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Thread: To paint or not to paint?

  1. #1
         
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    To paint or not to paint?

    If this were the outside of a structure I could answer the question in a second, however its inside my house....
    I have a 1970's home with a red/black/brown brick fireplace, plain mantel, brick hearth...I really want to paint it (white) to brighten up the room and make it a bit more comtemporary/modern. I am tired of looking at the red brick, I feel like I should have paneling on my walls. Its by no means historic or anything but I still am not a huge fan of painted brick (yea, yea I know historically much brick was painted just in order to preserve it) but don't think its would be too big of a deal (if I do it right)...I know it will be next to impossible to get the paint off if I ever decide I want it off...
    Anyone here paint a brick fireplace? I have read up on how to paint the brick, what type of paint to use, etc...

    So let me ask the Throbbing Brain should I:
    1) Paint the brick?
    2) Paint it white white (the color of my base boards) or off white/beigy (the color of the walls)?
    3) Paint the mortar???????
    4) Paint the mantel the same color as the brick???

    Thanks for the help!!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Do not paint the brick, once it is done it cannot be undone. your best bet would be to build a frame around it/enclose it then paint the enclosure.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  3. #3
    So long as you're going into with open eyes -- that painting is virtually irreversible -- and you're satisfied that you'll like the change, I'd paint it. That said, unless the mortar and masonry faces are flush, not painting the mortar would be a beyotch, and keeping it from spills/spatters near impossible. My color preference would be to use a contrasting color -- I presume the fireplace is the focal point more or less, so I'd exploit that rather than trying to hide it. As to the mantel, I'd just be careful that it doesn't get too busy with too many colors going on.

    Have fun, enjoy, and remember, there's no turning back after the brush meets the brick.
    Last edited by Gedunker; 21 Feb 2007 at 11:58 AM. Reason: fixed typo
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jaxspra View post
    So let me ask the Throbbing Brain should I:
    1) Paint the brick?
    2) Paint it white white (the color of my base boards) or off white/beigy (the color of the walls)?
    3) Paint the mortar???????
    4) Paint the mantel the same color as the brick???

    Thanks for the help!!
    I think you should go for an interior version of "Buckaroo Revival". Panel it with rough weathered cedar planks running vertically.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    I take it the fireplace is largely decorative? or is it functional as a wood burning or gaslog fp?

    can you post pictures? If its very large i would hesitate to paint it, as it would require a sandblaster to get it back to brick

    but if you really want to paint it, I would go with all one color, whitey white.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    I hate red brick. But, if it were my house I'd probably experiment with painting the room walls a color, like some shade of darker baige, that the red would compliment and maybe not stand out as much. Buy different decor accessories with a bit of that red shade in them, to tie it all together.

  7. #7
         
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    I'll post a pic in a bit, gotta run home for lunch and take one...that might help...
    It is a wood burning fireplace, i use it ALL the time, it is the focal point of the room, the first thing you see when you walk into the room...

    cch - I have painted the walls every color you can imagine (white, off white, dark beige, now a creamy beige and getting ready to go back to a brighter off white color) so that won't work....

    Donk - good idea, just don;t think i could do that myself and I know I couldnt afford to have it done...

    let me get you guys a pic, you may not think it would be such a bad idea to paint it...its not great brick by any means....1970's lookin thing...

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    Have you jthought about placing full length mirrors beside the fireplace? Or perhaps another place in the room where the mirrors will create light bounce and make the room brighter?
    Every one is right, once you paint, you have to live with it as long as you own the house.

  9. #9
         
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    Not trying to show my monsters off again...I forgot I had this pic....



    ughughguguh can someone help...i am an idiot....there are two temp pics posted in the gallery and I can't get them here...they are shots of my son in front of the fireplace.....

  10. #10
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    here:

    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

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    Thanks....

    There is about 4 feet on each side of the fire place, the ceilings in the room are standard, about 8 foot...I think it would really brighten the room up, but as I keep hearing, I know it is almost irreversible once I do it....I guess I just wonder if it really matters though? In a reall yold house I owuld tell someone absolutely not...but 1976??? Not really going for the historic look, and definately not the 70's....

  12. #12
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    It is darker, and not as bad as I expected. I would skip painting it, not so much because you'd have to live with it... more because I assume you plan on selling your house someday, and I think there is a better chance potential buyers may be turned off by the paint than turned off by the brick. Just my opinion. Natural brick fireplaces, even if it isn't the prettiest brick, seem to be a selling point. We can't see the mantel, but I think that if it were spruced up with some garland, framed pictures, etc. it wouldn't look half bad.

