DIY Fireplace Makeover on a Budget Using AirStone

If you have been following my blog for awhile you may recall decorating photos that I have posted about what I call the “House In My Head”.  It is the house I envision as the “perfect for me” house.  It isn’t high-end, big, or trendy – just a house that has all the components to fit with my personal style. The DIY project I completed for this post is getting that “house in my head” a little closer to reality.

The House In My Head – has a stone fireplace.

Stone-Fireplaces

Photo Credits: House and Home, Pretty and Posies, HGTV

The House in my Reality – has a brick fireplace.  I am doing a DIY Fireplace Makeover.

BEFORE

Fireplace Makeover Ideas

I gave it a semi-makeover about 8 years ago by painting it white.

How to Paint a-Brick-Fireplace

Back in April I was in Lowes – like I am what seems like everyday and saw a display for a new product called AirStone – OMG!!! I got so excited and had to learn more.

I watched the video on the display and smiled big time – a stone fireplace could be mine and no stone mason or special skills needed – plus I could afford it on my limited decorating budget!

Airstone Makes a DIY Fireplace Makeover on a budget a Reality!

Boxes-of-AirStone

If you can ice a cupcake and cut a French baguette in half with a bread knife then you have all the skills you need to create a stone façade just about anywhere in your home.

I gathered all the pamphlets to read when I got home. I went to the AirStone website and knew this would finally be my way to get a stone fireplace.

I did it this week – it took about 3 hours from start to finish.

AFTER

DIY Stone Fireplace Makeover

AirStone comes in two colors – I used Autumn Mountain. It feels like real stone, but is much lighter. It does not feel like foam or cheap versions of stone facades.

Airstone-Colors-Spring-Cree

supplies needed:

AirStone – You can buy AirStone at select Lowes stores.  I needed  1 box Flat Edge and 1 box Corner Edge
1 tub of AirStone Adhesive
Putty Knife
Hack Saw with a new blade
Pencil
Wet Rag and warm water

Supplies-Needed for DIY Fireplace Makeover

1.  Clean the surface that you will be applying the stones to and let dry.

2.  AirStone comes in 3 different edges – Natural Edge – use where the side of the stone will be exposed. Flat and Corner stones.  There are also wide stones in each box so that you can create a realistic stone facade.

AirStone-types of edges

3.  Remove the stones from the boxes so they can acclimate to the air temperature as well as allow you to see the variety of shades in each box. You want to mix up the shades to create a realistic look.  There are little bumps on the sides of some stones.  Scrape them off – they are left over from the molding process.

4. Figure out your general placement. I stacked stones to see how the mix of size and color variation would look before applying them.  You do not want the edges of the stones to line up – cut them with a hack saw if necessary to vary where the edges fall.  I drew black lines on the photo below to show you where they should be cut.

How to makeover a fireplace using Stone

5. For a wall installation you may not need corner stones, but for my fireplace I needed them to go around the inner edge.  AirStone has a “Class A” fire rating and is safe to use around typical fireplaces.

Painted-Brick Fireplace-Before

When I got to the sides of the fireplace, I applied the corner pieces first and then added the rest of the stones to fill the sides,  cutting to vary the length of each.  When the front was covered, I added stones to the inside corner to make them even. You can see this in the last photo of the post.

Fireplace Makeover Ideas

6. Cutting the stones is as easy as cutting a crusty French baguette, but instead of a bread knife you use a hacksaw with a new blade.

How to cut AirStone

7. Use a pencil to mark the size stone you need.

Marking-where-to-cut-AirStone

8. Cut it on the face side of the stone, not the back side.  It is easy to cut.

How-to-cut-AirStone

9. For a wall installation start at the ground level and work horizontally. Make sure the first row is level, for it will be the foundation for all the rows above it.   I started to do this and realized when I got to the top of the fireplace – the last stone may not fit and I wanted the top stones to be whole since this is the most visible section of the facade.

