A whitewashed fireplace has a distinctive look. Whitewash certainly doesn’t offer the look of fresh paint—that’s a solid color—nor is it the look of chipped paint.
Whitewash has an appealing, hazy-white, translucent appearance that hovers somewhere between showing and not showing you the brick. It’s also an appearance that you can achieve quite easily and inexpensively on your own fireplace.
What Whitewashed Brick Is
True whitewash is a traditional way of coating exterior surfaces quickly and cheaply. It’s a mineral-based product that leaves a light chalky appearance, similar to that of dried salt.
In this project, you’ll be whitewashing your brick with an easier method that uses water and interior latex paint. This affords you more control over the final look. It’s also a method that lets you whitewash either unpainted or painted brick.
Whitewashing Unpainted Brick
Whitewashing unpainted brick with a natural finish gives you that close-to-transparent look that closely approximates true whitewash.
By thinning down white paint with water at either a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio, you allow the color and texture of the brick to show through.
Generally, all of the brick, including mortar, is whitewashed. But for more contrast, you can whitewash each brick, leaving the mortar uncoated.
Whitewashing Painted Brick
Whitewashing painted brick is a faux painting technique that creates the illusion of whitewash on top of a fireplace that has previously been painted white.
The paint is tinted. It is not thinned. A sponge exactly the size of the face of one brick is lightly dabbed on the brick.
The mortar is not sponged. By leaving the mortar free, you bring out the pattern of the brick once again—which, up to this point, has been hidden by paint.
Source: The Spruce