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How To Give Your Brick Fireplace A Fresh, New Look By Using Concrete Resurfacer

Outdated brick fireplaces are eyesores for many homeowners, and it is often difficult to know exactly how to update an old fireplace to fit in with more contemporary styling. Painting can be successful in some instances, but the underlying brick pattern may still be unsatisfactory to the eye. Fortunately, there is a low-cost, simple option available to the homeowner looking to radically update their fireplace; below is how you can use concrete resurfacer and paint to create a beautiful new look:

What you will need

  • Concrete resurfacer mix
  • Latex paint in your choice of color
  • Concrete primer
  • Concrete sealer
  • Flat masonry trowel
  • Paint brush
  • Flat paint stirring stick
  • Bucket
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Liquid dish washing soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Shop towel or other old towel
  • Small plastic container
  • Grout sponge

Updating your fireplace - step-by-step

1. Thoroughly clean your fireplace brick - remove all items surrounding the fireplace, including those on the mantle, and any attachments such as hooks, pegs or other hardware. Next, use a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dust and debris from the bricks and mortar.

Once you have vacuumed the bricks, you will need to remove soot or other substances that might prevent the resurfacer from adhering. Mix one teaspoon of liquid dish washing soap with a quart of hot water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray the brick with the soapy solution and use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub away soot. After removing the soot, fill the spray bottle with clean hot water and use it to rinse away the soapy residue. Wipe the brick with a towel and allow it to air dry completely before proceeding.

2. Apply concrete primer to the brick - as soon as the brick has dried, you can apply a coat of concrete primer; the purpose of the primer is to increase the adhesion between the resurfacer and brick. Pour a small amount of primer into a plastic container and brush it onto the surface of the brick. Be sure to push the primer into crevices and joints so the brick is thoroughly covered. Once you have coated the brick, allow the primer to dry overnight.

3. Mix and apply resurfacer to the brick - after priming the brick, add about a quart of water into a bucket and begin adding powdered concrete resurfacer. Vigorously stir the resurfacer and water and continue adding water or resurfacer until you create a mix the consistency of peanut butter. Be sure that all lumps are removed and that the water and resurfacer are thoroughly mixed before applying.

After mixing, scoop up a small amount of resurfacer and begin applying it to the face of the brick. Push the resurfacer into the bricks and mortar to ensure a strong bond, then add to this initial layer to build depth up to about ¼-inch. Use the trowel to smooth the resurfacer as much as desired, but if you want a perfectly smooth texture, lightly wipe a damp grout sponge across the surface of the material. Once you are satisfied with the appearance of the fireplace, allow the resurfacer to dry completely.

4. Paint the new fireplace surface - painting is strictly optional if you don't want to add color to the concrete gray, so skip to step 5 if you wish to keep the natural appearance.

If you do choose to paint the new surface, apply a light coat of latex paint in your choice of colors. Allow the coat to dry completely, then add a second and subsequent coats, if necessary.

5. Seal the finished surface - the finished surface should be sealed for durability and for appearance sake. Choose a concrete sealer that is in an appropriate finish type (matte or glossy) and apply it using a brush. Do not add too much sealer, and allow coats to dry between applications.

For more tips on maintaining or updating your fireplace, contact a local fireplace company.