Fireplaces are an extremely cozy decorative element. Of course, its main purpose is to keep us warm on cold days, but in many cases we simply add them to give it a more elegant look in our room. However, due to the materials or design, not everyone can build a high quality one on their own. Today we are going to see how to make a brick fireplace from the foundations and we hope that you can achieve the style that you have always wanted.
Image source: Alair Homes Green Bay
The tricks of making a fireplace the center of our room are not a few. We can go the easy way of just painting it, or even more extreme changes. However, we will try to adhere to the options for brick chimneys to make these chimney renovation tips as easy as possible.
Brick fireplace makeover: tips and ideas
May the old world decorate your fireplace
Image source: Acanthus Architecture, PA
European charm can be defined by worn patterns in many of its constructions. The old continent has chosen to preserve its history as best it can, so it is common to find worn brick structures.
We don’t have to wait several centuries to get this style. Nowadays it’s easy to recreate it from a wet mortar.
Use ceramics to highlight the color
Image source: Toledo Geller
A painted brick fireplace can get an interesting contrast when complemented with the right tiles. Combining a white wall with another striking color in the background is a decorator classic.
Brick chimney makeover to use our budget
Image source: Lenox house design
With the right color, you can breathe life into a cheap and old fireplace. If we don’t have a very large budget, using cheap bricks while building our fireplace can be an option, and with a layer of white paint you can hide their quality. This is also ideal for those who enjoy the minimalist style.
The decoration of the living room must match the fireplace
Image source: Ashley Gilbreath interior design
The problem with most fireplaces is that their construction is out of place with almost all the furniture we use. Before planning our fireplace, it is best to check what furniture we have available to combine it.
Try cleaning before renovation
Image source: Design harmony
If we’re not fans of the German style, we have to wait all the time. By that we mean that we shouldn’t let as much dust and ashes accumulate in the chimney.
The falling bricks are also not very aesthetic, although repairing the latter requires a grinding process. If you see fragments, carefully remove these defects with 120 grit sandpaper.
Image source: RiverCity cabinets
For the stains that the bricks can have, we can use a homemade solution based on a mixture of vinegar and warm water. This works very well as a solvent and all we have to do is apply it to the stained surface with the help of a stiff brush. Remember to pour clean water and dry the chimney at the end.
Give your painted fireplace a new face
Image source: Southern Grace Interiors
Regardless of whether our fireplace is painted or in its original state with red brick, we can add color to our construction at any time.
We need to be aware of how to use colors and their different shades. For example, if we want our chimney and its surroundings to look larger in general, we should use light color. Dark colors have the opposite effect and make the rooms appear smaller.
Image source: Airoom Architects-Builders-Remodelers
Before painting, we have to clean our bricks very well and then apply a primer that we will be working on. The paint will not adhere well if the primer does not dry out.
Remember that when using paint, the combustion chamber (ie where the fire is lit) should be treated with special heat paint.
If we don’t want to use paint because it’s a lot of work, some imitation rock slabs can be useful to retouch the chimney.
Add utility with a shelf
Image source: Lenox house design
The top of the chimneys is perfect for adding extra storage space. Our brick fireplace renovation can add an extra shelf to the budget. This is a small constructive change that doesn’t cost a lot of money.
For a complete set, we can use an entire frame that encloses the sides and top of the fireplace. Here, too, the color plays an important role in the desired result. Black gives us sophistication and an elegant look, while white gives us a modern style.
Install additional accessories
Image source: Godwin Foust
One way for a fireplace to gain contrast and notoriety is to install accessories in it. Installing a flat screen TV above may look like a trap, but we can get additional utilities depending on the installation.
If we don’t have lighting in the living room, we can place a lamp, or if the environment looks very small, placing a mirror will greatly expand the feeling of space.
Plants are ideal for a more homely and warm look. Place them in ceramic pots or baskets. If you want a romantic touch, a few candles are ideal.
Steps before the renovation
Image source: Dave Fox Design Build Remodelers
No matter what we do to mend our fireplace, the first step will always be to clean the brick so that our work can continue.
It is normal for chimneys to be filled with so-called soot, which is very fine dust that is generated by smoke. As if that wasn’t enough, the ordinary dirt will try to get between the grout of the bricks so this could be a cleaning challenge.
In general, a thorough cleaning with a little warm water should be sufficient to remove the most superficial layers of soot and dirt.
Image source: Dave Fox Design Build Remodelers
For large-scale cleaning work, we need at least elbow grease, which serves as a solvent. If the soot stain we want to clean is small, we can treat it with a homemade solution of baking soda and water.
For the precautions we must take when cleaning the soot, we must use appropriate protective equipment (gloves and goggles) as we are constantly exposed to irritants.
The cleaner should also not be handled lightly. Since we work on a hard surface, we need a wire brush so as not to manipulate the chemicals directly.
It’s time to fix the structure
Image source: Teakwood Builders, Inc.
Once cleaning is complete, we need to continue renovating the brick fireplace and determine what to fix. For this we will brush the brick very well and see where there are cracks. We are going to fill these spaces with a mortar repair pipe and before the material dries we need to clean up the excess. We have to get a cartridge gun to fill the little holes.
For more extreme repairs where the brick is at greater risk, we need to fill it with professional paste or concrete. In this case, you will most likely need to repaint the stones after the repair.
Is it better to paint or seal?
Image source: Jessica Helgerson interior design
As with the colors, this decision is related to the finish we want to achieve. The sealant is perfect for keeping the chimney in condition for a longer time and giving it a shiny finish.
The painting has its advantages. The only way to apply textures is to use them. Before that, however, we have to apply a primer coat, otherwise we will lose all of our work.
Steps to restore our fireplace
Before we see the steps to paint our fireplace, we need to get the following materials and tools:
– wire brush
– Protective equipment consisting of rubber gloves and safety glasses
– roller and brush
– Old rags for cleaning
– trisodium phosphate (TSP)
– painter’s tape
– brick primer
– solvent or cleaner
– Step 1: We have to clean the surface to which we apply the paint very well, as mentioned before, otherwise it will not adhere properly. The first is to use a brush to remove all large waste such as dust.
– Step 2: If we find no more dust, we apply a little TSP. We have to be very careful when handling this chemical and in the end we have to wash the bricks with water.
– Step 3: Prepare the area to be painted with ribbons so that we do not accidentally paint areas that we do not want.
– Step 4: Apply the primer, preferably oil based, as this will prevent stains in the medium term.
– Step 5: Paint the brick with the dry primer. Make sure it is a special heat-resistant paint. If you want a textured finish, we recommend using the roller. Of course, the areas that we cannot reach with the roller should be painted with a brush.
Adapting our fireplace
Image source: Sarah Finney Interiors
It may seem insignificant, but retouching a fireplace helps us create an important focus in our room. The traditional red brick can be our ally if we take care of it, but you should know that you can change it at any time. With a little work, you can design a fireplace the way you want.
If you liked this in-depth article about renovating brick chimneys, you should check out these too: