How To Update An Old Stone Fireplace

To date, many homes still have the old fireplaces that existed in the 1970s. This is because we still have many families who enjoy the warmth of a natural fire.

Most people however wish to update these fireplaces for a modern look to avoid seeing the bulky stones that were used to make a fireplace during that era.

How to make a 1970s stone fireplace look modern

Here is how to go about it;

Get professional help

Due to the nature of the 1970s stone fireplace, it is highly recommended that homeowners get professional help when updating their fireplaces to ensure it is done safely and correctly.

In determining how to update a 1970s stone fireplace, the existing features of such a fireplace and its dimensions must be brought into consideration. The 1970s stone fireplaces have diverse features, the commonest of them being a lot of stone.

Remove the stones

Remove some stones, particularly those on the sides of the fireplace and those above the fireplace and replace them with beautiful wooden shelves.

Alternatively, fix what looks like large cabinet doors over the sides of the fireplace that are covered with stone.

These fake cabinet doors would then cover the stones, giving the fireplace a new look. They can be extended all the way to the ceiling and painted to match the color of your walls or can be painted with a contrasting color that blends in with the color of your walls.

Paint the stone

Painting the stone is an option. The safest paint color options for a stone fireplace are neutral colors as they tend to work with any color scheme.

Go for shades such as grey, white, off-white, ivory or even creams. Varying tones of grey usually work well with most stone fireplaces.

For painting, try using paint applicators that are best suited for the job. Most stone fireplaces have rough exteriors and using paint rollers gives them an excellent priming.

Covering a stone fireplace with paint without using proper paint applicators leads to improper cover.

Remove or modify the glass

Some of these fireplaces have large mirrors over them. In this case a homeowner could consider removing the mirror either by themselves or professionally.

You could also opt to frame it out with bright molding. Another option is to hang a picture frame or a beautiful painting over the mirror.

You could also tape off patterns and paint using different colors, then leave the rest of the spaces as mirror.

You could also frame the mirror with wood. If you choose to remove the mirror by yourself, you could tape it all over by running tape down the face of the mirror.

This may require a lot of tape depending on the size of the mirror. Tap it lightly using a wrecking bar until it breaks in pieces.

This helps to keep it from shattering all over the room. Be sure to be clad in protective clothing from head to toe. Once done, carefully place all the broken glass into a box or container for safe disposal.

You can then choose what to do with the bare wall. You could opt to tile it. You could also choose to paint it. If the now bare wall is made of stone, you could whitewash it.

Use quality modern materials

Add plants to the fireplace mantel. If your stone is in good condition, you could remove the old mantel and replace it with a new one.

A salvaged vintage mantel is a good option as it adds more life to the fireplace. You could also use pine boards to dress the fireplace.

Granite slab is also a great way of giving your stone fireplace a new lease of life. Consider the option of staining the stone using concrete stain. Use wood paneling or add concrete to the stone. You could also use tiles or a stone veneer.

Paint your wall

Paint the entire wall of your space with a different color and leave the fireplace as it is. This can tremendously change the overall appearance of your fireplace. Sometimes the color of the paint on the wall happens not to work with the fireplace.

Post photos

Posting a photo of your stone fireplace on professional internet sites and seeking advice on how to update it based on its features is also a great option.

You are bound to get amazing ideas that will leave you spoilt of choice on what to settle for. The possibilities of what you can do to modify your stone fireplace are endless.

How to reface a fireplace 

Refacing a fireplace is an alternative that many homeowners opt for when they decide to do a complete makeover of their fireplace.

It is cost effective and can save a homeowner a lot of money. Usually, refacing comes in when the fireplace is functioning properly and all you want is to change its surface appearance.

Find out the rules

Start by finding out the rules and regulations pertaining to such an exercise. You can get these from your local construction authorities.

Usually, they will contain fire codes and other related regulations that you need to observe when doing the refacing.

Evaluate the condition of your fireplace

Evaluating the state of your fireplace will help determine with accuracy what you need before making any modifications to it.

You may find your fireplace only needs a few repairs and some sprucing up, or you may find it is not in a good condition but is dilapidated to a point that only a complete makeover will do.

Decide whether to do the refacing yourself or whether to hire a professional, particularly if you lack construction skills. 

Select the ideal materials 

Decide on the materials to use in the refacing exercise. There is a wide range of options to choose from: paint, bricks, granite, tiles, marble, exotic wood panels, and even concrete.

You could also settle for inserts. Get professional help in finding the most suitable inserts for your fireplace.

They are a great choice for a fireplace that is in very bad condition. Masonry veneer, also referred to as ‘thin stone’ or ‘thin brick’ is yet another option.

They look like real brick or real stone but are thinner and have less weight. Wood however is not recommended for use in refacing a fireplace due to its combustible nature.

Written by our editor Liberty Njiru