stained brick fireplace needs help

FrugalFarmhouseMay 13, 2013

This fireplace is in our small cottage. The bricks have smoke and water stains. There is quite a bit of crumbling mortar that needs to be repaired/replaced too. It is frequently damp along the river and we also do not heat the cottage in the winter, so any recommendations for mortar would be welcome.

We plan to add some decorative trim to the sides and top where the painted paneling meets the brick.

I would prefer to paint the bricks ivory with black mantel and vents, but my husband really wants to keep the natural brick. Is there any way to 'refresh' the bricks without sandblasting or painting? I tried a natural stone cleaner, and it helped remove some of the soot but not the blotchy color variations.

We also have pretty much zero budget for this refresh project...
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

The first thing you need to do is get a chimney sweep out there. You might have too much junk in the chimney which is why your bricks are stained with soot and smoke. There could have been chimney fires from the creasoate. Dangerous!! Get that fixed first!

I'd clean the bricks with a stiff toothbrush and TSP. Then, I'd buy an assortment of acrylic paint, mix a color close to the brick, and sort of sponge it on. Seal it. Nobody will ever know the difference.

As to the crumbling mortar, not sure.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 2:45PM
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Thanks for the advice. Gratefully, we've already had the chimney sweep out and all repairs have been completed. We've had a couple fires and the chimney drafts nicely. I think I will start with the mortar, as it appears to be what looks so dirty - and then I love the idea of sponging on a brick color. I'll post the after picks - hopefully soon :)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:22PM
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muritic acid.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 2:48PM
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ThereâÂÂs a great product called Paint & Peel which many chimney sweeps carry on the truck now. ItâÂÂs amazing how much stain it will remove; more than youâÂÂd imagine. You paint it right on the bricks and wait until the next day and remove it. Try it out first; may give you the results you want without as much work or mixing colors.

Re the crumbling mortar, you can use a Type N or Type O. I think IâÂÂd use O myself (slightly less lime, slightly more Portland. Suggest doing all the joints at once; itâÂÂll look much nicer.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 12:14PM
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I would use the fireplace as it was intended to be used in my opinion. For the mortar you will need to re point the crumbling joints. To get it to match you will need to go over every joint. You will need a re pointing trowel that you should be able to get at Homeless Despot and a bag of brick mortar. Dig out the loose mortar in each joint. Mix to a toothpaste consistency and trowel the new mortar into each joint. Before completely dry you brush it out with a stiff bristle bricky brush.

Or hire a local brickmason. It's not rocket science and if it doesn't look right start over once dry.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 3:31AM
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