DIY Tutorial Home Improvement

How to Paint a Dated Rock Fireplace

January 28, 2020

We painted the dated, rock fireplace in our kids’ playroom! Our third home had a great garden level space that we used for the playroom but the giant rock wall made the room feel dark. It is the main feature in the space and I was pretty intimidated to take on this project since it would be hard to hide if it turned out terribly. I am so glad that I overcame my fear of such a permanent change because the fresh coat of paint made all of the difference in this space and it was super simple! This dated fireplace is now a fun focal point for our kids’ playroom. Today I am sharing our step by step process for painting the fireplace in just one day.

Here is a reminder of what it looked like before we painted. The large rocks made the room feel dated and dark. There was even moss growing on them which caused a mess when you rubbed up against it.

How to update your dated fireplace with paint | Building Bluebird #tutorial #paintdiy

There really was no escaping the 70’s vibe in this room.

How to update your dated fireplace with paint | Building Bluebird #tutorial #paintdiy

How to Paint a Rock Fireplace

Materials Needed

Step 1 | Clean the rocks with a wire brush

Make sure you wear protective glasses and a mask while brushing off the loose dirt and moss.

Cleaning the fireplace with a wire brush

Step 2 | Clean the rocks with TSP

I wore gloves and used a sponge to wipe down the wall with TSP and then put a few fans on it to dry. My son, Thomas, is always a big helper with home projects and asked to join in on the fun!

Prepping the fireplace for paint

Step 3 | Paint the wall with Kilz

Next, we painted the wall with KILZ to seal the rocks and provide a base for our wall color. We used a thick roller cover and fat, old paintbrushes to get in the cracks of the rocks.

How to update your dated fireplace with paint | Building Bluebird #tutorial #paintdiy
Thomas is always right by our side with home projects!

On this particular weekend, my parents were in town to celebrate my birthday. I am so lucky to have hard-working parents who are always offering to help with our projects. We spent our entire Sunday working on this wall and we all had so much fun transforming this 1970’s eyesore into a bright fun wall feature.

How to update your dated fireplace with paint | Building Bluebird #tutorial #paintdiy

Step 4 | Paint the wall

Choose the paint color and apply the paint just like you would for a standard wall. We used standard interior wall paint. We carried the same color on the walls (Sherwin Williams Eider White) of the room onto the fireplace. I wanted the lower half of the fireplace to pop so I chose a dark gray paint color.

How to update your dated fireplace with paint | Building Bluebird #tutorial #paintdiy

Fireplace After

That was all it took to completely transform this space! This room is brighter and looks much more modern than the dated rocks on the wall.

How to update your dated fireplace with paint | Building Bluebird #tutorial #paintdiy

If you are considering painting a dated fireplace too, my advice to you is to take that leap of faith! I know it can be a tough decision because painting is so permanent, but if it really will brighten your space, I say go for it.

How to update your dated fireplace with paint | Building Bluebird #tutorial #paintdiy

Want to save this tutorial for reference at a later date? I’ve got you covered! Pin this image below to quickly find reference to this post when you are ready to start your next project.

Step by step tutorial on how to paint your dated, rock fireplace and brighten up the space #fireplaceupdate #diy #painttutorial

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  • Reply Mary R Sweeney May 17, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    I have a smaller hearth than yours and we actively use this wood-burning fireplace. I am concerned about the paint chipping and peeling or even dripping with the heat. Do you have any thoughts or experience to address this concern?

    • Reply lindseymahoney May 17, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      The inside of the fireplace would be a different type of paint that is appropriate for high heat. I have painted a brick fireplace as well and never ran into issues with the paint overheating and melting or chipping. Good luck!

  • Reply Katy May 29, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Love your fireplace! I am getting ready to do ours this weekend..fingers crossed it turns out as good as yours! Did you use a flat paint or a semi-gloss?

    • Reply lindseymahoney May 29, 2020 at 1:41 pm

      Thank you! I believe I used eggshell or satin, the same sheen as the walls. I think flat would make it challenging to wipe smudges and semi-gloss may make it too shiny.

  • Reply Janie Herrera June 22, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    June 21, 2020 1208
    Can I use this method on brick.

    • Reply lindseymahoney June 22, 2020 at 2:27 pm

      Absolutely! I have used the same method on brick in a previous home and it turned out great.

  • Reply Suzanne August 16, 2020 at 12:02 am

    What you did to that stone wall should be a criminal offence.

    • Reply lindseymahoney August 18, 2020 at 10:29 am

      I understand some people don’t like the idea of painting natural stone. I think your home should bring you joy and if painting a fireplace makes you happy, I say go for it!

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