Instead, I started at the top and worked down, so the top stones would be the perfect fit. Doing it this way provided a little bit of a challenge, but I figured out how to get around it so the stones would not slip down as they dried.

Stone Fireplace makeover using AirStone

10. To attach the stones  – use a putty knife and a thick coat of adhesive to the back of the stone like you are icing a cupcake, not buttering bread. Then press the stone firmly onto the wall allowing adhesive to compress.  If you get adhesive on a stone – use a wet rag and warm water to clean it off.

I placed all of the stones across the opening of the fireplace, then pushed them up since they did slip down a bit.

Fireplace makeover on a budget

11.  I added a piece of dollar store foam board cut a little larger than the firebox opening.  Make sure it is a snug fit and even bows a bit so it holds up the stones while they dry.

Fireplace Makeover on a Budget

Below:  You can see a few of the wider stones that come in each box that I added. Please ignore the dirty fireplace.  :)   I will get to that task eventually.

Firepalce makeover using AirStone

DIY Stone Fireplace makeover

12.  Once I got to the bottom of each side of the firebox, I used scraps of the stone to hold the last stone up until I got a few pieces of face stone cut to fit the space.  (If I had started from the bottom up – this gap would have been at the top, so you can see why I installed the stone – top down.    Here at the bottom – if it is not perfect – it does not matter as much.

How to make over a fireplace with stone

On Monday I will show you Part Two of my fireplace transformation:   How I made over the grey hearth stone that the builder of my house never finished off.

AirStone Fireplace Makeover

This photo shows how I added stones to the inside corner edges of the firebox to make each side even and a sneak peek at the hearth makeover in progress.

Here is a link on how I painted the hearth to go with the AirStone:   How to Paint a Fireplace Hearth

How to add stone over a brick fireplace

For more information about AirStone, check out their site – it has many tips and videos that show just how easy and affordable it is to create a stone facade anywhere in your home.

Airstone DIY  Fireplace Makeover

Related Posts:

How to Make a Window Sash Fireplace Screen

How To Paint a Fireplace Hearth

 

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Saw your link at addicted2decorating. Love the fireplace makeover! I’ve been thinking about doing something with my brick fireplace too, which is similar to yours. Love the DIY stone that you can cut with a hacksaw!

  2. says

    Diane,
    You never stop amazing me! Beautiful fireplace!!! You are willing to take a “risk” in trying new ways to achieve what’s in our heads. I commend you!
    Thanks for letting us know about this wonderful product.

  3. Suzy says

    i have been wanting to do something like this forever…but DH has been resistant–UNTIL NOW! thanks to you and your awesome tutorial, he gave me thumbs up to try this on our boring builder tiled fireplace surround (and, he even agreed to help!). if all goes well, i plan to tackle two large archways in my great room as well! EXCELLENT JOB!! thank you!

  4. says

    Wonderful post with easy to digest information! I think this is exactly the type of product we have been searching for to reface our fireplace; heading to the manufacture website when I finish here. Since I haven’t seen this at my Lowes maybe we aren’t one of the “select” ones but you’d think someone in driving distance would carry this! Thank you so much for having the same less the purty brick fireplace surround as I do and figuring out **our** solution :) We’ve already built a “wood slipcover” for the mantel and adding moulding above the fireplace but that plain brick was still harshing any design upgrade we came up with.

    Robin
    happilyhomeafter.blogspot.com

  5. says

    that looks crazy-good! i’d love to try that on my mammoth brick fireplace! i have an arched opening so i don’t know if it would be super complicated.

  6. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Diane!!!!

    Your are so “BRAVE”. What a great job and it only took 3 hours? Holy Moly girl…. you are just brilliant. No way could I do that, it would take me 3 weeks to get up enough nerve to try to do this.

    Wow! Spectacular is just one of the many words for now. And most of all, I am happy that you are happy!

