How to Paint a Concrete Fireplace Hearth to Look Like Stone

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If the fireplace hearth in your home is made of grey concrete that doesn’t coordinate with the room’s color scheme, did you know you can paint it? You can paint anything when you know the right way to do it.

Concrete fireplace hearths are easy to paint so they look like natural stone. Follow this easy hearth painting tutorial that will make the fireplace look amazing, coordinate with your decor and last for years.

Even if you don’t have a fireplace in your home, the paint process I used can be used to paint any surface in your home to look like natural stone.

painted fireplace

I painted my red brick fireplace white, and a year later, I found new decorating inspiration and transformed the face of the fireplace to look like masonry using a faux stone product called AirStone.

I liked the way the stone fireplace makeover turned out so much that when I moved to a new house, I used AirStone again to create a stone fireplace with a white painted mantel.

grey concrete fireplace hearth before painting
Painted fireplace surround.

After painting the fireplace, I didn’t like the grey concrete hearth. The color looked off with the furnishings in the room. I also didn’t like the raw and unfinished edge of the concrete.

painted concrete fireplace hearth on family room
Painted Stone Fireplace Hearth

So I painted the grey concrete hearth in front of the fireplace using a faux stone paint technique.

With the help of some craft paint, sealer and AirStone, I was able to make the hearth look like it perfectly belongs with the new stone fireplace surround.

Fireplace Hearth Before Painting

Fireplace-Hearth-Before

Above is the rough grey concrete hearth slab with unfinished sides. The dark streaks are just water that has not dried.

Once I added the AirStone in the color Autumn Mountain to the fireplace, I went to work to get the fireplace stones and the hearth to be in the same color family.

Faux Stone paint techniques

AFTER: Faux Stone Painted Fireplace Hearth

Faux Stone paint technique

How to Paint a Fireplace Hearth

Hearth-painting-supplies-ne

supplies needed:

  • Latex paint – I used acrylic craft paint in the colors: Beige, Grey, Brown, Yellow Ochre.  Actual paint colors: Martha Stewart – Wet Cement, Apple Barrel Beachcomber Beige, Folk Art Yellow Ochre, Folk Art Butter Pecan, Apple Barrel Nutmeg Brown, Folk Art Linen
  • Paint Glazing Liquid – I used Martha Stewart Crafts Glaze, but any glazing liquid will work.  Valspar and Ralph Lauren each make one
  • AirStone
  • AirStone Adhesive
  • Moldling: 3/8″ x 1-1/4″ Painted Stop
  • Hack Saw
  • Miter Box
  • Pencil
  • Sea Sponge
  • Paper plate to mix paint on
  • Polycrylic Clear Water Based Sealer in a Matte Finish
  • Wet or Damp Rag
  • 1/8” or small tipped paint brush
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter’s tape
  • Optional: Grey primer
How to paint a fireplace hearth

Do You Need Special Paint for Fireplace Hearth?

When creating the faux stone finish on the concrete, I did not use special paint. I chose the paint colors to coordinate with my decor.

Depending on your color choices, you can use fireplace paint, acrylic, exterior or interior latex paint that is rated to withstand temperatures created from the fireplace. I used craft paint. These paints are only appropriate for the of a fireplace surround and hearth, not the interior firebox.

Once the paint was dry, I sealed it with a matte sealer. You do not want to use satin, semi-gloss or gloss sealer as it will dry shiny and will not look like natural stone.

Do You Need a Primer When Painting a Concrete Fireplace Hearth?

I did not use a primer when painting the hearth since the concrete was rough and porous, but if your concrete is smooth, shiny or has a sealer on it, you should use a grey tinted primer first. This can be purchased ready-made at the paint store.

To apply primer: Sand the surface with 100 grit sandpaper, clean the sanding debris. Roll or brush on one light coat of primer, let dry.

How to Paint a Concrete Hearth to Look Like Stone

The painting process is simply applying thin layers of the paint mix with a sea sponge and letting each layer dry. You will not need a paint roller or brush.

The sponging-on of paint will give the surface the mottled look of stone. In fact the more random the dabbed layers of paint are applied, the more realistic the painted look will look like real stone.

Time needed: 4 hours.

Step-by Step tutorial for Painting a Concrete Fireplace Hearth

  1. Clean Concrete Surface


    Using a scrub brush and TSP or dish soap, remove all dust, dirt, soot and grime from the surface.

  2. Place Paints on Plate to Mix


    Place a dollop of paint from each color of craft paint onto a plate. In the middle, add about 1/8 of a cup of glazing liquid.

