There's no need to replace your entire fireplace if an update to the trim can suffice. Perhaps you've changed your décor, or you are just tired of looking at the same structure. A change to the exterior can give your room a brand-new feel---along with a brand-new focal point. Even if you're a construction amateur, you can do most fireplace trim projects yourself.
This is the fastest and easiest way to update your trim. Before you start painting, be sure to scrub the area down with a solution of one part bleach and three parts water to remove any soot, mildew or stains. A wire brush works nicely to remove grime. After you've taped off the area with painter's tape, prime the area with a latex primer. After that is dry, apply a coat of exterior latex paint. Remember to remove the tape before the paint has completely dried.
If you want to cover up old trim completely, consider adding tile trim. Pry off the existing trim and remove any loose paint with a wire brush. Scuff up just the trim area with the wire brush so that the mortar will be better able to stick. You will need to make a temporary ledge that the bottom of tiles can rest on to keep them in place as they dry. If you have a table that is the correct height, you can move that to directly level with the bottom of the tiles, otherwise, you can make a ledge out of wooden beams. One of the most important things to remember when placing tiles is to measure to find the exact middle of your fireplace and start placing tiles there so that you don't go off center.
Build a New Mantle
You can hire a professional to create a new customized mantle, or you can try your hand at building one yourself. If you want to order a customized mantel to install yourself, you'll need to measure the desired width and height of your new mantle. This is not simply the measurement of the fireplace opening, but also the amount of necessary clearance on each side---at least 6 inches. You will also need to know how thick your masonry is that surrounds your fireplace.
- Photo Credit Ancient fireplace image by Sergey Galushko from Fotolia.com
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