How to Paint A Stone Fireplace-Techniques For Updating Your Stone Fireplace

We’ve all seen one and secretly gasped.  A huge, looming beast of an outdated, dark stone fireplace sucking the life out of a room.  I shutter just thinking about it!

Old Stone Fireplace

But here’s some good news.  Something can be done to update that tired old monstrosity that doesn’t involve spending thousands of dollars.  Painting your stone fireplace solves the problem without breaking your budget. With a few hours of your time and a few cans of paint, you can turn that ugly outdated stone fireplace into a modern stone fireplace that’s a beautiful focal point for your room.

When pondering what to do with a tired outdated stone fireplace, you might have asked yourself, “Can a stone fireplace be painted?”  The answer is, “Yes!” A painted stone fireplace can change the look and feel of your entire room. Changing the color of your stone can transform a dark depressing space into a light bright area where you look forward to spending time.  Whether you paint over a stone fireplace with a watered down primer or paint with a regular latex or oil-based paint, you can tone down the look of dark, multi-colored stone and create a softer, light, bright more modern look for your complete stone fireplace makeover.  

Stone Fireplace Makeover

Erin’s Art and Gardens

Check out these painting ideas to lighten your stone fireplace:

How To Paint a Stone Fireplace White

Painting a stone fireplace a solid color like white can change the look of your room in just a few hours.  When deciding on a shade of white, consider the look you’re trying to achieve. Think about your wall color and a shade that would complement the room nicely.  There are many shades of white, from creamy beige undertones to yellowish undertones. So be sure to hold up paint samples to see which shade looks best with your wall color.  You don’t want the shade to look too stark. If white doesn’t work for you, you might decide on a light neutral shade of gray or tan.

First, clean your stone by brushing off dust and dirt with a small broom.  You can use a sponge or scrub brush and a bucket of soap and water to remove any grime or soot.  Next, use painter’s tape to tape off the area you’re going to paint to protect the floor and the walls.  Then, lay down a drop cloth on the floor in case the paint drips. After the stones are dry, use a sturdy paint brush to brush one or two coats of an oil based primer all over the stone and mortar.  Then you can choose the water based paint shade of your choice to paint on next for an instant transformation! Check out this beautiful “after” picture from Greige Design.

White Stone Painted Fireplace

Greige Design

How To Whitewash a Stone Fireplace

Can you whitewash a stone fireplace?  Sure, you can. Whitewashing a stone fireplace involves creating a mixture of paint and water and then brushing the mixture over the stone to create a “whitewashed” look.  Whitewashing your fireplace with chalk paint is one option for this technique. Keep reading to learn how to whitewash your stone fireplace.

Supplies for whitewashing a stone fireplace include:

  1. Gray Chalk Paint
  2. White Chalk Paint
  3. A sturdy chip paintbrush with stiff bristles
  4. Water
  5. Medium sized plastic container to mix paint
  6. A dropcloth
  7. Sponge or damp rag and extra rags for clean up
  8. Stone Cleaner (BA link)
  9. Plastic gloves
  10. Paint tape

First, you’ll need to spray your stone with stone cleaner and wipe it off with a damp sponge or rag. You can also use warm soapy water. (If your stone is very dirty, you might want to use a stronger product such as TSP. ) Removing any dust, dirt or soot ensures the surface is  clean before you begin painting. Then lay down a drop cloth to protect your floors. The mixture you’re going to create will be thin and drippy, so you’ll want to make sure the dropcloth is large enough.

Next, create a 50/50 mixture of white paint and water.  You can decide how much paint you want to mix at a time.  Just make sure each time you mix, that there are equal parts paint and water.  Use your brush to apply the paint mixture to each stone as well as the mortar, making sure you get in all the cracks and crevices. Work in one small section at a time. Most stone is porous and will soak up the paint as soon as it’s applied. You can wipe off any excess as you go.  Since the mixture is thin and watery, there are no worries about seeing brush strokes on your stone.

If you choose to paint on another layer, wait for the first  layer to dry completely before applying the next. (For example, you could apply a gray-wash layer using a gray tinted paint and then apply a white tinted layer.)

Painting Stone Fireplace
White washed stone fireplace

Stars & Field

On her blog, Stars + Field, artist Jessica describes how she transformed her outdated stone fireplace using a gray chalk paint.  Her project turned out amazing!

Should I Use Limewash or Whitewash on My Stone Fireplace?

When trying to decide to use the limewash or the whitewash paint technique on your stone fireplace, there are several things to consider. On the positive side, limewash is anti-microbial, natural and eco-friendly.  On the other hand, limewash is more difficult to work with than whitewash, has limited availability and color choices, and needs to be redone about every few years.

However, whitewash is very simple to apply and you can change the color later if you decide you want a different look.  The only downside, as with any painting on stone, it’s difficult to remove if you get tired of the painted look.

Whitewashing with Milk Paint

Who’s ever heard of milk paint? Not me!  Well, apparently this type paint has been around for years.  It’s made of dried milk protein and casein mixed with dye to make colors.  Sold by TheRealMilkPaintCompany, this paint comes in black, white and a variety of colors.  Milk paint can be applied to stone and wiped off as you go. Or you can apply the milk paint and then sand areas of the stone to make it look old and worn.