    The ratio of the colors should be even, but if you would like to see more of one color, add more of that color to the plate.

    Setting up a fireplace hearth to paint.

  3. Dap Paint Onto Surface


    Dip a wet and then rung-out sea sponge into the paint a few times to mix the colors just a bit – not too much as you want to have color variations.

    Start dabbing the sponge onto the surface to create a thin layer of paint. Turn the sponge all different ways as you work.

    Doing this will vary the pattern of the sponge from repeating in a line which will not look like real stone.

    sea sponge used to paint grey concrete hearth

  4. Continue Dabbing Paint


    Keep dipping the sponge in your paint and continue dabbing the surface to mottle it with paint. Do not add too much paint. It is better to dab on thin coats and letting them dry. If you apply a coat too thick it may end up peeling off over time.

    Note Below: You can see the stone color with which I was trying to coordinate the hearth color.

    painting a hearth

  5. Add More Layers


    Let dry. Add a few more layers of paint following the same dabbing technique using the paint and glaze mixture until you are happy with how it looks.

    Dab the paint on an angle, not in straight lines and make sure to get into all the crevices – it will look more natural.

    If there is one spot where the paint looks too heavy, dab a damp rag over the surface to remove some of the paint.

    faux painted concrete hearth

  6. Apply Sealer


    Once you like how the painted finish looks, Let dry for at least 4 – 6 hours.

    Next apply 2 coats of matte water-based sealer to protect it. Let the first coat dry before applying the next.

How to Add AirStone to the Side of the Painted Hearth

The height of the AirStone was about 1/4” too short to match the height around the raw edge of the hearth.

Molding-around-hearth

To solve the problem, I added white trim molding around the hearth to lift up the AirStone so the top of the AirStone would be the same height as the hearth.

AirStone-Around Fireplace Hearth

I wanted to nail the trim molding to the floor, but the wood floor is not thick and is directly on concrete, so I decided to use Liquid Nails to attach the trim molding to the floor. Once that was secure, I added the stones using the AirStone adhesive.

AirStone-around-fireplace-h
Faux-stone-paint-tips

1.  Figure out how many stones you will need to cover the edge of the hearth and line them up. Cut any if necessary to fit.

I used two corner pieces, the rest of the stones were the flat edge type.

Apply the adhesive to the back and press into the side of the hearth, letting the adhesive ooze out of the top. Use a wet rag and your finger to clean the adhesive off the painted hearth.

Repeat on all the other stones and let dry.

Blogger of DIY Decorating blog Diane Henkler of In My Own Style

Helpful Tip:

If using AirStone around the hearth, you can add the stones before painting the concrete hearth.

Faux Stone Painting Tutorial

The AirStone adhesive is white. When it was dry, I went around with a thin tipped paint brush using cement colored paint to make the adhesive look a bit more like mortar.

Faux paint Technique Stone

All done. A new stone fireplace surround and painted hearth. Now the fireplace transformation is complete and I am one very happy DIYer.

To hide the firebox, I made a fireplace screen using an old window sash.

Faux-Stone-Paint-Technique
Before and after images of a concrete hearth that was painted.

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56 Comments

  1. So the window over the front of the fireplace…. is that painted? What do you have behind it?

  2. Hi Diane! Your cememt hearth looks great! I am unsure of one part of the process. When you dab your sponge into the 3 paint colours do you also dab it into the glaze? Thanks for the great tips!! Elaine

    1. Hi Elaine – Yes. When you dab into the paints on the plate, also dab in the center to grab some glaze. On the next fill up of paint, dab in another area on the plate and then the center to get a color variation. Every time you go back to fill up the sponge with paint and glaze, dab the sponge on a different area of the plate each time. This will create the slight color variation that will resemble stone. The more glaze you add, the more transparent the paint will look. More transparent layers will look more realistic than if you just grab the paint and sponge onto the hearth.

      If you see any area that looks too opaque, dab straight glaze over it to blend it in.

      Let me know if you have anymore questions.

  3. Hi Diane,
    I love your idea and would like to try it on my hearth. My question is that the cement hearth is already painted with what appears to be a cement paint. Can I paint over it?
    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Maggie

    1. Hi Maggie – Yes, you can paint over it the same way I did mine. Just make sure it is clean and free of grease and dirt. I would rub 100 grit sandpaper over the surface to rough it up and provide some tooth for the paint. Clean it and let dry and then paint.

      1. Great! Thank you! Giving it a try and will attempt to post before/after picks! Any suggestions on cleaning the field stone? Preferably without using chemicals.

