LESLIE: We’ve got Jackie in Tennessee who’s got a fireplace project. What are you working on?
JACKIE: We have about a maybe 50-year-old home that has a standard brick fireplace.
JACKIE: And we added a gas insert that’s smaller than the hole. And so we had some brick – additional brick. A mason added some additional brick, you know, to fit the insert. And it looks great structurally but the color doesn’t match and the mortar doesn’t match. Do we have any option to make that naturally look more natural and blend in? Is there a way to use watercolors or stain rather than just paint?
LESLIE: What sort of difference are you seeing? Is it just that the grout is more dark in the older parts and the brick just has sort of like a brownish, age-y glow? Or is …
JACKIE: It’s noticeably different. It’s a gray grout versus a tan but we didn’t worry about it at the time because we just assumed we were going to paint. But the new brick, of course, is a different color. We got as close as we could but it’s more of a red brick versus a mesa, you know, western-looking desert color. And it just doesn’t match at all.
TOM: It would be difficult to strategically stain that grout, wouldn’t it? Even if you tried an acid stain or something like that?
JACKIE: That’s what I’m wondering. Now, we do have a wooden mantle that we are putting that will cover the seam where the connection is. So, you know, we’re fine with just painting it. That is our best option. Is there anything special we need to do or kind of paint or …
LESLIE: Well, first try this. Do you have any extra of the new bricks kicking around?
LESLIE: OK. Take one of the extra ones; get something from the home center called an aging glaze.
LESLIE: And that basically is a quart. I know Ralph Lauren has one. Behr makes one. There’s a ton of different vendors …
LESLIE: … that sell specifically something called aging glaze. Then you mix into that or you can mix in a little dish on the side – you don’t have to commit to the entire quart with the color. Pick a tone in that brownish, mesa family that would mix into that aging glaze. Because the aging glaze is sort of clear and just helps loosen the paint and make it stick in a way in places where corners would wear and tear.
LESLIE: And mix in, you know, a couple of different colors that you think might help achieve that brick transition.
LESLIE: And try it on those extra bricks until you find something that sort of ages it.
For the grout, you know, you could’ve tinted the grout or chosen a grout at the time of install.
LESLIE: At this point – you know, is it too late at this point to use a grout tint?
JACKIE: Maybe not. If you …
LESLIE: I would look into grout tints. I would also, if you can – if you’ve got a little bit of the extra grout kicking around – you know, smear some on a brick; let it solidify and then work with it in the same way with a – not a watercolor but a latex paint with the aging glaze.
JACKIE: OK. OK.
LESLIE: Something that will help it. Just to try. Because I would hate …
JACKIE: We do have about a foot of wood that will separate the new brick from the old so it does – doesn’t have a very close transition. And there’s only about four inches of the new brick that are going to show. So …
JACKIE: … that’s good.
LESLIE: Yeah, because I – personally, I hate painted brick.
TOM: Yeah but Jackie, the good news is if it doesn’t work out you can always paint. (chuckling)
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s like at least try it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, exactly.
JACKIE: (overlapping voices) OK. Thank you for your thoughts. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.