I have a kind of ugly (okay, eye of the beholder) brick fireplace that takes up half my living room. I’d like to plaster over it. Or skim coat it, or stucco ... something. I just want a better finish than simply painting it. A plaster/stucco looking finish.

I’ve cleaned it pretty well though there’s definitely some soot stain still.

We don’t use the fireplace, but I’m assuming one day someone else will want to so I don’t want to ruin it or render it unusable.

Here’s what it looks like now: enter image description here

My thinking is to cover just the red brick, not the interior.

I’m reasonably competent with home improvement in general, but I have no idea what I’m getting into here. What should I know before I had to the hardware store? (Or call them and ask them to assemble a box for curbside pickup, since we’re on COVID-19 lock down in CA)

  • Can you provide a picture of the fireplace?
    – JACK
    Mar 28, 2020 at 16:45
  • Added a photo. With terrible colors. It doesn’t feel as cluttered as it looks.
    – Amanda
    Mar 28, 2020 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


I would tile over or build a frame work and Sheetrock , if I wanted to minimize it I might remove the facing brick , I have done this a few times with inserts and used tile around the opening, I don’t like plaster or Sheetrock around fireplaces but with inserts the temps and smoke are better controlled this is the reason I use them.

  • See my comment for the actual solution I went with, but this answer confirmed what a lot of other people said: the best way to plaster the fireplace is not to plaster the fireplace.
    – Amanda
    Jul 12, 2021 at 16:09

It has been over a year that I've been "meaning to tackle this" and I finally decided a few weeks ago that plaster isn't it. Tiling over it would be cool, or framing it, but for now I just broke down and painted it.

I had cleaned it once with a paste of diatomaceous earth (which worked remarkably well on the soot), cleaned it again since that was months ago, and primed it with a coat of Zinsser BIN yesterday. This is one coat in:

Photo of brick fireplace with one coat of primer

I probably should have used a second coat of primer because I put a coat of paint down, and I can see that I'm going to need at least one more coat of paint. But we're getting there.

The consensus was definitely that trying to plaster it was going to be a bigger challenge and I'm ready to move on from this project.

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