How to Update a 1970s Stone Fireplace?

Tips on how to update your stone fireplace like a pro easily

Written by Camilla Moln. Updated on How to Update a 1970s Stone Fireplace

The 1970s were the years of very fascinating style in everything, from clothing to home decor and interior design. Those of you who remember this decade definitely can recall those disco platform shoes, pony cars, and yes, massive and bulky stone fireplaces!

Back then, such a fireplace was a symbol of status and style often taking the third part of your living room wall! But today, many owners of these furnishings find them too old-fashioned and want to somehow renovate them.

So how to update a stone fireplace that is over thirty years old, if you still want to keep it for warming yourself in front of a live fire during the winter evenings? We can suggest several rather easy and very handy ideas that will help you to make a choice!

Updating An Old Stone Fireplace. Step By Step Instruction For Framing

If you need to make a complete old stone fireplace makeover, you might want to frame it.

First step

It means that you will have to update every surface including the stone, the hearth, the surround, and the gas insert. It may sound too complicated but in fact, if you divide the whole process into separate steps, you will see that updating a stone fireplace this way is something you can even perform yourself without calling a professional!

However, we would recommend consulting with professionals before you start any renovation works.
The specialist must check the fireplace and ensure it is in a good working state.

With the old fireplaces, you never know what may happen. For instance, yours might need some cleaning, especially if it hasn’t been serviced for quite a long time.

Second step

Second, all the preparation works are done and the fireplace is ready for being updated, you can start with constructing the framing. Making a frame over the old stone fireplace is much simpler than removing the stone and creating a new level surface. This is why such a method remains among the most popular ones when it comes to fireplace updates.

Third step

Once the frame is ready and installed, you will need to make a chase for the cables in case you are going to have a TV over the fireplace. If not, then skip this step and proceed to installing the substrates. Those are the layers of material that sit beneath other materials. Usually, it is the cement backer board for the tile.

Fourth step

When you will be done with that, you will need to close up the whole construction with cladding. For that, shiplap will be the ideal material if your goal is to give your fireplace a crisp and modern look. Besides, this material can be easily painted which means you can pick up any color that will be fitting your fireplace room.

Fifth step

If you are planning to have tile over your fireplace after its renovation, installing it will be your next step. Then paint the hearth and complete the process with a few finishing touches, such as painting the gas insert with heat-resistant paint to refresh it, or adding a wooden wrap to get more color to the fireplace, especially if you used cool paint colors for painting it.

With that sort of renovation, even an old 70s fireplace will look modern and refreshed, and will easily fit any up-to-date interior design!


How to Remove Stone Fireplace Facade?

This is a radical way of a 70s fireplace makeover, of course, however, quite many people still stick to this one when they decide to somehow refresh the look of their fireplace.

Naturally, you need to take into consideration that this method takes quite a lot of time and effort, and also, it is very dirty since there is going to be plenty of dust during the process.

But if you still feel like doing this, then the stone removing procedure will have to be done in several steps.

  1. First of all, place a drop cloth around the fireplace to collect dust and catch the pieces of bricks and mortar. Also, remember to wear eye protection and a dust mask to keep yourself safe from debris and dust.
  2. Then, if your fireplace has the wooden mantelpiece, remove it. Using a chisel, place it at the spot where the wood and brick meet, and hit it with the hammer forcefully.
  3. After the mantle is set aside, look under its area to see if mortar holds the stones in place. Then place the chisel onto the mortar and hit it with the mallet right behind the stone. Keep on doing that until it cracks.
  4. Like that, keep on working the mortar from right to left until it gets loose around the stone. Then pry the stone out with all the mortar you managed to get loose. In the end, you will need to clear all the mortar and stone away.

And only when you are done with the stone facade, can you proceed to resurfacing the fireplace with whatever you want.

70s Fireplace Makeover. Ideas For Updating

So, you are the happy owner of a 1970s fireplace. Congratulations! But what if you decided to somehow renovate this piece of rustic glamour to make it look more up-to-date? Is replacing it completely the only available option?

