How To Whitewash A Stone Fireplace With Chalk Paint

Looking for an easy DIY project to spruce up your stone fireplace? You may already be thinking of whitewashing using chalk paint, but you're still wondering how to exactly do so. Wonder no more, as we have researched the easiest way to do it right! 

To whitewash your stone fireplace with chalk paint, follow these basic steps:

  1. Gather the materials you will use.
  2. Prep your work area by masking the edges with painter's tape and covering the fireplace screen and floor with drop cloths or tarp.
  3. Clean the surface you are painting on with a scrub brush and water.
  4. Mix your chalk paint.
  5. Apply chalk paint to the fireplace by brushing and daubing to remove paint in areas for a weathered look.

You can see that the process is fairly simple. However, if you are a beginner who has limited experience in painting walls, or you just want to learn about different variables and methods of application, read on. We'll delve into the detailed steps and other things you should know about whitewashing a stone fireplace with chalk paint.

Log cabin stone fireplace - How To Whitewash A Stone Fireplace With Chalk Paint


Beautiful living room with STONE fireplace.

If you choose to whitewash your stone fireplace with chalk paint by yourself, we have prepared this simple ">step-by-step guide:

1. Gather the materials you will use

Make sure to have all the necessary materials near your work area or within reach. This preparation will help you go about the procedure efficiently and will eliminate potential problems and causes of delay before you proceed to the next step. You'll need the following materials:

  • Chalk paint
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Painter's tape or masking tape
  • Tarp or used newspaper
  • Mixing container
  • Mixing stick
  • Scrub brush
  • Rag

2. Prep your work area 

Before you begin, ensure that your work area is well prepared and the surface where you will paint is clean. Tape the edges of the fireplace and lay down a drop cloth or old newspapers on the fireplace screen and floor to make sure that paint won't spill into the wrong places.

3. Clean the surface

You have to clean the surface in order to ensure maximum adherence and to avoid paint chipping. Use warm water and a scrub brush to take away dirt, grime, and soot and allow to air dry before applying paint.

For better cleaning, you may also mix an all-purpose cleaner or vinegar into the water. After scrubbing with warm water, wipe clean with a wet rag, ensuring to constantly wash and wring the rag from time to time.

Small cracks may be tolerated, as they will be painted over. However, larger cracks need to be filled up using paintable latex caulk. Allow the caulk to dry as per the manufacturer's instruction. Depending on where it is applied and on the finish of the stone wall, you may have to sand the caulk to make it unobtrusive and appear as part of the wall.

4. Mix your chalk paint

There are various types of commercial chalk paint you may buy in the paint store. Each will have its manufacturer's specifications and instructions, and most require little or no need for sanding and priming steps because of their adhesion properties.

To mix these commercial chalk paints, you will use a 1:2 ratio between paint and water to achieve a whitewash effect. You may dilute or add on paint based on your preferred consistency and look.

You may instead choose to make your own DIY chalk paint using latex paint, plaster of Paris, and water. To make your own chalk paint, use this formula as a base:

  • 1/2 quart of latex paint
  • 1/2 quart of water
  • 1/4 quart of plaster of Paris

Use a stick to stir the paint well to avoid clumps. From there, you can dilute with more water or change the consistency by adding more plaster or paint according to your preferred opacity and consistency.

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5. Apply chalk paint

Start by working from top to bottom to avoid drips, especially if you choose to use a thinner wash for a more opaque look. Also, apply the paint in between the stones before proceeding to brush on the stone face. Use uneven strokes, then alternately daub the paint with a dry rag to give more texture to the appearance.

If you're working with another person, be aware that the pattern of your application of paint and daub may be different. To correct this, you should delegate work so that only one person applies and daubs the paint. You may also work on a broken pattern of skipping stones to be painted at different points so that both workers painting interlock visually. 

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For an instructional demonstration on whitewashing a stone fireplace with chalk paint, watch this video:

What is the advantage of chalk paint?

The biggest advantage of using chalk paint is its ease of use. Chalk paint does not need any sanding or priming. You can use it on almost any surface, and it is water-based, so you can use it indoors without fear of fumes.

Contemporary home with open concept living and bright white decor

Is chalk paint safe for the fireplace?

Chalk paint is definitely safe on the façade of your fireplace. It is water-based and non-flammable.

However, if you are thinking of painting the inside of the fireplace, then chalk paint won't cut it. The high temperature and flames inside the firebox will peel and chip off the paint. You will need high-temperature heat-resistant paint.

Heat-resistant paint comes in spray-on or brush-on types with various shades to choose from. Some choose to use the color black for the fireplace inside to hide the soot stains. Make sure to thoroughly clean the inside of the firebox and be sure that the inside surface is cold before applying the paint. This will ensure that the paint adheres to the surface.

Fireplace, Bricks wall. Fireplace background

Because the inside of the fireplace is very hot and filled with soot, it is recommended that you paint it with high-temperature black paint.

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How do you seal chalk paint on stone?

Log cabin stone fireplace - How To Whitewash A Stone Fireplace With Chalk Paint

Normally there is no need to prime or seal chalk paint on stone. This is because the latex paint mixed with chalk paint is already adhesive enough to bind to the stone surface. At the same time, many prefer the stones to breathe and remain porous so as not to trap moisture that will damage the wall and lead to paint peeling.

However, another school of thought is that when correctly done, sealing will add a layer of protection against scuffing and day-to-day damage.

You can use chalk paint wax for added protection. Choose a clear soft wax that is compatible with chalk paint.

To proceed, you should let the chalk paint dry before using a lint-free cloth or wax brush to apply, wiping off any excess wax with another dry lint-free cloth. If you want to have a glossy finish, you may buff 30 minutes after applying.

The cons of using chalk wax are that grime may accumulate if excess wax is not wiped off and that it provides only a little protection from scuffs and dings. Another con is that it takes time to fully cure. It usually takes 24 hours to dry, but as long as 2 weeks to cure and fully harden.

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Final Words

Whitewashing your stone fireplace with chalk paint is a fairly straightforward process once you have identified the look and amount of weathered appearance you like. Chalk paint is the perfect medium to use, as it requires no priming and is easy to apply. You may choose to use other methods, such as using plain latex, lime, or mortar wash.

The important thing is to work methodically, try out a small section, and let it dry to see if it is the look you are going for. Once you are certain of the desired appearance then you can work one section at a time from top to bottom. This will ensure that there are no drips, especially when working on thinner opaque washes.

You might want to check out these related articles for additional information:

How To Decorate a Living Room With a Fireplace in the Middle

How To Hide Fireplace Vents

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