How to Paint a Brick Fireplace to Look Like River Rock

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Brick fireplaces can be expensive and messy to refurbish or replace. Monochrome paint finishes can make them fade into the walls, and putting tile over them is a long, difficult process. An easy way to renew a brick fireplace is to use a faux finish. River rock finish is one of the most compatible with brick and takes a few coats of paint. This project can be done in an afternoon. You can even buy river rock paint, which contains plastic beads for texture. These beads will help disguise the texture of the brick and add to the illusion. Use two or three colors of paint for the best effect.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Protective eyewear
  • Face mask
  • 60-grit sandpaper
  • Coarse stone file
  • Three of four colors of river rock paint (browns and greys)
  • Paint key
  • Stir sticks
  • 2-inch paint brush
  • 1-inch paint brush
  • Spread the drop cloth on the floor around your work area. Place all tools and supplies on the drop cloth and put on the protective eyewear and face mask.

  • Roughen any paint on the brick with the sandpaper. The paint does not need to be removed, but the surface must be rough so the paint will stick more easily.

  • Round the bricks' sharp edges and corners with the stone file. Make shallow dips along the edges to make it look more like natural rock.

  • Shake the two paint cans containing the darkest brown and gray. Open them with the paint key and stir the paint to bring the texture beads to the top.

  • Use the 2-inch brush to paint each brick individually. Paint random blocks with brown and paint the rest with gray. Make sure there is no brick showing through the paint. Allow this first coat to dry.

  • Shake, open and stir the remaining cans of paint. Dip the tip of the 1-inch brush into a light gray or brown. Brush the paint along the edges of the bricks to add shading and depth. Brush light browns on the dark grey and vice versa.

  • Allow the second coat to dry. Add more layers of color if desired with the 1-inch brush.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always work in a well-ventilated room when painting.

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