Brick Fireplace Renovation and Painting.

Discussion in 'Home Improvement, DIY and Repair' started by Daniel W, Sep 15, 2023.

  1. Daniel W

    Daniel W Hardy Maple

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    I've made the decision to get rid of the wood-burning stove fireplace insert. My wild guess is, the stove might be thirty years old. The house is fifty. The stove is not EPA-approved.

    There are things I liked about burning wood for heat -

    *It let me make use of logs from fallen and pruned trees.
    *I got to use up wood from trees that I had removed for wildfire risk reduction.
    *I put the ashes to work in the garden.
    *Not much energy is used, to create heat.

    There are reasons I'm stopping -

    *The smoke enters the room whenever we open the stove to add firewood.
    *It's too much work for this tired, achy old guy to cut, haul, stack, haul etc all that firewood.
    *Our insurer charges us more, stating the woodstove is a fire hazard.
    *I do feel concerned about fire hazards.
    *The blower on the stove insert is really, really loud! Not peaceful at all!
    *There is nobody in this house who likes cleaning. The stove tends to increase dust & dirt.
    *I think the woodsmoke affects my breathing.
    *Bringing in firewood adds more dust and dirt.
    *My area is semi-rural, but with all of the woodstoves burning, the winter sometimes feels like Dickensian London. OK, I'm exaggerating, but it does get too smoky.

    So, I found a store that had a nice, modern electric fireplace heater insert. It has a fake fire that wont fool anyone, and the heat is probably less than the woodstove, but there is also electric heat in the room.

    IMG_4999.jpeg

    Here's what the current fireplace looks like.

    IMG_4231.jpeg

    I'm certainly no HGTV guy, but my eyes would be happier with white - painted brick. I think it would make the room much brighter. Places seem darker than they used to (me aging), so I want to paint the brickwork white. I might want to put a new surface on the wood bin cover (where the watering can is) and on the hearth. I was thinking of topping it with bead board, also painted white.

    Like this. I would frame it with some simple molding, not too expensive. I don't want to do too much carpentry work.

    IMG_4998.jpeg

    I'll probably also install a baseboard, using liquid nails.

    Initially I thought about doing a grouted pebble mosaic on the hearth, but that seems like too much work, maybe, too expensive, and too heavy. Plus, I want the whole fireplace to kind of recede into the background and not say "here I am! look at me."

    The main thing the room is used for, is sewing.

    Any thoughts here about painting bricks? Semigloss? Eggshell? I assume the bricks need cleaning with some special grime and suet removing nasty chemical something, then a Kilz-All or similar primer. There was a brick house in my neighborhood that the owners painted and did a "HGTV Makeover". It looked modern and trendy, then the paint started chipping off of the bricks. I don't want that to happen.

    The room walls also need painting. I don't know what's best for aging eyes. Maybe a very very very light blue or grey.

    The new fireplace insert may be here at the end of the month. So there is time to think about it.

    I don't know how the wiring will work out. I'll have to figure that part when it arrives or hire an electrician ($$$ "ouch" LOL).
     
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  3. S-H

    S-H Hardy Maple

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    This is all completely alien to me. As we don't have any concept of a fireplace in homes over here, (in southern Pakistan) - Simply because for most of the year we are already roasting in a merciless heatwave, after which there is always another heatwave!

    :rofl:

    But I was planning on building a fire pit outside. Mostly for barbequing fish that I'd catch from the sea.

    Anyway starting from central Pakistan (from there the deserts ends and greenery starts) all the way upwards to the Himalayas - All homes do have a fireplace. However since over 60+ years now, (in the urban areas), nobody burns wood anymore for heating. They all use gas heaters. Because electricity bill from a heater today has the potential to make anyone go bankrupt...

    IMG_20230915_075555.jpg

    As for the paint, I think a simple uniform slightly bluish steel gray color will be best - No matter what time of the day. Of course, a lot depends on how many windows are in a room, (and the color of the furniture too). As that's how we judge the difference between light levels during the day and night, and what it'll be reflected off. So where one color looks totally fine during the day - It has the potential of giving a completely different feeling during the night... Which is why I suggest a uniform steel gray color, (with a slight bluish tint). As that's very stable during the day, and under artificial lights during the night.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2023
  4. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Good for you, mate. Anything that helps your lungs is not bad, is it.
     
