How to whitewash a stacked stone fireplace - a place for thought (2023)

Today is the day. This is your complete step-by-step guide to cleaning a stacked stone fireplace. I promise it's a very doable project. In fact, we did it in just three and a half days. I hope this encourages you to put an element you may not love into your home and really breathe new life into it. We are very excited about the results and encourage anyone thinking about this project to get on board. Without further ado, let's learn how to clean your stacked stone fireplace.


How to whitewash a stacked stone fireplace - a place for thought (1)

The answer is yes. You can absolutely tamp stacked stone. It's always fun to start revealing. We couldn't be happier with the result. We still need to drill a hole for the TV cable from the frame and stain the fireplace. The mantle is hollowed out to allow the TV box to go inside. I love being able to change this artwork whenever I want.


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This question can only be answered by you. The natural stone is beautiful and has just a moment. Ultimately, our rock wasn't real and we just didn't love it. We thought it was putting too much pressure on our living room. The quote for a professional whitewash (no joints) was $1,000. We were able to do this entire renovation (including grout and supplies) for less than $200. It was a sweaty three days, but it was worth it. This technique would also work on a brick fireplace.

We hired professionals to do this treatment on our outer stone, so we knew we'd like the result.


  • Clean the stone. Before starting to paint, feel the stone. it is dusty In this case, wipe with a damp cloth. Since the fireplace is indoors, it must be very clean. Ours was dusty from refinishing the hardwood floors.
  • Tape the surrounding walls with paper. A roll of brown paper worked for us.
  • Cover the fireplace and adjacent floor with adrop cloth.
  • Turn on good music. This led me to the project.


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Meet your new best friends. That's pretty much all you need to tamp the stone, but they're all very important.

  • plastic bucket
  • several white rags
  • large romabi brush
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Romabio Classico Lime Paint tinted in the color of your choice
  • Gloves to protect hands


How to whitewash a stacked stone fireplace - a place for thought (4)

Romabio developed this limewash product and it is not only organic but free of smoke or odors. He cleans beautifully and it was a dream to work with him. We use the Classic Limewash toned Riposo Beige. We love the soft beige color, but you can choose to dye it any color you like. Just give us a call to find out which of your local paint stores carry this. This store must also carry the big brush. It was very necessary.


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You must dilute this product. They recommend a 50-100% dilution. We started with just 1 cup of ink and 1/2 cup of water. Looking back, I wish I had added 3/4 cup of water. I did the second day and not only was it easier to paint, it was a lot faster too. But that's the part that's trial and error. It's a messy color and will drip like you do. That's OK. It's just the process. And you've got the floor covered, so don't worry. Just keep your proportions in mind so you can replicate them however you like. We opted to just add a glass of color to the water until it ran out. Then we mix more. I just didn't want to waste it and wasn't sure how much we were going to spend.


  • Spray a stone section with water
  • Apply whitewash with a brush
  • Let it dry 10-60 minutes (I waited 20-30)
  • spray again with water
  • Use a rag to distress at will


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I have listed the 5-step process above for your reference. I worked in sections about 2 feet by 3 feet. Spray the stone with water. It should be damp but not dripping. Gently dab with a cloth if it is too wet.



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Dip your brush in paint (a little goes a long way) and start painting. Remember it's leaky and messy. That's OK. Look at the tip of my brush. I only added about 1/2 inch of paint when dipping the brush into the bucket. Do not immerse the brush. You really only work with the part of the brush that hits the stone.


Wait 20-30 minutes. Grab a snack. Or start another section if you really want to be efficient.


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Return to the same section and spray with water.


How to whitewash a stacked stone fireplace - a place for thought (9)

Then use a white cloth and shred to your liking. This is a bit tricky as the paint is more translucent when wet (dries more opaque). Don't be afraid to give it a good scrub if you want to bring back some of the stone's color variation. If you dilute it to 75% you will likely see more color variation.

PROFITIPP:Try a small section using the 5-step process. Let it dry. See how you like it? If you love it, keep going. If you want to tweak things (dilute with more water, more stress, etc.), you can tweak that in the future.

This lime wash is very forgiving. If you use it outside, you can literally wash it even after a few days. It becomes really firm after five days. The problem is, you can't hose down your chimney (unless it's outside), so you want to test the process and then move on. But be aware that you're working with a very forgiving product, so don't stress yourself out too much.

