it will look a lot better. I also bought some Rust-oleum high heat black spray paint to do the fireplace front and rid our poor fireplace of its bronze exterior. I’m also thinking we may need to paint the back of our built ins to break up the room a bit….the jury is still out on that one.
Now for the lessons learned part of the broadcast…We started with a small roller and a medium sized paintbrush. It became apparent that for the groves of our fireplace, we needed something that could get in the mortar and really paint. I ended up buying some cheap “chip brushes” at Lowes. The short bristles helped control any possible paint splatter and they fit in the cracks perfectly. Since they were so cheap, I tossed them when I was done. The only bad part was their cheapness meant the bristles fell out from time to time…I kept an eye out and rescued the lost bristle before it dried itself in my fireplace. A minor annoyance for the convenience of the chip brush!
What do you think step in the right direction? Horrible mistake and I need to call the mason right away to come install some new red brick? Love the brass? Suggestions on what to do with the bookcases? We need all the help we can get on this one…
Update- We have finished our fireplace! And definitely don’t put latex paint over oil based primer…the brick will feel sticky like it never really dried. :-)