  7. says

    Popping in from the Tatertots & Jello link party…and Wow! That is amazing! I don’t have fireplace, but I wonder if I could make a faux one on the wall with this product and hang a mantle…hmmmm…you’ve just inspired me!!!

  8. gmm says

    This was inspirational! I’m an old dog and I’m learning some new tricks. Thank you for helping me see what is possible. p.s. Every time I see your little picture I think of Patti Lupone and I hear her gorgeous voice belting out a broadway ballad— do other people tell you this or am I the only one ?

  9. dawn says

    I just realized I have the same exact fireplace surround as you! Mine has not been painted although I’m toying with the idea….and now toying with the stone idea as well. I don’t like my fireplace I just am not sure exactly what to do with it. Now I can see it’s potential!

  10. Linda in AZ * says

    *** Just “found” you by “happy accident”~~~~ WOW! You are ONE… TALENTED… DIYer, that’s for SURE!!!

    I’ve been back-reading mannnny of your old blogs and you just amaze me… (A DIYer I am NOT! Dang it all!)…

    ANYhoooo, I signed up to receive your postings by e-mail, and look forward to reading & enjoying your blog even more!

    Thanks and best,

    Linda in AZ *
    bellesmom1234@comcast.net

  11. says

    This looks fantastic Diane! I am trying to find a solution to my ‘ugly brown brick fireplace with heater’ as we’re renting! Wonder if I could make a template out of MDF and use Airstone on the MDF for a non permanent facade. Although MDF might not work as heater surround…. Hmmm. Anyway thanks for the tutorial!

    Maddy

  12. says

    The fireplace looks ah-mazing! What a cool product, and your tutorial is so easy to follow! I think the manufacturers should include a link to your website in their instruction manual. :) Thanks for sharing!

  13. says

    Very cool! I had a faux fireplace at my old house and this would have been a great fixup for it. Unfortunately my new house doesn’t have anything like that. But it was fun seeing your tutorial.

  14. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    Your fireplace looks wonderful Diane! And you’re not the only one with a house in your head!

  15. says

    Diane – my husband is going to KILL me. Well, actually he may come after you! If I come to him with ONE more DIY project, I’m toast!! That looks freaking AWESOME! I’ve never seen that at Lowe’s but I’ll be looking for it the next time I’m there! I have black/brown granite 12×12 tiles around mine and looks as crappy as crappy can be!

    Thanks for sharing that!

    • says

      Hi Jaye-

      Sounds like your husband doesn’t mind doing one or two of the projects you bring him – that makes him a keeper :) Just tell your him that by reading blogs and getting so many DIY project ideas that you are actually saving lots of money – no need to hire a contractor or buy super expensive materials. Maybe he will love you for thinking of the bottom line as you decorate your house into the home of your dreams.

      Right now AirStone is only sold at select Lowes stores. When I first saw it they had a big display with a video on the main aisle. Now it is over on the construction side of the store near the concrete. No display anymore – just the boxes on the shelves.

  16. says

    This is amazing- great job! I’m so impressed that it looks so much like real stone and that you did this yourself. Fabulous!

  17. Megan says

    This looks wonderful! I have a full wall brick fireplace that I hate. You said you want to tackle a whole wall – I can provide! :)

  18. sb+hoffman says

    I like your fireplace update Did you use an old window and add shelf brackets for suuport for the screen you show? Looks great!

  19. Suzy says

    Hi again!

    Okay, I stopped in Lowe’s today to check it out and I’m sold. Didn’t pull the trigger yet (wanted to talk with Hubs one last time). He did want me to ask you a couple of questions though. First, would you mind sharing the dimensions of your FP (size of firebox opening and overall size of entire FP). Second, did you have a lot of product left over?

    I’m really excited about tackling this over the weekend. Thanks so much for sharing your DIY bravery with us. You’ve given me the confidence to go for it!

