Is that traditional brick fireplace you once loved starting to feel old and outdated? Or perhaps that brick wall makes the room appear too dark? One solution to update your space is to remove the brick and replace with a light stone, but that requires demolition/renovation and can be very costly. If you chose to simply paint the brick, you may lose the brick’s character.
However, a simple budget-friendly DIY project to give your fireplace, wall, or room a new look is to whitewash the brick. Whitewashing is a semi-translucent finish that allows for the variations and character of the brick to show through.
AFT Construction’s Budget-Friendly DIY Series: Part 1 – Whitewash Brick
The process of whitewashing is simple and cost-effective. You begin by thoroughly cleaning the surface of the brick and grout. Selecting a cleaning agent will depend on how dirty the brick and grout are. You can start with simple dish soap and move up to something harsher like trisodium phosphate if necessary. After cleaning is complete, tape and cover the surrounding area the same way you would when using regular paint.
To prepare your whitewash, simply mix your latex paint with water. We recommend mixing equal parts water to paint but feel free to adjust this ratio to fit the look you are trying to achieve. If you like a more opaque, whiter look (see photo below) you can mix one cup of water per gallon of paint. Conversely, more water will make the whitewash more translucent. If you are unsure, you can start with a more diluted mixture and add an additional coat.
Apply the paint and water mixture to the wall with a roller or brush, then make sure to use a painter’s rag or towel to smear the wet surface and blot any excess. This will give the whitewash a true weathered look. It will also make the whitewash application appear more natural. Once your first coat is complete, wait several hours before deciding whether to apply another coat as the brick will continue to absorb the wash.