How to Stucco a Brick Fireplace
Stucco is a building material made from sand, Portland cement, lime and water. While it shares many characteristics with plaster, stucco is primarily meant for outdoor use, while plaster is used indoors. For homeowners dealing with old or crumbling brick fireplaces, stucco is the perfect material for transforming the look of the fireplace. Because both brick and stucco are considered masonry products, they bond together well without the need for extensive preparations.
Inspect your brick fireplace. Look for loose stones or crumbling sections, and remove as much of the loose material as you can by hand. Brush the brick with a wire brush to remove remaining debris, then vacuum to pick up dust.
Spray the brick fireplace using a garden hose until it is completely wet. Wait a few minutes and then spray it again to moisten areas you may have missed. Stucco sticks better to wet masonry than it does to dry.
Mix your stucco with water according to the directions on the bag, using a wheelbarrow and stirring stick or scrap lumber. When properly mixed, stucco has the consistency of thick paste or peanut butter.
Apply a 3/8-inch base coat of stucco to the entire fireplace with your trowel. This coat will act as a base for your finish coat, so there's no need to worry about texture or appearance.
Wait 30 minutes for the stucco to set, then lightly scratch the surface with your plasterer's rake. The grooves created by the rake help support the second coat of stucco. Allow this base coat to dry for 48 hours before proceeding.
Mix another batch of stucco according to the directions on the package. Apply a 1/8-inch coat using your trowel. Vary the angle and pressure of your trowel to create unique textures and finishes.
Spray the stucco with water once or twice a day over the next three days. This helps it dry more slowly, which reduces cracking.
- If your brick fireplace is painted, use a sandblaster to remove paint before applying stucco. Stucco won't bond well with paint.
- Wait 90 days after application before painting new stucco.
Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.
- stucco texture image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com