    • says

      Hi Suzy-

      The dimensions of my fireplace: 4′ x 3′. The firebox opening: is 32″ x 27″. I used two boxes. 1 box flat and 1 box corner stones. I did not need the natural edge. I had a few pieces left from each box. 1 bucket of adhesive will be plenty. It is so easy to install – truly like icing cupcakes and cutting a baguette :)

      • Suzy says

        Thanks for answering my questions! Our FP is 4′x6′ – so I purchased one big box and two small boxes of flat. Because of the venting inside our FP box, we won’t be using the corner pieces. Hubs and son are going fishing tomorrow in the AM and I hope to have this project done by the time they return. I’ve prepped all my stone (removed the little “bumps” and laid out my pattern). I’m both nervous and excited.

        I really appreciate all your help with this. Hope mine looks as great as yours when I’m done!

  20. says

    Hey Diane, I have the EXACT same problem, but my fireplace is grey brick and I want stone. I saw that product on a show on HGTV and then saw it at the store, I am seriously considering using it. I think the color was a bit dull when I saw it at the store, maybe the lighting, I love it in your place but I am not going to have white around it like yours. Really cool, I may just have to give it a try!

  21. Kimberly Bruhn says

    Just what I was looking for!!! We need something for behind/above our cooktop and I think this would work! Thanks for the great tutorial…yours looks fab!

  22. says

    Diane! Beautiful job! What an awesome product. I’ve never heard of it, so thanks for the introduction. Definitely something worth checking out! I’m going to include a link back to you in this week’s highlights! ;) Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Hi Teri -

      Thanks for the pin XO. Do you know that you can add a Pin button to your browser bar if you use Firefox. It lets you pin anything regardless of the website having a pin button or not. It is very easy to add and worth using Firefox :)

      Go to: http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/ You can also find the page under “About” on your Pinterest page – Click on “Pin It Button”. To install the “Pin It” button in Firefox:

      Display your Bookmarks Bar by clicking View > Toolbars > Bookmarks Toolbar
      Drag the “Pin It” button to your Bookmarks Toolbar
      When you are browsing the web, push the “Pin It” button to pin an image

      Once installed in your browser, the “Pin It” button lets you grab an image from any website and add it to one of your pinboards. When you pin from a website, we automatically grab the source link so we can credit the original creator.

  23. Brenda says

    Love the fireplace. Actually got interested in AirStone when planning for a kitchen backsplash. We haven’t started the project yet. Wanted your input on how easy you thought this would be to keep clean in a kitchen environment. Husband is even wanting to consider for shower remodel. Any thoughts???

    • says

      Hi Brenda -
      It would look great in a kitchen and I think if it wasn’t right behind the stove it would work. The stones feel like real stone and are porous. I am not sure if oil splattered on it – if it would leave a stain or oil mark, even after cleaning it off. I would want to test it first to make sure. I got some adhesive on the front of a few of the stones and it wiped right off, even after being on for a while. I am not sure if it would work in a shower. Outside of it – yes – but not inside – too humid and moist.

  24. says

    This looks absolutely fabulous. I would like to try this product on a long wall in our 2nd living area. Not sure if it is lightweight enough for that, but I sure do love the texture!

    • says

      Hi Vicki – It is lightweight – not like foam lightweight – but still very lightweight. If you live near a Lowes that carries it – you should check out how it feels so you get a better idea if it will work or not on your wall. It looks great on a wall. Check out the videos on the airstone.com site where they show many different applications.

  25. Beth says

    I NEED an exposed brick wall …. my sanity needs some character in this place!

    I’ve read the info on this product and think it will work, though I do wish they had traditional “red” brick.

    I can’t find a cost for this anywhere though. None of the Lowes in my area carry it, the closest is 3 hours away. I’d like to get an approximate cost.