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I really wanted some of the character and texture of the stones to come through. You can always use sandpaper later to scrape off some more paint. It worked really well for me. I wanted each stone to look a little different.

PROFITIPP:That's for later, but see how narrow some of those gaps are? I added another line of thick grout in each gap. This is where overtaking comes into play. More on that below.

(Video) How to white wash a stone fireplace.


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I literally woke up one morning and said it was time to do the fireplace. When I researched and bought my stuff, it was 2am before I started. Soon it got dark and this girl was getting tired. But still progress.


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I stopped at this point and really panicked. I also poured a glass of wine. While I loved the lime paint, I didn't love its groutless look and thought I had ruined it. I even had one of my best friends cheer me on. She told me to do this in the morning. This is her pep talk. I really think grout takes this to the next level. So keep it up.


How to whitewash a stacked stone fireplace - a place for thought (13)

When I woke up the next morning, I still didn't feel safe. It looked so busy and those black eyeshadow lines were not the look I wanted. After working so hard to shut him up, I was super discouraged. Share this if you get to this point. Mortar is magic. Grab some coffee and get back to work.


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We believe that using mortar between the stones made all the difference in the world. It instantly removes black shadow lines and creates a smoother stone finish.

My advice is to grout the next day. It's time consuming and tedious, so you want to be well rested. Grouting isn't difficult, it's just tiring. My husband mixed the mortar for me. You need a big bucket and a way to mix it up (he bought an attachment for his drill). This part can be a little confusing.

You want the mixture to have the consistency of peanut butter or frosting. It should be thick but easily spreadable.

We used Mapei Large Tile and Stone Mortar in white. The mortar stinks a little. So if you're worried about the smell, this is the part that has it. It never bothered me, but it's worth mentioning.

How to whitewash a stacked stone fireplace - a place for thought (15)

Then we put it in ziplock bags. We ended up buying a professional pastry bag (looks like a cake decorating bag), but it honestly worked pretty much the same. Both tend to be constipated. I also found the professional bag too heavy. The mortar is surprisingly dense and weighs a lot. just be patient If the grout doesn't come off, there's probably a piece stuck near the opening.

(Video) How to Whitewash Your Fireplace

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Cut the end of the corner of the bag and you're done. Start with a small cut because you will always widen it if you want more grout to come out. The problem with stacked stones is that they are not symmetrical like bricks, nor are stones flush with each other. I quickly realized that perfection is not the goal. You want this to look messy, otherwise it will look like your lines aren't straight. Hope that makes sense.

The photo above shows how it looks when you open the grout. Is not cool. When you clean it, it takes shape. You can leave as much or as little as you like. The term overgrout means you're going to leave a lot more and it's all going to melt together. Some of our gaps were so narrow that I simply spilled over the line to make it look like there was a bigger gap. Hence the term overgrout.

After grouting a section, wait a few minutes and clean up the access. I used my finger to wipe it off. They make tools for that, but I feel like I have more control with my finger. I will say that it was very hard on my hands, but that's ok. While cleaning, I held a Styrofoam cup in my other hand so I could wipe the excess finger off the cup. Do what works for you.

NOTICE:This part is extremely confusing. I cannot stress this enough. His hands are going to be a mess, but it's worth it.


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This is a picture of how it will look if you clean it and let it dry. The mortar looks gray as it goes on, but dries white. We wanted the contrast. Remember that with stacked bricks, all your gaps are different; so the groove will help mitigate all of that. Creates the illusion that there are larger gaps between densely stacked stones.

You can dye your grout if you want something other than white.

You could also grout first and whitewash everything the same color if you prefer that look.


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I almost went down the chimney and then my fingers gave out so my husband went in to finish. Grouting took up most of the second day. It's a tedious process, but it really brings the whole fireplace to life.

(Video) How To Whitewash A Fireplace: An Easy Step By Step Guide #shorts

Don't forget to grout the sides of the stone as well. See those dark lines around the edges? Just add a good line of grout and spread it out gently with your finger.

If you look to the left of my husband's shoulder, you can see that the mortar is almost gone. It dries white and clear, but you can get an idea of ​​how it would look if you chose a grout similar to the color of your stone.


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Once your stone is ready, you can get rid of the rags and fire up the fireplace. I ended up putting two coats of whitewash on ours. I didn't delete any.

