DIY Fireplace Makeover
From Builder Grade to Custom
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When we walked through this house, before we bought it, I instantly said to Tom - we are NOT keeping this fireplace. Don’t get me wrong there was nothing wrong with it, but it was not my style. I’ve had a vision for this fireplace since that day. It took some convincing to get Tom on board, especially because this is a brand new build and his logic was “why fix something that’s brand new and not broken?” I get it, but he trusted me and the night he finished painting the brick he texted me and said “This looks awesome, I really like it.”
What you will need:
Brick Veneer (buy it HERE)
Tile Setting Mat (buy it HERE)
Premixed Grout (buy it HERE)
Paint (We used White Dove-BM matched at Home Depot)
NOTE: To widen the fireplace, fill the details & add the step we used 2x4’s and 3/4'“ plywood - this step will be different for you depending on what your fireplace looks like and how you’d like to change it. The point is, this step doesn’t have to be pretty as long as the fireplace is flat and leveled throughout - it’s going to get covered.
Original fireplace came with the “speck home.” It was too tall and “thin” for my liking. It measured approx. 47 inches wide & 66 inches tall (including the mantle). As you can see our TV was way up high and touching the mantle…this made me cringe.
My vision: Widen the fireplace, shorten it slightly (so the TV isn’t up so high), add a step, make it our style (modern-farmhouse) AKA classic with clean lines.
Building the Step
First we figured out how tall we wanted the step and subtracted the brick and plywood thickness. We secured a 2x4 at that height along the existing fireplace, then measured from the floor to the top of that 2x4 for block height for the front of the step, use the same method to get a block for your step depth. Then, we placed the blocks evenly spaced out with a 2x4 on the top and bottom of blocks. Securing everything with 3” screws (nails will work too). We finished the step with plywood. NOTE: We did not remove our carpet, if you have hardwood you can leave it - just know to caulk the bottom of it once project is complete.
Installing Brick Veneer
We used this new product (to us) to secure the tile veneer, later to regret it. It worked fine but it was a pain in the you know what. I think this product is PERFECT for tile, but brick tends to be more messy, textured and uneven. If we were to do this again we would use mortar. Like I said, it worked and it will hold and it’s very secure but during the process the tiles that we had to cut didn't stick as well because of the dust & texture. It is SUPER easy and quick to use - it’s basically like double sided tape and it’s VERY sticky!
After MUCH research, we went with the Colonial Collection brick veneer - it’s actual brick material but just very thin! They do have corner pieces too, but we were too cheap for that and cut our own (kind of a pain but if you want to save $, it’s the way to go).
We placed the brick veneer just like you would any tile. HERE is a great tutorial on how to!
Like I said before we did not use Mortar…We chose THIS product because it was quicker, easier and less messy. BUT we would not use it again for brick.
Grouting was kind of hilarious, soothing and messy of course. If you’ve every grouted, you’ll now. We tried to apply and smooth the grout with a grout float BUT it was filling in all the texturized spots of the brick - the character was being covered, which we did not want - so we used plastic BUTTER KNIVES - YES HAHA.
Painting the Brick
From the start I wanted to paint the fireplace white but when I saw it just grouted I LOVED IT - But Tom reminded me I would probably like it white better and that we didn’t grout “well enough” to leave it exposed. So we went with my all time favorite white - WHITE DOVE by Benjamin Moore, but we had it color matched and used Behr Pain in a satin finish. It only needed 2 coats.
Prepping for the mantle
One of my awesome co-workers cut down a walnut tree and made a mantle for us, HOW COOL? Tom cut it down and hollowed it out a bit because it was way too heavy to start. We used 5/8” threaded rod screwed into studs to hold the heavy as heck mantle and then screwed it into the top of that 2x4 that you see centered.
I am SO in love with the new fireplace. It changes the entire look of the room. To me, it feels more cozy and inviting. My favorite part is the mantle. This sure was a labor of love, and I can’t praise my hubby enough - he did 90% of the work! Behind that sign is the tv mount and all of the wires, cable box and internet router. Next up, Tom is going to build some doors to hide the TV.
You can buy the sign above our fireplace HERE.
I hope you found some inspiration here and if you try this project out make sure to tag me on Instagram @Balkanina.