How to Paint a Dated Rock Fireplace | DIY

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 kid’s playroom, but the giant rock wall made the room feel dark. It was 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.


Fireplace Before Paint

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.

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

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Step 1 | Use a Wire Brush on the Rocks

Make sure you wear protective glasses and a mask while brushing off the loose dirt and moss. I used a wire brush to remove most of the moss and vacuumed up the debris.

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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!

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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 3/4 thick roller cover and fat, old paintbrushes to get in the cracks of the rocks. The primer required two coats before the wall was ready for the interior paint.

How to paint your dated fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy
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.

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Step 4 | Paint the Rock Wall

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

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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.

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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.

Single day DIY to transform the look and feel of a room | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy

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

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16 Comments

  • 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

    Jane
    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!

  • Reply Alyssa September 28, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    This is a tragedy.

    • Reply lindseymahoney September 28, 2020 at 5:04 pm

      Painting a stone fireplace isn’t for everyone, I understand that. I think your home is an expression of you and if painting rock makes you happy, you should do it! 🙂

  • Reply Erin October 24, 2020 at 7:49 am

    I love this! We recently bought a new house that has 2 faux rock walls that I will attempt to paint today. I noticed the window (windowsill) has also been changed from wood to white in your playroom. Did you do that yourself as well? I started to paint an older wood bay window in our home but stopped as it was coming out horrible. Now its hiding under curtains. Do you have any recommendations for that?

    • Reply lindseymahoney October 26, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Hey Erin, yes I painted the window trim as well. I prefer to only paint the trim and not the windows themselves in most cases. I would recommend a primer coat before applying your standard interior paint. A primer like Kilz will prevent the wood grain from seeping through the paint and give you a nice solid paint color once you apply. I hope this helps!

  • Reply Ruth November 22, 2020 at 1:29 am

    My rock fireplace looks like it has a shiny coat on it. Would I just brush down and follow your instructions? Thank you

    • Reply lindseymahoney November 23, 2020 at 8:03 am

      You may not need to brush it down if it already has a clear coating on it. Mine was very rustic and had moss growing on them.

  • Reply Cheryl Hall December 15, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Will this work on more porous lava rock?

    • Reply lindseymahoney December 16, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Cheryl, Yes I believe it would work the same. The primer will be essential to get even coverage of the paint color.

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