Gray-wash a Stone Fireplace

On her blog “Life on Virginia Street”, Sarah gray-washed her dark stone fireplace with chalk paint and it turned out fabulous!  She mixed Annie Sloan’s French Linen 50/50 with water to create a thin paint solution that she brushed over all her stone. Read all about the process she used here: https://lifeonvirginiastreet.com/2013/09/gray-washed-fireplace-stone-using-annie-html/

Here’s another example of gray-washed stone in “Erin’s Art and Gardens” blog.  Erin chalk painted her outdated brown stone fireplace and what a difference it made in her room! Check out her project here: http://erin-artandgardens.blogspot.com/2015/05/chalk-painted-1970s-stone-fireplace.html

Stone Fireplace Before
Stone Fireplace After Grey wash

Erin’s Art and Gardens

Brick-Anew Stone

Painting techniques that give stone a solid color look include whitewashing and painting.  But what if you want to lighten your fireplace while keeping the look of real stone? Brick-Anew Stone is a product designed to to just that.  This all inclusive paint kit comes with everything you need to remodel your stone fireplace (or brick) and keep the variegated look of natural stone.  Your can choose from three kit colors – Twilight Taupe, Misty Harbor and Frosted Sunshine. Each kit has its own unique 5-shade latex product combination as well as an instructional video and tool kit that help you transform your ugly outdated stone into a beautiful modern stone fireplace  in just a few hours.

Check out Brick-Anew Stone here:

www.Brick-Anew.com

Old Stone Hearth

After Brick-Anew Paint Stone Fireplace

Brick-Anew After

Stone Fireplace Paint Colors and Paint Products

When you’re trying to decide on a color, check out these light colored shades to paint your stone fireplace:

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint/ French Linen, Pure White, Paris Gray

Vintage Market & Design/Dove

Rustoleum Chalked Paint/ Linen White or Aged Gray

Glidden Semi Gloss/ Swan White

Benjamin Moore/ Cloud White or Simply White

Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint

Romabio Classico Limewash

Giani Brick Transformations Whitewash

Can You Paint Faux Stone?

Even faux stone can be painted!  Check out this faux stone fireplace makeover on the adorable website called Juniper Home.  Jenny Komenda, shares her design work and home products as well as her ideas and projects.  Jenny painted the faux stone fireplace in her bedroom and transformed the dark looming structure into a lighter softer version.  She simply brushed a white primer over the faux stone and the results speak for themselves!

Painting Faux Stone Fireplace
Painting Faux Stone fireplace After

A Complete Stone Fireplace Makeover

After you finish your stone fireplace paint project, you’ll see that the look and feel of your entire room is different.  Lighter, brighter and more open, your new fireplace may beg for a new set of doors or a new mantel to finish off its new look.  When considering how to update your stone fireplace, think fresh, clean, and simple. Whether you purchase new fireplace doors and a new mantel or you decide to refurbish what you have with a little paint, it’s a great time to rethink putting up the same old accessories you’ve had in the past.  The newly painted stone will likely make the mantel and doors stand out even more than before, so it’s important to make sure your fireplace doors and mantel look fresh and new. For example, if you have gold colored brass doors, consider replacing them with solid black for a more updated look. A wood mantel can always be replaced with a rustic beam or covered with a paint color that complements the woodwork in your room.

Staining a Stone Fireplace

If you like the look of darker stone and you aren’t into the current trend of painting everything white, you might be interested in staining your stone fireplace.  If you already have dark stone on your fireplace, chances are staining the stone another color will not work. Staining the stones only works if you have light colored stone that will change color when the darker stain is applied.  You can use concrete stain, available in various shades including browns and grays, to darken light colored stones. If you decide to stain your stone fireplace, be sure to go slowly, applying a single layer at a time and letting it dry for a few days so you can see the color before you paint on another layer, taking care not to get stain on the grout lines.  If the stones aren’t as dark as you’d like, you can paint on another layer until you get the shade you prefer.

Staining Stone fireplace

Photo Credit: Hunker

A Complete Stone Fireplace Makeover

After you finish your stone fireplace paint project, you’ll see that the look and feel of your entire room is different.  Lighter, brighter and more open, your new fireplace may beg for a new set of doors or a new mantel to finish off its new look.  When considering how to update your stone fireplace, think fresh, clean, and simple. Whether you purchase new fireplace doors and a new mantel or you decide to refurbish what you have with a little paint, it’s a great time to rethink putting up the same old accessories you’ve had in the past.  The newly painted stone will likely make the mantel and doors stand out even more than before, so it’s important to make sure your fireplace doors and mantel look fresh and new. For example, if you have gold colored brass doors, consider replacing them with solid black for a more updated look. A wood mantel can always be replaced with a rustic beam or covered with a paint color that complements the woodwork in your room.

Complete Stone Fireplace Makeover

Pearl mantels:  Shanendoah Mantel

Fireplace Doors: https://stollindustries.com/gallery/

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