When we moved into our house, I loved the view. I loved the neighborhood. I loved the potential. But most everything else needed a lot of work.
We have been here nearly five years now (gasp!) and in that time, we have knocked down walls, pulled up carpet, blasted a hole in the foundation and put in a staircase…
We have never gotten around to fixing one of the most hideous features in the house: the fireplace.
Sometime, somewhere, someone thought a fireplace should be tiled in black faux marble with white grout. Sometime, somewhere, someone thought gold trim would be a great accent on said fireplace. Sometime, somewhere, someone realized this was a bad idea and tried to fix it by applying fake board and white trim to the mantel.
That did not help.
We bought the house with the horrible black tile and white grout. I spent many nights nursing twins on our sofa and staring at that fireplace until I developed a tick in my eye. I hated it so much. But, other projects always took priority until one day, I actually showed up in the living room with a crowbar.
Just before I ripped the first glossy veined tile off the wall, a thought occurred to me. Why not paint the tiles? If it doesn’t work, you can always rip them off then. But if it does work, you’ve saved yourself a bunch of time and money.
And that is exactly how I went from the photo above to the photo below for less than $10.
Here’s how I did it:
1) The previous owners had attempted to hang something from the fireplace using double-sided sticky tape. Bad idea.
Because of the damage, I had to tape off the surround and spray paint it (in the house) using an oil-rubbed bronze color.
2) I did the same thing with the fireplace screen in order to rid the world of one more piece of fake gold trim.
This took many, many coats. In retrospect, I should have coughed up the extra few dollars for the more expensive spray paint. I used Krylon brand and was not impressed. DO NOT USE THAT PAINT. The paint did not want to stick, even though I lightly sanded the trim, just in case. Also, it flaked off with the slightest touch. Not cool.
I’ve used Rust-Oleum for lots of projects (including drawer pulls) and have never had that problem. So, I’ll very likely have to re-do this portion of the project because I was cheap. In the end, it was not worth a $2 savings.
3) While waiting for coats of spray paint to dry, I sanded the tile lightly then painted it with one coat of oil-based primer. I had some in the garage so this did not cost anything. If you have to buy it, go with Kilz brand. Don’t settle for anything less. It is not worth a bad result.
*P.S. I’m not getting paid to say good things about these products. They just work!
4) The next day, after the primer had dried completely, I painted over it with white enamel paint. I wasn’t sure what color to paint the tile at first, but I was hoping that painting it white would create a built-in look.
Besides, I had leftovers of the white paint.
However, enamel would have been a good choice anyway. This surround is not going to have to stand up to a lot of wear and tear, but I wanted to mimic a tile feel, and enamel paint is pretty close.
This took three coats of paint. If the tile had been a lighter color, two coats would have been sufficient. But that lovely black tile died hard.
5) We picked up some trim pieces at a local building supply liquidation store. The wide 4″ trim piece cost less than $3. It was just a little too narrow, so I purchased a coordinating trim piece for another $3. The handsome hubby helped to cut it and I nailed it up.
I painted the trim with the same enamel paint for a cohesive look. I did sand between the coats of paint on the top layer of the mantel because of some damage done to the top of the mantel (perhaps that’s why the previous owners stuck that fake wood on it!) but sanding is not always necessary. If you want a smoother look, sand. But I found sanding wasn’t really necessary for most of this project.
6) The end result is so beautiful, I wish I had done it years ago.
What do you think? Are you going to go paint some tile, or would you rather know how to make that wreath?
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