  13. #13
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Can't see the mantle you say:



    I say paint it whitey white. The fireplace screams 70s. but maybe that is just my bias.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    What about a medium answer. Can you do that painting where you dab on a bit and wipe most of it off. Thus just lightening it a bit. If I were going to do that I would start there first and not get it on the mortar. I would probably leave the brick if it were me. I am not big on painted brick.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk View post
    Do not paint the brick, once it is done it cannot be undone. your best bet would be to build a frame around it/enclose it then paint the enclosure.
    I like Donk's idea. I've seen peel and stick, paintable beadboard at Lowe's, and there must be similar products in a finish you would like. Try surfing some of the home improvements sites, like HGTV, they've had projects like this.

  16. #16
         
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    I like Donk's idea. I've seen peel and stick, paintable beadboard at Lowe's, and there must be similar products in a finish you would like. Try surfing some of the home improvements sites, like HGTV, they've had projects like this.
    Good call...I bet I could do some type of beadboard myself....

    I'll keep checking here for ideas but also check the home improvement sites....

    Mendelman - I agree, that fireplace is driving me crazy...I have been changing things around that room (the mantel doesnt have all the stuff on it anymore and the gold framed mirror is gone as well) I have a huge piece of art in there and the brick and mantel just date it SO much.....

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jaxspra View post
    the brick and mantel just date it SO much.....
    Yeah, if you don't paint the brick, at least paint the mantel!

  18. #18
    You might wanna check with your building department and make sure using a flammable material will pass code. I'd be a little nervous about it heating up.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  19. #19
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    I take back what I said. That mantel is fugly, and it makes the entire fireplace look bad. If you paint just the mantel white like your baseboards I think it would really help, and I like donk's idea, too. Saw it on Trading Spaces once, when the homeowners were totally against their brick being painted, and it made the whole room look for modern and clean (though it did drive the homeowner to tears, and not the happy kind, but she was a nut).

  20. #20

    Neither

    If it were me, and I don't know how handy you or Mr. Jax is, I'd explore putting cut stone (or faux stone) over it. Split stones are very nice looking if you're into it -it'd be a bit more expensive though, but still make your fireplace "stand out" rather than camouflage it in with your walls. Just my .02

    Do you have any friends that are masons?
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  21. #21
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    I like Donk's idea. I've seen peel and stick, paintable beadboard at Lowe's, and there must be similar products in a finish you would like. Try surfing some of the home improvements sites, like HGTV, they've had projects like this.
    Be really cautious about what you put on or around the chimney, remember there is a fire in there.

    If you are to do my suggestion properly, you need to use steel studs and 5/8 drywall.

    Looking at your chimney, you'd probably need 2 sheets of drywall ($10 /sheet) and 10studs ($3 each), plus steel corner bead ($5), tape and mud ($30). Total cost for materials would be around $100. You can easily cut steel studs with a hack saw or a chop saw.

    Another option is to hit the discount/broken tile section and get some ceramic / terra cotta tiles for the hearth in front of the fire place. This is another not undoable solution.

    You may also want to look at getting a nice piece of dimensaional lumber (oak or maple) and simply refacing the mantle.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  22. #22
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    This site has some cool ideas.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I would vote no paint...

    Instead I would sandblast it and repoint the grout. I donít think that it will brighten it up as much as you like, but I do agree that it is kind of heavy against that back wall. Have you thought about painting the wall different color?

    I would also sandblast the mantel, and just put light coat of polyurethane on it, that alone would help to lighten it.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Can you frame around it so not so much of the brick is exposed? If there was only 2 courses of brick showing, it wouldn't be so harsh. And spruce up the mantle with some crown moulding or trim. I don't think the brick is bad, there is just way to much of it.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    You might wanna check with your building department and make sure using a flammable material will pass code. I'd be a little nervous about it heating up.
    Yes, Gedunker's right. Unless you can find a fireproof paint. If none, Donk's proposal is a good option. Also paints subject to heat do not last long. They will be burnt if subject to extreme heat.
    The color of the mock-up panel if you intend to cover it can be complimentary to your ceiling and floor colors. A lighter shade gives a feeling of spaciousness than darker shade. It can be contrast to your dominant colors of the furniture. Just my suggestion.
    Last edited by Jess; 22 Feb 2007 at 4:41 AM. Reason: spelling

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