Hi friend! Today I am excited to share with you how we achieved our DIY faux brick fireplace with a much more budget friendly version of shiplap.
When we purchased our home in 2018 we knew that the fireplace was something that we definitely wanted to change. Of course, everything we do has been on a budget and we try to find the easiest and least expensive ways to do all of our home renos as possible.
I hope this post encourages you to take on a project in your home and gives you some inspiration of something you can easily achieve!
** I just want to add in that this was just the approach that we took. If you have a wood burning fireplace and are changing the materials around it – reach out to someone qualified to let you know what you need to do to stay in compliance. Everywhere seems to be different and building codes are definitely something you NEED to pay attention to 🙂
How To: DIY Faux Brick Fireplace & Shiplap
At the time of writing this post, this project has been complete for over a year. I am so glad I documented the process through photos so I could share with y’all how we were able to go from this to this…
This was a project we weren’t even sure we would be able to do exactly how we wanted because of the tile the builder laid down as the hearth. Well, having a builder grade home with shotty work actually worked out in our favor – this time at least.
Materials You’ll Need:
- shiplap pieces
- trim for the edges of shiplap wall
- brad nailer
- stud finder
- wall paint (used for shiplap and as base coat on fireplace)
- dry wall
- cheap tile (we needed this to be to up to code with our wood burning fireplace)
- electrical tape
- joint compound
- large putty knife
- brick paint colors of your choice
- paint brushes
DIY Faux Brick Fireplace: The Before – Builder Grade Boring
Granted, there was nothing truly wrong with the builder grade fireplace, but it was boring. It felt cold and over produced.
Our biggest fear with tearing it out was wondering what the floor situation under the tile hearth was…
Would the thin-set have ruined the vinyl flooring under it? Was there any flooring under it? Would we be able to customize the size of the hearth or would it have to match the tile that we tore out?
The tile hearth was 24″ deep. I knew that I didn’t want the new hearth to extend that far out if it didn’t have to. Luckily it all worked out!
Tearing it apart
We started out by pulling up the tile from the floor using a pry bar. This would give us our initial game plan depending on the floor situation underneath.
I don’t think anyone understood how happy I was that the tile was installed so poorly! We were able to just scrape off the leftover thin-set left on the flooring.
After the tile was out, we started to remove the mantle pieces. We scored the caulk lines and then used a pry bar to pull the pieces off of the wall. Luckily everything came off pretty easily!
We knew that we wanted some of the shiplap between the faux brick and the mantle so we didn’t remove all of the tile that was already there. Since our fireplace is a true wood burning fireplace we had to make sure to have tile around the firebox.
We removed the top piece of tile that was under the original mantle, and of course this was the one spot where the thin-set wouldn’t easily come off! We ended up just pulling the drywall off with the thin-set after trying to get it off for a while. We knew this spot would be covered with shiplap so we just went with it.
The shiplap boards would be covering the hole so we decided it wasn’t worth trying to patch those spots with new drywall. By the time we finally decided to just pull the drywall out in that spot we had already moved on to putting up some shiplap. We had about 36 hours to complete this project so we had to just keep moving along!
Easy and Cheap Shiplap
We have been doing this shiplap technique all over our home now and honestly, you cannot tell a difference between our shiplap technique and the real deal (& expensive) shiplap boards you can buy at your local hardware store. As long as you have a table saw or are able to have your hardware store rip the board down to the correct size, you are golden!
If you don’t have a tablesaw you can ask your hardware store to cut your MDF board down to 6″ strips longways. I have experimented with different sizes and I definitely think the 6″ strips are the way to go!
Use a stud finder to find and mark all of the studs on your wall. This ensures that the nail will have something to grab onto when you nail your MDF onto the wall.
Cut your shiplap piece to length and nail them up along the studs. We would use a nickel as a spacer and we just worked our way up the wall.
We used a thicker 2″ trim lattice piece to use on the edges of the shiplap to give it a finished look. As we were putting boards up we realized that the builder had made one of the edges of the wall a little diagonal so we used the trim to hide that flaw. There was nothing we could really do that wouldn’t make it look worse, so we just did what we could.
Once we were done getting the boards installed I went back in with spackle and filled all the nail holes. Once that was dry – I sanded everything smooth and then painted with my wall paint that I used throughout the house.
Building the hearth
The original tile hearth was 24″ deep and we decided we only wanted ours about 18″ deep. My husband took his measurements and factored in the various layers of material we would use to give him the size of the box frame he needed to build.
He built the frame out of 2×4 with plenty of support because we knew it needed to be very sturdy. He attached it to the studs using screws through the original tile on the wall.
We then applied drywall to the frame to give the tile something to hold onto.
I can’t seem to find a photo of it, but we used the cheapest floor tile that we could and applied it to the drywall creating the fireproof box.
Once the tile was on and set it was time to move onto the faux brick!
Faux Brick technique
The faux brick technique is actually much easier than I thought it would be. The most tedious part was measuring and taping off the “grout” so you could create the brick texture with joint compound.
After the hearth was built and the tile base was finished, I took some joint compound and a large putty knife and started filling in all the grout lines trying to create a smooth base. I got most everything filled in and as smooth as I could.
Once that layer of joint compound was dry I took some sandpaper and smoothed everything down. This way the tape would have something smooth to hold onto.
After I got the base dry and smooth, we used some matching trim pieces that would match the sides of the wall.
We measured out the size of brick we wanted to create and taped the “bricks” off. The tape lines would essentially be your grout lines. The tape we used was about 1″ thick but you could use whatever you wanted to create the look you are wanting.
We taped off the edges first and worked our way out from the center of the hearth.
Be sure to overlap your pieces so you are able to just pull them off all together.
I used the same putty knife and joint compound to layer on the “brick”. I did a type of swoop motion and would go back and dabble the putty knife to create more texture and create that brick look.
Once you have your bricks created go ahead and pull off the tape otherwise the joint compound will dry and the tape will be stuck!
The joint compound took about 6 hours to dry but I let it sit overnight with the fans on. I painted over everything with my wall paint and then when that was dry I took 2 different acrylic paints and dabbled the browns over the bricks. I went back and white washed a few spots until I had everything how I liked it.
I wanted the brick to look like it had a little bit of German schemer. There are some spots I would like to eventually touch up, but overall I think it looks fine.
For the mantle we built a simple faux beam from select 1×6 and 1×8 boards.
We made an internal support out of 2x4s. The mantle would just slide onto the support and then we used small screws to secure the mantle to the support.
We were watching the hurricane tracker! Little did we know that a few days later our area would be hit by Hurricane Sally.
DIY Faux Brick Fireplace: Final Reveal
We definitely worked on each portion of this project at different times because I was in charge of painting and finishing work while my husband did the construction portion.
However, all of the craziness that this project brought out – it still came out perfectly.
As I told you earlier, this project has been complete for over a year and it has held up great. My boys climb all over the hearth and we have had very minimal if any “fall out” of the brick. It looks great to this day! That was one of my biggest concerns.
Here are some photos of the fireplace styled over the year…
I hope this post inspired you to tackle a project you have been wanting to do, or if you have been wondering about doing this faux brick technique that you feel equipped to do it.
Have a wonderful day and thank you for being here! This blog wouldn’t be possible without you!
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