  5. Tetters

    Tetters Young Pine

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    upload_2023-9-15_17-56-31.jpeg Daniel, you could use a chalk paint/ whitewash or otherwise you would need masonry paint.
    You need to be very sure this is the right decision though, because removing paint from bricks is just about impossible.
    With the winter months coming, remember you are choosing cold colours. White, grey and blue will probably need a lot of dressing up to make the place feel homely.
    You will need to be sure there is no damp in the bricks, and bear in mind that bricks that could get hot should not be painted.
    [​IMG] It will be interesting to see how you get on
     
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  6. Daniel W

    Daniel W Hardy Maple

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    Thanks for your advice, @Tetters . I'm definitely no Martha Stewart LOL.

    Thats a good point about the cold. I better get to work soon.

    I don't plan ever to have a wood burning stove in the fireplace again, so no worries about heat and paint. The next owner might curse me for painting the bricks, or could install a free-standing woodstove that would be more efficient and quieter.

    I like the look of the white painted brick. I think the room will be brighter. The whitewashed look is very nice, but I'm not that talented. A solid white would be easier for me yo do uniformly, plus I think an enamel - type finish might be brighter.

    I think I'll check the paint store next week. I can get started with the brick cleaning before they install the new heater / fake fireplace.
     
  7. ToddHolmes

    ToddHolmes New Seed

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    Your fireplace transformation is a great call! Saying goodbye to the woodstove hustle makes total sense. Electric inserts bring a cozy vibe minus the hassle. Plus, no more loud blowers and dusty cleanup. Enjoy the warmth and simplicity! You can also get all the reconstruction work done by this company (https://starkbuilders.com.au/structural-engineer-brisbane/). Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2023
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  8. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley Young Pine

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    It's a sensible idea to get rid of the wood burning stove. I like your choice of replacement.
    As for the bricks, I'd not seen them before and I don't think them unattractive. But paint them if you want to, you can over-paint them again if you get tired of the colour.

    A fire does make a nice feature in a room.
    We have central heating, but when we changed from a back boiler behind the gas fire in the loung,e for a combi in the kitchen, my wife wanted a coal-effect gas fire where the old boiler had been in case the central heating broke down.
    So we have this. It's never been turned on in twenty years.

    [​IMG]

    The proliferation of wood burning stoves in this country prompted a change in career for our youngest son. Having worked for different estate agent companies through good and bad times for thirty years, at the beginning of the year he changed jobs, took a course and became a chimney sweep.

    [​IMG]

    It's worked out very well for him. Living in the Peak District, there's thousands of houses with wood burning stoves, so he has plenty of work. His only regret is that he didn't change jobs sooner.
     
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  9. josephbut

    josephbut New Seed

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    You've put a lot of thought into your decision to switch from a wood-burning stove to an electric fireplace heater insert. I can totally relate to the pros and cons you've listed. When I was debating a similar switch last winter, one thing that helped me was using Excel Estimating Software to compare the costs of different heating options. It gave me a clear picture of the long-term expenses and made the decision-making process much easier.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2024
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  10. Daniel W

    Daniel W Hardy Maple

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    Thanks for al of the comments!

    It turned out, I have a lung condition that I really need to give myself some breathing TLC. Medications are helping, but I'm also glad I got rid of the woodstove and gas range/oven. It all adds up to better health.

    Painting the bricks, is on back burner until I can do it with the windows open. It's back on my mind, and the days are warming up, so it will be soon.

    The first step is scrubbing the bricks so creosote or smoke or whatever wont soak back through and stain the paint. Then a primer. I want water-based due to fumes, if possible.

    I still haven't settled on color, but probably pale blue and the walls white, or vice versa. My eyes see better if it's not dark or earth tones.
     
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  11. Pacnorwest

    Pacnorwest Hardy Maple

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    I like the idea of painting the brick on your fireplace. The white wash effect will be a huge improvement. There is special paint for that look . Why not think about hiring a pro who can have the job done in no time and less stressing. This will is an important update and definitely will change the whole appearance of your home .

    I use my wood burning stove on days the power goes out . Usually in winter and we freeze until the power is back on. I keep a small amount of firewood handy just for that reason. My DH is handicapped and cannot cope with cold temps. Living in the country has its pros and cons. Especially now that the new fire season has arrived and the power company has cut our power in summer when necessary. Then we have no running water or any way to cool the house with fans . That is why the trees planted around the home makes a huge difference with cooling the home on extremely hot days.

    I have the wood burning stoves chimney cleaned and inspected regularly. Our homeowners insurance doesn’t charge any more for wood burning stoves. I also cook on one near the kitchen for long periods of power outages in winters. On Holidays it’s handy for family gatherings.

    I haven’t burn piles of garden debris in the pasture for years . The pile has turned into an island of living plants and flowers all on its own. Wood burning smoke is awful from neighbors that still burn yard debris. Smells horrific and when I go out and smell the smoke I race back inside faster than a politician changing their mind.
     
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