Painting a Brick Fireplace: Do or Don’t?

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  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Kathy in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    KATHY: In our rental, we have a big wall of brick where the fireplace is. And it’s a dark corner. And I was wondering if we would be able to paint that brick without a whole lot of trouble, to brighten it up in that corner?

    TOM: You can paint it but you’d better be sure it’s what you want to do.

    Right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Yeah. I mean painting brick is – it’s kind of irreversible. Once you put the paint on, because the brick is so porous it’s just going to get sucked into every little interior nook and cranny of that brick. So should you ever decide that you would like it to be brick again, it’s a lot of stripping and sandblasting. It’s a big to-do. So you want to make sure that that’s something you really want to do. If it’s just the ugliest brick ever, I get it.

    KATHY: Well, it’s the only way to lighten up that area that I can think of.

    LESLIE: It’s a corner?

    KATHY: It’s a corner of the living room but it’s one wall of the living room. It’s the whole wall right up next to the sliding-glass door. So all the way over to the sliding-glass door it’s all brick, from floor to ceiling.

    LESLIE: Have you thought about putting mirrors, like an assorted group of mirrors, or adding a different light fixture? There are ways that you can brighten the space with decoration.

    KATHY: I hadn’t thought of the mirrors. That might be a good idea.

    LESLIE: If you do a cute cluster, almost like a little gallery grouping of different size and shape mirrors and mixing metals and doing something really purposeful and fun and creating a moment, that’s a great way to do it.

    KATHY: There’s no electrical in the ceiling.

    LESLIE: You don’t need electrical in the ceiling. There are plenty of pendant lamps that plug into an outlet that you can use as swag that – is that what it’s called, “swag”?

    TOM: Yeah.

    KATHY: It’s still called “swag”? Yeah.

    LESLIE: Right? Swag [the word] (ph)?

    TOM: Yeah, I think so.

    LESLIE: You can do something like that and there are really great ways to do that. So you plug in a light fixture and then suddenly, you have a beautiful mini-chandelier or something. There are so many. If you look online for a decorative light fixture with a plug-in, with a plug, you’ll find so many.

    KATHY: OK.

    LESLIE: And make sure you can get one of those things that looks like a scrunchie, that you wrap over the electrical cord itself so it hides just the wiring. It’s really easy to do.

    KATHY: Alright. I’ll think on those lines, yep. Easier than painting.

    LESLIE: There’s even sconces that are plug-in. So you can create a whole, little gallery thing with mirrors and plug-in sconces and really brighten up that space.

    KATHY: OK. Thank you, guys.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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