  4. Hi Diane,

    I would like to paint my concrete fireplace hearth matt black. I’ll be applying it with a brush, not a sponge. How much glaze should I mix into the craft paint? Do I need the glaze at all? Everything I read about painting concrete makes the process seem so complicated and time consuming (clean, sand/scuff, prime several coats, paint several coats, seal several coats). But that’s for floors that need to withstand foot or vehicle traffic. I would love to try your method for my hearth, but am concerned it will either absorb too much paint or not enough and won’t adhere.

    Please respond asap. Our house is going on the market soon. The gray concrete looks terrible.

    Joanne

  5. How does the hearth hold up when the fireplace is in use? I want to paint my hearth too to match the faux stone I am using but am worried about it being flammable?

    1. Hi Jessi – I painted the hearth 4 years ago and we used the fireplace every winter, a lot. We never had a problem with the paint. The day we moved from the house, it looked just as good as the day I painted it. I used water-based craft paint and sealer which is not highly flammable like some oil based paints and sealers can be.

  6. I just painted my mantel and hearth following your instructions, it looks great. Thank you so much. Now I’m going to buy the same airstone and will try to post a picture. I was scared at first but just did itvandvit was easy . Thanks again

    1. Hi Christine – I love hearing success stories and that you just dove in and did it. Sometimes that is all it takes. :-) I just did another AirStone fireplace makeover. I will be posting about it on Monday April 18th. I used the same color stones, but a whole lot more of them this time.

      1. I’m going to follow how you restained your stairs now, just gonna dive in. Contractors want 8,000 to do it,,,not happening after I saw how you did it. Thank you for all the inspiration!

  7. Hi Diane,

    Great tutorial Diane. Than you so much for putting this together. Did you also make the mantel and corbel for the fireplace? Do you have any suggestions for such a project?

  8. I am refinshing my firepalce with airstone and ran across this post. I to have an ugly concrete hearth and as a bonus the mantel is also concrete. Where can I buy these paints? I am assuming a craft store? This is the perfect solution to what I need to do. i also like you idea on hiding the wires, I may have to give that a try also!

  9. Wow – I’d never seen this posting before. It amazes me what you can come up with to DIY in your home. I’m wondering, though, how you could bring yourself to leave all the improvements you’ve made when you find your new house!

    1. H Pauline – The key to success is prepping the surface correctly, using thin applications of the paint, and then sealing the paint with a good water-based sealer. If the tiles are stone, clean them well and let dry. If they are shiny tiles, you will need to sand them to rough up the surface so the paint has something to adhere to. Allow the paint to dry and cure for a few days before walking over it and applying the sealer. For floors, I like Zinsser Ultimate Polyurethane. It is water-based so it won’t change the color of your paints once applied. It also is super durable once it is cured.

  10. Your fireplace makeover looks beautiful! And I love your new screen-may I ask where you got it? Thanks!

  11. Hi Diane,

    I’ve just stumbled upon this fantastic tutorial. Your results are excellent and look very warm and natural.

    I would love to be able to do this with some very dated mottled grey slate tiles in my bathroom but am nervous given it is a wet area. Do you think it’d be crazy to attempt this? Thanks – Sophia

      1. Thanks for your reply Diane.
        They will get wet as my children use the bath in there daily and I need to mop once in a while too. However we always use bathmats so the tiles are usually never sopping wet.
        I suspect some type of paint could work quite well despite that though, as there’s a spot of old acrylic paint on one tile that has never budged despite cleaning efforts.
        Thanks – Sophie

  12. Love it! This is exactly what I am looking for. However, I still have one small hurdle to overcome- the red brick hearth. I can airstone the front faces like you did, but it will be so ugly if I just repaint the bricks to match. suggestions?

  13. Hi. I love your DIY fireplace! I have a question about the paint though. Does the glazing liquid make the bricks look shiny at all? Why use the glaze? I’m guessing it helps spread the paint around before drying. But, my concern is that any glaze will look shiny. Thanks in advance for your reply. :)

    1. Hi Nina – Glazing liquid is not shiny, it is matte. I have used many different brands and none have been shiny. Glaze is the term for a medium that when mixed with paint makes the paint more transparent so you can layer paints and create depth in your finish. It takes the opaqueness out of paint. It will not add shine. My hearth is matte – no shine at all.

