Brick Fireplace Makeover using Cement & Wood Mantel

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Posted: 02/25/2019·
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Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

If you have a dated brick fireplace in your home and you’d like to update it, this post will give you inspiration for a modern update! This beautiful transformation shows what a cement coating looks like over brick.

Cement fireplace with fire burning and reclaimed wood mantel with modern living room furniture

Brick Fireplace Makeover Using Cement & Wood Mantel

See how we updated this old dated brick fireplace with cement and a wood mantel! This brick fireplace makeover feels modern and fresh and totally transformed this family’s living room!

I have received a lot of question asking about the particular materials we used for this project – I do not know what the company used to achieve this look as I produced the design and vision and didn’t DIY this project.

I believe it is a cement smear (overcoat) that they added over the brick. It was not expensive and only took them a few days to complete!

If you are trying to get this look, reach out to a local tile installed or mason – they will be able to help you narrow down the materials! :)

Brick Fireplace Makeover

Before

Brick Fireplace with TTV above fireplace and living room furniture

After!

Cement fireplace with reclaimed wood beam, with living room furniture

Okay…now onto the good stuff.

Brick Fireplace Makeover Using Cement and Wood!

When we first toured this house, we immediately knew that the fireplace would need a major overhaul. There are a few options when it comes to updating an old brick fireplace.

1. You can paint it. This is cheap and easy, but has a bit of a farmhouse feel. If painting is the route you’d like to go, try DIY Roman Clay – it feels more modern to me!

2. You can slap some veneers on the fireplace. Either fresh brick or faux stone, adding veneers to a dated fireplace can instantly update it. This is what we did in my home!

3. You can float it with concrete. This has a more contemporary feel and is quite inexpensive.

Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

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The Updated Fireplace Design

This house is anything but farmhouse, so I really didn’t want to go the route of painting the brick. Doing so would have clashed with the entire feel of the house and thrown off the flow.

We needed something that would complement the contemporary and transitional elements that we’d used throughout the rest of the house.

Since we also used quite a few organic elements throughout the house I wanted to add a splash of that on the fireplace too.

Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

Smearing the brick with cement was the perfect solution for updating this old brick fireplace! It compliments the cement tile that we used in the kitchen (I’ll be sharing photos of that soon!).

To make the fireplace feel a little more cozy and warm we used an old fence post found on the ranch and turned it into a mantle!

My dad is crazy talented and was able to create beautiful corners on the fence post and turn it into an absolutely gorgeous mantle!

While we could have floated the entire fireplace, I felt that it would make the room feel a little too modern and cold.

Instead, we added tongue and groove paneling above the mantle which matched the original paneling in the built-ins (which you can see from the kitchen).

Take a look at the entryway makeover where you can see the original tongue and groove, I think you’ll love the built in bench!

Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

As you can see, this simple update completely changes the entire look and feel of the room. Smearing cement over old brick is a great way to makeover an old and dated fireplace without spending a lot of money!

You can easily do this in your home, simply have a tile installer come out to float the brick with cement. We used a piece of remnant stone as the hearth which was installed after the cement dried.

I hope that you enjoyed seeing the first glimpse of this remodel project! If you live in the Reno-Tahoe or Bay Area, I am now taking on clients for interior design and full scale remodel projects.

I have an amazing team that I am incredibly grateful to work with! If you know of anyone looking to remodel their home, please help spread the word!

Photography by Gagewood Photo

Before and after photo of brick fireplace transformation using cement and reclaimed wood

Read Next: The Best Tile for Every Room in your Home

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  1. Hi Chloe,
    The fireplace is absolutely stunning! I want to know which type of cement you used on the fireplace?

  2. Did you paint over the cement? If so, do you remember the name of the paint color? This is beautiful.

  3. If you had tongue and groove white washed ceiling would you still install the shiplap on the upper area of the fireplace? I’ve been wanting to do the very same with our fireplace in the living room with dark dark gray/black shiplap in the recessed area to the right of it. I plan on hanging the television in that space with a built in floating cabinet below the television. Then stack wood for the fireplace along the bottom in the opening.

    • I would take the cement all the way up to the ceiling or just leave it without the shiplap :) keep things a little more simple since the ceiling has detail!

    • Hi there – it is just an old fence post I found on our property, not sure the wood species, but probably pine? It is unfinished/stained. :)

  4. The fireplace is stunning and I wanted to complete a similar look on my fireplace which is now currently tile. I was not sure what the process was to do this so the picture and the posts are helpful however I would like to give a tile company more specific instructions versus just showing them the picture is there anyway you could help answer the question that many of the posts ask about the process or the company that did it? Thank you

  5. This turned out absolutely stunning! Do you think cement floating could work over large flat stones as well? Think 1980-90 fireplaces. We want to overhaul ours with a similar look but I don’t know if it’ll be better to remove the stones first and then do cement. Thanks!

    • Hi! Honestly I think that would totally work – do a skim coat first of cement. I would just contact a local tile company and ask them for tips and materials :) usually they’re more than willing to help! If the grout joints are thick in your stone, I’d try to fill those first and get things as smooth as possible!

  6. I wonder why you would post all this if you ant answer to some of the questions people ask? Kind of cement,info about the materials….etc.
    Getting credit for something you cant back up.
    Hmmm

    • Haha! I am the designer, not the contractor nor tile specialist – I designed the space and then had the experts execute :)

    • Hello – I am sorry, we had a company complete the process, so I do not know what they used.

      • Can you provide the contact information for the company who did this? I would like to contact them and ask about the products used.

  7. Hello- did you float your cement yourself? Or did you have it done for you? I was just wondering the cement mix that you used as the color is very nice.

  8. This is so beautiful and exactly what I want to do to our old fireplace. We are located just outside of Sacramento (Davis), unfortunately because of the quarantine I can’t visit any tile places to inquire about materials (as you suggested in another comment). Any chance you could put me in touch with the people who did your fireplace or would you happen to know the type of cement used so I can attempt to order online? Thank you so much!!

    • If you mean the mantel? It’s an old fence post – roughly 6×6″? Sorry I don’t remember exactly! :)

  9. I love the look of the fireplace. I love the crisp corners. I’ve never heard the term "float" the fireplace. Not sure how to find someone who knows how to do this. Any suggestions?

    • I would purchase from a local tile company rather than a home improvement shop, ask them what they suggest, they will have the best advice for your climate. Have fun!

    • Thank you so much Becca! We just brushed the post off with a wire brush to clean it up, no stain required!

  10. Chloe, you and your dad did such a gorgeous job with this fireplace! I especially LOVE the mantel!! Best wishes for your new endeavors!!