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How to Paint a Concrete Hearth to Look Like Stone

In my last post I showed you how I transformed my brick fireplace using a fake stone product called AirStone. If you would like to see how I did it you can find the post here – DIY Budget Fireplace Makeover.

DIY Stone Fireplace Makeover on a Buget

Today I am going to show you how you can paint a concrete hearth.

For Part 2 of my fireplace makeover – I painted the grey concrete hearth in front of the fireplace using a faux stone paint technique.  The original grey color of the concrete hearth looked off and the builder never finished off the edges so it was time to finally get it the way I always imagined.   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.

BEFORE: Fireplace Hearth

Grey slab with unfinished sides.  The dark streaks are just water that has not dried.

Fireplace-Hearth-Before

I never liked the gray and love the Autumn Mountain color of the AirStone so I went to work to get the two to look more in the same color family.

Faux Stone paint techniques

AFTER: Faux Stone Painted Fireplace Hearth

Faux paint Technique Stone

How to Paint a Fireplace Hearth

Hearth-painting-supplies-ne

supplies needed:

AirStone
AirStone Adhesive
Molding:  3/8″ x 1-1/4″ Painted Stop
Hack Saw
Miter box
Pencil
Craft paint – Beige, Grey, Brown, Yellow Ochre.  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.
Glaze – I used Martha Stewart Crafts Glaze, but any glazing liquid will work.  Valspar and Ralph Lauren each make one. 
Sea Sponge
Plate to mix paint on
Clear Matte Water Based Sealer  – a craft paint sealer will work fine. 
1/8” or small tipped paint brush
Wet Rag 
How to paint a fireplace hearth

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

The builder of my house never finished the edge around the hearth and left the floor very uneven.  Since the floor is uneven a few stones are slightly raised and a few are slightly lower.  In a way, this looks pretty natural.

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

How to Paint a Surface to Look Like Stone

Faux-Stone-Painting-techniq

1.  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.

How to create a stone surface with paint

2.  Dip a wet and then rung-out 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 turning the sponge all different ways as you work.

Stone - Faux painting tutorial

3. Keep dipping the sponge in your paint and continue dabbing the surface to mottle it with paint.  Note: You can see the stone color with which I was trying to coordinate the hearth color.

How to paint faux stone

4.  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 – it will look more natural.  If one spot looks too heavy, dab a damp rag over the surface to remove some of the paint.

5.  Once you like how it looks, apply 2 coats of matte water-based sealer to protect it. Let the first coat dry before applying the next.

How To Add the AirStone Stones to the Side of The Hearth

Faux-stone-paint-tips

1.  Figure out how many stones you will need 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.

Note:  You can add the stones around the hearth before painting the hearth.

Faux Stone Painting Tutorial

The 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-Stone-Paint-Technique
Faux Stone paint technique

All done. Now the fireplace transformation is complete and I am one very happy DIYer.

Image shows hearth getting painted and finished. Text overlay says Painted Hearth

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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!