      1. Thank you for explaining about glazes!! I didn’t know they help make the paint transparent. Wonderful info! I’m getting so motivated to try this. Thanks for your expertise and great instructions! :)

  14. Hi,
    I will be installing Airstone to our flat, gas builder grade fireplace which has nothing but 2″ white trim around the firebox; no hearth. I purchased the Spring Creek, bit now wish I had the Autumn color as my other decor is creamy/whites. However, since I’ve been reading every Pinterest post on Airstone, I learned of another who used concrete stain to change the color to her liking. I have emailed Airstone to inquire about painting or staining it, my only concern is heat damage.
    Do you use your fireplace much? Has your hearth paint held up to heat
    Thanks.
    Lovely job btw!
    Cathy

    1. Thanks Cathy – We use our fireplace quite a bit from Autumn to late Winter. The heat has not affected the painted hearth at all. Soot from the gas logs has gotten on it and I have simply wiped it off with a paper towel and dish detergent. No problems.

  15. Thanks for the clear tutorial. I just completed doing this on a wall cor a building I keep my snakes in. Do to the size of the walls I had to vary your technique a smidgebut it came out wwonderfully. Its people like you who make me like the Internet.

  16. Hi Diane!

    We’ve used airstone also in our house, it’s such an easy product to work with. I was wondering what the names are of the colors you used to paint your hearth? We have a fireplace in our living room that has layers of paint on it that would take decades to scrape off so I decided to try to paint it once again. :) I love the color combination you used here, it looks VERY realiztic and pretty!

    1. Hi Danielle – The list of paint is in the supplies needed, but here they are for you. I used Martha Stewart – Wet Cement, Apple Barrel Beachcomber Beige, Folk Art Yellow Ochre, Folk Art Butter Pecan, Apple Barrel Nutmeg Brown, Folk Art Linen.

      Don’t over mix, the colors should blend just a little bit. Test the color and your technique on paper first, then do it on your hearth. When you are painting the actual hearth – more layers of color will provide more color depth and make it appear more like real stone – so don’t be afraid to keep adding more paint until you get it to look the way you desire.

      It has held up perfectly. Two days ago a bird got caught in the chimney and ended up in the fireplace, but could not get out because I have the fireplace screen in front of the firebox when we are not using it. Our dog went nuts trying to get at the bird and was scratching hard on the hearth trying to get at the bird behind the screen. I thought she was going to ruin my paint job. I am happy to report – no damage at all :) Wish I had painted it years ago as the grey never went with my colors.

  17. Diane, I love what you did here. I have a functioning wood-burning fireplace that I use often and was wondering if the materials you used were high heat materials or could sustain high heat?

    1. Hi Gillian – Since I don’t have experience with a high heat situation, I can’t give you a definite answer. I have had my fireplace on all over the Winter – no problem with the painted hearth. I used acrylic paints. My hearth does not get hot, but it does get slightly warm. I am not sure how low your wood-burning fireplace sits to the area you want to paint. If it gets very hot, I am not sure if it could sustain high heat or not. Maybe experiment on a small hidden area first to test it out to see how it holds up.

  18. Hi Diane,

    You have an amazing talent! Just my kind of thing, making things you already have kook brand new. Going to attempt this for our really outdated fireplace, just wanted to know if part two will work for painting the ugly grey marble slat as well?

  19. Gosh you did one fabulous job on your fireplace. I had missed it until just now. I bet no one will guess it is faux stone! Looks extremely expensive.

  20. Oh my this is just gorgeous!!!! You did a fabulous job, just love your fireplace. I’ll be featuring it tomorrow :)
    XO
    Kristin

  21. Diane, it turned out beautifully. I know you are loving it. I would like to suggest one tip about painting the concrete. Before using the sea sponge it is a good idea to lightly wet the sponge and get all excess water out of it before applying the color. It will make the sponge easier to work with from the start. What project is next?

    1. Hi Gina – Thanks for bringing up the wet sponge – I do wet it, just forgot to add that in the steps :) I have had that sponge for over 18 years – it is the best. I have had other seas sponges that get all soft and fall apart. As far as my next project – lots of painted furniture. My oldest is moving into an apartment and I am making over all the hand me downs for her to use.

  22. Wow, it looks awesome! I’m amazed by your faux stone paint technique, I would have never come up with that combination of colors but it looks so realistic! I love how the color turned out!

  23. I can’t wait to try it. You always introduce the best products. Thank you as I had given up on ever having my fireplace redone!

  24. This is absolutely brilliant, Diane! We have a fireplace in our family room and it is very very dated! It could use a big facelift.
    What a beautiful inspiration your fireplace is. I wish I could order one just like it, or make it!!!
    Please join TUTORIALS TIPS AND TIDBITS, my weekly linky party. Linky goes live Wednesday evening at 8:00. I would love your wonderful blog and masterful fireplace to join us!!!!!
    KUDOS TO YOU!