The Big Dark Elephant in the Room

Our current rental home has a wood burning double fireplace in the living room and office. We’ve been unable to use it the 2 years we lived there because of our rental agreement, so I tried to make them pretty and in the living room our TV is on a stand on the hearth. You do what you’ve got to do with limited space options.

When we started house hunting a fireplace was on my wish list, but wasn’t a deal breaker, considering our goal is profit margin.

When we toured Flatwoods I immediately loved the focal point fireplace, but knew it’d get a near immediate makeover!

Here’s the Before and After!  

Things to fix:

  • Holes from TV mount/random nails and screws
  • Dings and holes in mantle
  • Paint the mantle and Brick

Tools/items for the job:

  • Power sander  (Sandpaper will do)
  • Concrete Patching Compound- I used a small bucket of premixed Quikrete
  • Putty Knife
  • Wood Putty
  • Damp Sponge
  • Paintable Finishing Caulk
  • Large Napp Roller for painting brick – Fluffiest I could find
  • Cheap paint brushes for working paint into the grout
  • Medium art brushes for the tiny spaces
  • Paint Shield- For painting next to the carpet
  • Painters Tape
  • Dropcloth
  • Vacuum
  • A good Primer – I love Kilz 2
  • Paint of Choice – I went with using some of the 5gal of the cheapest Semi-Gloss White Lowe’s had to offer, that we purchased for painting all the trim in the house.

Here’s where we started:

  1. Vacuum and Clean the fireplace if needed- I knocked off cobwebs with a broom and ran the vacuum hose over it once. I’d previously cleaned out the inside box and given it a coat of black high heat spray paint
  2. Patch all holes following the directions on the patching compound and caulk.
    1. I patched the mantel with Elmers Wood Filler Putty and a damp sponge. There were a ton of tiny pinholes from pushpins. It was easiest to use a kitchen sponge, scoop some Wood Filler out with the sponge and rub it over the holes. It filled, smoothed and cleaned all at once. (No Pics of this, sorry)
    2.  Patch the brick and grout
      1. I tried to mimic the shape of the brick as best I could and texture it by patting my putty knife against it once the holes were filled. Be sure to keep the grout lines clear.

         2. The trim on each side of the fireplace where the brick meets the wall was poorly caulked previously leaving what looked like big dripping goop down the sides. I pulled what I could off with my fingers (it was that poorly done) and re-caulked down the sites filling in the grout holes as I went, then smoothed it all down with a wet finger. I also filled any smaller holes in the brick from nails..etc with caulk rather than the concrete, it was easier to just shoot some in there.

This thing was a beast to paint and soaked up SO MUCH PAINT. I thought I could slap a coat or 2 of semi-gloss white paint on it and call it pretty…nope.

Tips for painting:

  • Use painters tape to mask off your walls
  • Tape a drop cloth to the carpet around the hearth

If you’ll do the above painting will move much faster!

What I did:

  1. 1 full coat of Semi-Gloss white
  2. 2 full coats KILZ 2 primer (YOU SHOULD START HERE)
  3. 1 coat Semi- Gloss White

1 coat on the whole thing, grout lines included and the hubs was saying “Are you sure we shouldn’t prime it?”….Me “Nah, it’s good.”

During the first coat.
After 1 coat of Semi Gloss on the upper and 1 coat of Kilz on the hearth. What a difference in the coverage!

Me after a whole coat “We should prime the whole thing.”

After 2 Coats of KILZ 2.

  The Primer made a HUGE difference. (Most of you are going DUGH!)

Rolled on a final finishing coat of Semi- Gloss white and I can officially call it PRETTY!

We switched to Sherwin Williams high gloss Ovation Paint and Primer in one in Extra White for the final coat. 

 Don’t do what I did.

Prime it first!


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