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A foam brush is useful for finishing the edges. It's also great for touch-ups. I did the fireplace and finishing touches on the third day. Some of the stones had dark spots here and there, so I was able to go back and add some lime paint. You don't need to go through the 5-step process for touch-ups. Adding a little brushstroke works well.

PROFITIPP:The bucket with the diluted lime solution can be covered and used the next day. Does not dry. We ended up using lime on most of the container. It was enough for me to fix things.


Looking back on what I know now, this is the schedule I would recommend:

  • Buy supplies in a timely manner
  • Day 1: Apply whitewash to entire stone (cover over extra lime paint and save for touch-ups)
  • Day 2: grout the chimney
  • Day 3: Touching Up (It's good to take a step back and come back to this with fresh eyes on Day 3)

We originally thought we were tinting the mortar. I'm so thankful we didn't. If we had hired someone, I would have had the grout dyed the color of the stone. That would have been a huge mistake, as we love the contrast with the white grout. It works well with our room and mill.


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(Video) How to Whitewash Brick Fireplace | $15 DIY = HUGE Difference!

I'm happy to say that months after this project, the stone still looks the same as the day we finished it. This weekend project has been one of our favorites so far.

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What a difference a few days can make. I really hope it was helpful. This project requires very little know-how and more care than anything else. And it's not about making it perfect. It's all about creating an overall beautiful look. Turn up the tunes, take your time, and know it's not a race. So the final product will be worth it. Let me know if you handle your stone and how it goes.

*View morebefore the pictures of our house here(and this room when we moved in).


What is the best paint to whitewash a stone fireplace? ›

Supplies Needed to Whitewash a Stone Fireplace

Gray Chalk Paint – recommended if your stone has pink or orange undertones, to ensure the finished look doesn't have a pink effect. A sponge brush and/or stiff bristle chip brush (you do not need anything fancy!)

How do you change the color of a stacked stone? ›

Painting Your Stacked Stone

To modernize your stone, use a latex acrylic stucco paint to give your stacked stone the finished look you're after. Use a paint-mixing tool to mix the paint until you get a uniform color. Apply the paint using a heavy nap roller that's designed for masonry and a paint tray.

Can you limewash stacked stone? ›

This is your complete step by step guide to limewash a stacked stone fireplace. I promise it's a very doable project. In fact, we did this in just three half days. I hope this encourages you to take an element in your home that you may not love and really give it new life.

What kind of paint will stick to stone? ›

The best paint for stones is, hands down, acrylic paint. It goes on smoothly, and gets rocks painted quickly and easily. But not all acrylic paint is equal, and there are other paints you can use to decorate rocks too. Outdoor Acrylic Paint.

What is the best paint to use on a stone fireplace? ›

A latex based paint or a chalk paint is best because they cover well and stick great.

Is it better to paint or whitewash a fireplace? ›

Limewash and whitewash both give a rustic look that is very easy to maintain. Paint will give a more finished look that is more difficult to maintain. You should consider what kind of look you want for your brick fireplace and how much work you are willing to put in.

What is the difference between limewash and whitewash stone fireplace? ›

Although limewash can be considered a type of whitewash and is often used synonymously, we'll be differentiating the two for this article. Whitewash is a half-and-half mixture of water and paint that sits on top of brick, unlike limewash, to provide a translucent finish, muting the brick's natural color.

Are stacked stone fireplaces dated? ›

Trends come and go. What was considered hot and stylish 20 years ago — or five years ago, for that matter — could now look dated. Not so with stacked stone ledger panels! Stacked stone ledger panels will always be in style, decade after decade, and here's why: They're made from real stone.

How to update 70s stone fireplace? ›

Do-It-Yourself Ideas for Updating a 1970s Stone Fireplace
  1. Brighten up the stone with whitewash.
  2. Paint your fireplace a solid color.
  3. Texture your fireplace with a mortar wash.
  4. Update metal accents with spray paint.
  5. Frame your fireplace with shiplap.
  6. Renovate with stone veneer.
Feb 5, 2023

Is stacked stone in style? ›

With its sleek snowy white color palette, these luxurious stacked stone tiles offer a timeless beauty that will never go out of style, allowing you to enjoy their appearance for many years to come.

Is stacked stone modern? ›

Built from stones of all different sizes and often a natural spectrum of color stack stone has a raw yet refined look. Fast forward to today, stacked stone is one of the most popular contemporary design looks. Advances in manufacturing make it possible to expertly mount stones to wall panels.

