A gorgeous white washed stone fireplace can completely transform the look and feel of a room. The brightened appearance helps create a coastal, airy aesthetic that makes the space feel more open. If your existing stone fireplace has become dingy, dated, or just needs a refresh, whitewashing may be the perfect DIY project for you.
You’ll learn proper preparation, step-by-step application techniques, and even different whitewashed styles you can achieve. Follow along with these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a gorgeous new fireplace showcase.
Things to Consider Before Starting
While the white washing process is relatively straightforward, there are a few things to take into account first:
- The texture and porosity of your specific stone – Smoother surfaces may require more diluted whitewash.
- The surrounding areas that need protection – Cover floors, walls, windows.
- The supplies you’ll need – Paint, brushes, rollers, rags.
It’s also extremely important to test out your whitewash mixture on sample stone strips before applying to the entire fireplace. This will allow you to gauge coverage and texture before committing to the full project.
Preparing for Whitewashing
Proper prep is crucial for a smooth whitewashing process. Here are the key steps:
Cleaning the Fireplace
Start by using a degreasing cleaner and warm water to thoroughly clean the entire stone fireplace. This removes any dirt, soot, or built up residue. Use a stiff bristle brush to scrub crevices. Allow to fully dry before moving onto the next step.
Mixing the Whitewash
The ideal whitewash consistency is achieved by diluting flat white paint with water at about a 1:3 ratio. However, we recommend starting with a 1:2 ratio for more coverage on highly porous stones. Slowly add water until you reach the perfect consistency and texture.
Having all your supplies in place ahead of time will make the process smoother. You’ll want:
- Chip brushes
- Paint rollers and trays
- Rags and paper towels
- Plastic sheets for covering surrounding areas
An optional paint sprayer can also help you easily reach crevices and texture the stone.
Applying the Whitewash
When you’re fully prepped, it’s time to start whitewashing. We recommend working in sections for the most seamless, drip-free application.
Working in Small Sections
To prevent drips, work in approximately 2 foot by 2 foot sections. Fully complete one section before moving onto the next.
Use a chip brush to work the whitewash into the crevices and textures of the stone. Then use a small roller to coat the surface. Follow with a rag to wipe away excess and add mottling effects.
Let sections dry slightly before going back and blotting with rags or paper towels. This creates natural variations in tone and enhances the stone’s depth.
Work top to bottom and keep surrounding areas protected with plastic sheets. Watch for drips along the mortar lines.
For optimal coverage, apply at least 2-3 thin coats of whitewash, allowing each to fully dry before adding another layer. This prevents streaking.
Achieving Different Whitewashed Looks
The techniques used can lead to very unique whitewashed styles. Here are some of the most popular options:
Clean and Bright
Using multiple thin coats of whitewash creates a uniform, brightened look. The stone maintains a fairly consistent tone throughout.
Weathered and Textured
Blotching and mottling by wiping away whitewash gives a mottled, vintage style. Great for a French country or Tuscan aesthetic.
Using an off-white, slightly gray tinted whitewash achieves a beachy feel. Evoke breezy cottages and seaside manors.
Caring for Whitewashed Stone
While quite durable, your whitewashed fireplace will need occasional maintenance. Here are some care tips:
Use only gentle, mild cleaners on the stone. Avoid abrasive scrubs. Spot treat any stains as needed.
Applying a sealer or protective topcoat will help the whitewash hold up longer. Reapply every 1-2 years.
White washing can change the look of your stone fireplace. Refer back to these tips anytime you need a refresher. Before long, you’ll have the coastal inspired showpiece of your dreams.