  26. says

    Oh, I really love fireplaces. They bring that warm aura in a house aside from really bringing warmth during the winter season. You really did a great job on this. I never thought that one can DIY something like this. This absolutely gives me more courage to do such things on my own. You made it really look so easy, but I suppose it is not. However, it will definitely be worth a try. Thank you.

  27. says

    Fireplace makes the atmosphere hot as well as it also add beauty to the home. You have shared some nice styles of fireplace. Thanks for the share.

  28. BIll Taber says

    Great job on the fireplace. My young designer daughter and I will be doing something simular in the very near future. First up – adding some stone to the front of the house, like on the lower half of the pillars in front. One piece of information I can not find is; What are the lengths of the corner piece legs? Again, great job. You give the less adventuresome of us courage.

    • says

      Thanks Bill -

      I loved working with Airstone – it was so easy. I am looking forward to adding it to the wall above my fireplace now. It will look wonderful on the lower half of pillars and will be a fun dad/designer daughter project :) Once the project is complete – make sure you upload some photos on the Airstone site. The corner pieces are approx. 3″ x 7″.

  29. Dawn says

    Love your fireplace makeover! It is gorgeous. I have green, flat, shiny slate-like material around mine – - do you think this product would work or would mine be too slippery?

    • says

      Hi Dawn – The only surface it won’t work on are surfaces that are exposed to lots of moisture. It works over tile, but to be sure it can’t hurt to rough up the shiny tile a bit with some very coarse sandpaper. This will give the adhesive something to grab on to. Clean off the grit with a tack cloth before applying the AirStone adhesive.

      • Bonnie says

        You can use it outside too. In areas where there is moisture or humidity, you need to use a different adhesive. Airstone recommends Loctite PL Premium Construction adhesive for such installations.

        • says

          Hi Bonnie – Thanks for sharing about the exterior adhesive. I would love to make a BBQ grilling area and bar outside with a stone wall. Oh – the possibilities are endless on how to use AirStone. :)

  30. Jenny says

    I am thinking about doing the same to mine, but have simple white tiles to cover. How did you paint your hearth? We will be left with tiles on the floor that run flush with our wood flooring. I wondered if I could paint it but your’s looks like you gave it a faux finish. Very impressive!

  31. lynmarie0123 says

    OMG! you did an amazing amazing job on your f-place, looks professionally done, its gorgeous! Congrats. This has now inspired me to continue on with my airstone project. LOVE IT!!!

  32. says

    Now that’s a clever solution! So much of what I see on Pinterest is vain or silly. This post makes it worthwhile to wade through the others. Good Work!

  33. Erin says

    Do you know why Airstone company does not recommend placing this on a horizontal surface, such as the hearth?? I really wanted the hearth and fireplace to match. I can’t find anything on their website as to why they do not recommend this.

    • says

      Hi Erin – I am not certain, but I think it is because if someone stepped or sat on it, it may break or crack. When it is vertically stacked – it doesn’t get any pressure put on it.

  34. MONICA says

    We just bought a “fancy” house and we aren’t fancy! This might help us with the marble fireplace surround!!! I wonder???

    • says

      Hi Bran – Yes, you can use AirStone on exteriors, but you need to use an exterior adhesive, not the AirStone adhesive that is only for interiors.

  35. christine says

    Love this fireplace!! Great job! One question, are you.going to post part 2 of how you did the gray hearth? Im only asking because my fireplace has 4×4 red bricks there and I’m looking for a way to make it smooth like you did so I can paint it! I have 2 fireplaces that are exactly the same so Im looking forward to doing this project! Thank you again!

  36. Stephanie says

    This is amazing!!! I’ve been looking for a fix for my ugly red brick fireplace for quite some time and this looks so doable!! Thanks for the excellent idea!!

  37. Jean says

    Diane….your detailed explanations and photos are great! Question…I am assuming that you used the “corner” pieces where the face of the bricks turn and go “inside” the opening. Then, the straight pieces went on the “front”. I have a brick hearth as well, not sure what materials to use to cover them…..I get the idea that the stone is not a good idea.