Can you stain stone a lighter color? ›

Be aware that staining stone can only darken the color; you cannot lighten a dark-colored stone by applying stain. With either water-based or acid stain, be sure to apply a sealant afterwards to keep the stained stone from becoming discolored over time.

What is the difference in whitewash and limewash? ›

Whitewash is taking a watered down version of paint and applying it directly to the brick. The whitewash sits on top of the brick. Limewash is a mix of lime, minerals, and water that is applied directly to the brick. Limewash soaks into the brick instead of sitting directly on top of it.

How many coats does limewash need? ›

At least 4 coats will be needed to cover new work. Each coat will need to be burnished into the surface with a dry brush as it starts to 'gel'. This will give a surface free from brush strokes and leave a unified finish.

Do you need to prime before limewash? ›

Prepping walls for Limewash

Previously painted surfaces should be primed first for best results. Limewash can be applied on smooth or textured walls, but we decided it was worth it to skim coat our textured walls first to create a smooth and even canvas.

Do you need to clean a fireplace before whitewashing it? ›

Make sure the fireplace is clean of any dirt and debris before applying any paint. Use trisodium phosphate (TSP) and a scrub brush to remove any soot from around the fireplace opening. Once it's clean, rinse the brick with water. Allow the brick to dry completely before starting the painting process.

What is the difference between limewash and whitewash? ›

Whitewash is taking a watered down version of paint and applying it directly to the brick. The whitewash sits on top of the brick. Limewash is a mix of lime, minerals, and water that is applied directly to the brick. Limewash soaks into the brick instead of sitting directly on top of it.

Are whitewashed fireplaces out of style? ›

Whitewashing brick is very quickly going out of style. Most whitewashed fireplaces look half done. In this particular picture, the fireplace started out with some pretty grey brick, and the painter did a really good job covering everything evenly without leaving streaks. Lots of whitewash jobs don't turn out this good.

What is the current trend for fireplaces? ›

With simplicity as a significant design theme in 2022, minimalist or low-key fireplaces are a major trend. Instead of intricate craftsmanship or bulky motifs, minimalist fireplaces are plain and neutral-colored to blend with the wall. The intent is to keep the focus on the flames instead of the detailing.

Which lasts longer limewash or whitewash? ›

Limewash, like mortar wash, can last much longer than whitewash or paint.

What is the recipe for whitewash? ›

Making whitewash is simple and inexpensive. Simply mix white water-based paint with water to the desired consistency. A 1:3 paint-to-water ratio will give a thin, translucent coating that doesn't need to be wiped or dry brushed. A 1:1 ratio will give a thicker coating that can be wiped or sanded for a distressed look.

Does whitewash come off? ›

Even in dry weather, however, whitewash flakes off over time, and powders your clothes when you rub against it. The good news is that it leaves no permanent stains.

What's the best way to apply whitewash? ›

  1. Mix paint and water to desired consistency (for this example, I used equal parts).
  2. Dip rag in mixture and apply it liberally to the wood as you would a stain, wiping over it with a rag to evenly distribute it.
  3. Dry and repeat coats until desired opacity.
Jan 17, 2023

What are the 2 main ingredients involved in a whitewash? ›

Whitewash, or calcimine, kalsomine, calsomine, or lime paint is a type of paint made from slaked lime (calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2) or chalk calcium carbonate, (CaCO3), sometimes known as "whiting".

Do you whitewash the inside of a fireplace? ›

Use painter's tape to keep whitewash off of protected surfaces. If whitewashing a fireplace or chimney, cover the mantel. To keep your fireplace in good working order, don't whitewash inside the fireplace or chimney.

What are the pros and cons of whitewashing brick fireplace? ›

Whitewashing brick is typically inexpensive, can be done with paint lying around the house, and the wash is typically easy to apply and dries quickly. Cons of whitewashing masonry include: A diminished, natural-looking appearance. Chipping and peeling of paint that was not fully absorbed by the brick.

What is German Schmear? ›

German smear, sometimes called German schmear, is an up-and-coming technique. It uses wet mortar applied to brick and partially wiped off before drying. This style gives the appearance of uneven mortar joints reminiscent of old cottage homes (above) and castles in Germany.

How long does lime whitewash last? ›

If applied correctly, whitewashing can last up to 20 to 30 years, with little need for maintenance.


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