Luckily, it is not. There are several good and easy to do ideas on how to update a stone fireplace even on your own. Of course, the method you will choose strongly hangs upon what final result you would like to have in the end:

  1. You can add concrete to your stone
  2. You can also use wooden paneling to create a more traditional look
  3. Using stone veneer is another solution
  4. To add some color, opt for tile
  5. Finally, you can always simply paint the stone

And of course, feel free to combine these methods with each other if you feel like doing that! Like this, your stone fireplace remodel mission will be way more successful. And now let’s see in detail how you can update your stone fireplace.

updating an stone fireplace
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Adding Concrete to the Stone Facade

Having a stone fireplace might be nice but massive stones add that unnecessary heft that most interiors simply don’t need. As a possible solution, you can resurface a stone fireplace by covering that masonry with the concrete to fill in the gaps. Like that, the stone will be covered and the fireplace will get a much nicer and smoother look.

By the way, using concrete will give a bunch of additional perks.

For instance, you can paint it over when it is dry if you feel like adding more color to your room.

Also, using concrete will anyway give your 1970s fireplace a crisp and refreshed look making it modern. Finally, it is simply easy to use!

Removing Stone Fireplace

This can not be called the simplest solution, however, if you are sure you do want something completely different and new than what you have now, removing an old 70’s fireplace will be the optimal way of rock fireplace makeover.

However, we would recommend inviting a professional to do that since the process may need specific knowledge and skills about how to deal with the fireplace that must be removed completely.

How to Remove Stone Fireplace Facade
Photo by Jonathan Beckman on Unsplash

Wooden Paneling For Updating Stone Fireplaces

Using wood panels can be an ideal and rather simple way to refinish your stone fireplace. This sort of makeover is always up-to-date, besides, it has multiple benefits. For instance, there are many ways of dressing up wood panels to give your fireplace the look you want.

White ones will be great for creating a farmhouse-style look, whereas mahogany panels are better for an old Cape Cod style.

Besides, panels are great for getting rid of stone quickly since they need no time for drying unlike concrete. And moreover, you will even be able to hang up artwork on them easily if you want!

70s Fireplace Makeover
Maël BALLAND: Pexels

Stone Veneers

Doing your 70s stone fireplace makeover with stone? Yep, that’s right! The veneers are also made of stone, but they are much lighter and cheaper than the stone your fireplace was originally made of. It means that you will be able to easily refresh its look with the minimal effort. Veneers are easy to install, they cost less, and they offer a wider range of style options, unlike the ordinary stone.

How to Cover a Concrete Wall with Stone Veneer | This Old HouseHow to Cover a Concrete Wall with Stone Veneer | This Old House

Want More Color? Opt For Tiles!

Thinking of adding more color to your fireplace? Then tile is your solution! It is very simple to install, and besides, you can choose from a great variety of colors and patterns.

In addition, maintaining tile is much easier than, for instance, stone. Not saying that tiling is way simpler and costs less than fireplace resurfacing with stone.

Simply Paint It!

In case you don’t feel like using any of the methods suggested above, there is one way you can go. Just repaint that stone! Of course, you will need to find the paint that is heat-resistant, but that is not that difficult to do these days. Besides, like that you will manage to pick up any color you want even if it’s going to be something crazy!

Painting a FireplacePainting a Fireplace

How to Update a Stone Fireplace. Safety Measures

Updating stone fireplaces is a responsible process, and you must take care of precautionary measures before you begin. Fireplaces can be the source of fire hazard if they are not installed, maintained, or updated properly.

This is why, if you are going to renovate your 70s fireplace, we strongly recommend inviting a professional to help you out, as well as looking up local fire codes.

But even if you feel confident enough to do it yourself, please be careful and search for the instructions on the reputable websites only!

Also, follow all the steps of the process without any exceptions! Remember that your safety and the safety of your house (and all who live there) is your number one priority!

Now that you are aware of how to update an old fireplace, and what methods can be used for that purpose, you will be able to easily renovate and refresh even the most old-fashioned one. However, do remember about your safety, and better invite professionals to help you out with the renovation or installation process so that everything will be done correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐How long does it take to replace a stone fireplace?

A 50-70 square feet fireplace takes one day to install.

⭐How much does updating a stone fireplace cost?

The price may vary depending on the type of stone and the size of the fireplace.

⭐Does refacing a stone fireplace require any special skills?

If you have already done similar kinds of work, then no special skills are needed. But if you never did anything similar, you’d better call a professional.

⭐What’s the price of refacing a stone fireplace?

Usually it is between 60 and 100 dollars per square foot.

Written by
Camilla is an experienced Consultant with more than 20 years of preparing professional articles for numerous online resources. She has done a tremendous job and has learned a lot during her career. Camilla will advise you on the latest trends and give amazing tips on how to decorate a house.
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20200418 - Whitewashing the 70’s fireplace20200418 - Whitewashing the 70’s fireplace