  38. Christine says

    Hi, I am planning on doing this to my fireplace next weekend. I currently have pink ceramic tile on my surround (where you had the brick). I noticed that you applied this product directly over the brick – do you think this product can be applied directly on the tile or should I remove the tile first?
    Thanks!
    Christine

    • says

      Hi Christine -

      If the tile is slick and shiny, I would rough it up with 60 grit sandpaper and then clean it well. A 5-10 minute going over with a sanding block will be fine. You will then be able to place the AirStone right over the tile. Roughing up the tile will help the adhesive have something to grab onto.

  39. Terry & Brenda says

    WE would like to cover the wood front of our freplace in our camper it sits on the back wall in the middle of the wall. Will this stone hole up & not crack if we either use the Air Stone tub adhesive or would the tube type work as good & will either hold the stone in place. Will the stones do ok and stay on the wood we stick it to. Our fire place is gas with life like ceramic logs. We probably not use it very little if at all. We like the stone look rather then the wood. Some of the units come with a stone front but ours did not & I am waiting to get up with the Rv company to see what type of stone they use on the camper units. If they use the same type than we would like to do it ourselves becasue it is a small amout that we would need and not sure if we can get it form them at a reasonable cost. If it is the same type of product what is your warrenty on this product if we use it this way? Would you respond with a email thei our address please on this matter. Thank you Was not sure what to use for website

  40. Charlotte says

    Can this product be used for the bottom half of exterior craftsman style pillars and does it come in more than 3 colors?

  41. shaina says

    I was just searching online for tips for using airstone on a fireplace and found your blog. We have the exact same fireplace!! And that is the color of stone I chose too. I will report back-thanks for the tips!

  42. Bill says

    AireStone now offers three colors and according to their website it is for interior and exterior use. I just did the bottom portion of my porch pillars (like Charlotte wants to do) and – according to my neighbors – it looks great. Naturally, the first thing I notice are the places I messed up. The only things you have to worry about are the type of adhesive you use and what backing material you stick it to. I used cement backer board. The AirStone website has most of the information you need.

    • says

      Thanks Bill for sharing this info. When I did my fireplace there were only two colors to choose from. I need to go over to their site and see what the new color is. I bet your porch pillars look great – AirStone is one fantastic product.

  43. Inga says

    Hi, this looks fantastic! I was wondering what the screen is you are using to cover the hole? I am from uk, we have an ugly fireplace that we don’t use, and something like that would be so useful! Thank you, Inga

  44. Tiffany Richey says

    What did you use for the hearth? I’ve applied my stone, but don’t know what to use on the flat surface. Looked at lowes paving stones, not sure I want to go that route. Did you have your “slab” cut to fit? Thanks for the fab instructions!!!

    Tiffany

  45. Mia says

    This is exactly what my fireplace looks like too. Thank you for your post because I really didn’t know how to change mine. How did you remove the brass? My fireplace was orginially a real working fireplace which was converted into a gas fireplace. We don’t use it because it does provide heat since the heat escape through the chimney. The chimney shoot door is closed but it not sealed so during the winter our living is really cold because of this fireplace. We tape up the fireplace in the winter to reduce heat lost and prevent cold air from the fireplace. Any suggest?

    • says

      Hi Mia – To remove the brass fireplace doors, we simply unscrewed it from the brick. Open the doors and look behind your brass doors. There is probably big turn screws to loosen. It was very easy to do. To cover it in the winter, you could cut a plywood board that fits snugly into the opening. Decoratively paint it with a stencil. Attach insulation behind it. This would help keep the cold out and make the fix pretty. I made a fireplace screen using a window sash. It is decorative only, but it may give you an idea. Here is the link to that post: http://inmyownstyle.com/2011/03/how-to-make-a-fireplace-screen-using-a-window-sash.html

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