I love the look of concrete and it’s a great way to add an industrial or modern vibe to a room. However, adding a solid concrete wall or fireplace after the fact is usually not an option. But there is a way to achieve a really nice concrete look using Venetian plaster.
In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how I created a concrete look on one of the fireplaces in my sister-in-law’s house using Venetian plaster.
Use the Best Plaster
Before starting a plaster project, it’s important that you use the best product possible to ensure you get the best results.
Last year when I was planning out plaster range hood, I discovered FirmoLux. It’s an authentic plaster made from lime, marble, and other minerals and natural elements. You can order it online from VenetianPlaster.it and even get it tinted to match popular paint colors from Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Farrow & Ball.
We were so happy with the results of our plaster hood, that it was a no-brainer to use it again for this fireplace.
Tools and Materials
Here’s everything I used for this project:
- FirmoLux Marmorino Piatto tinted with Benjamin Moore Cement Gray
- FirmoLux Marmorino Piatto tinted with Sherwin Williams Pure White
- Anchor Primer
- 12 inch Hawk
- 12 inch Trowel
Step 1: Apply Anchor Primer
Since this application was done over exiting drywall, I used Anchor Primer to help the plaster stick to the surface. Before applying the primer, I taped off all of the edges to create a clean line between the fireplace and walls.
I used a smooth roller to apply an even coat over the entire area and let it dry overnight.
Step 2: Apply First Coat of Plaster
I decided to work on one side of the fireplace at a time. I started with the far left side. I loaded my hawk with a generous amount of the Cement Gray plaster and started in the upper right corner.
I applied a thin coat of plaster by holding the trowel at about a 15-degree angle. Then I increased the angle to about 30 degrees to spread the plaster with varying lengths of strokes. I repeated this until I had an even coat on the side I was working on. Then I did the same for the other two sides.
The wet plaster will be much darker than the actual color. So don’t panic thinking that you order the wrong color or they tinted it incorrectly. As it dries, it will get lighter.
I let the first coat dry overnight.
Step 3: Apply Second Coat
The next day, I applied the second coat of Venetian plaster.
The purpose of the second coat is to add texture and shade variation.
I added the second coat just like the first, but to add texture I used a skipping motion on the second pass. This leaves subtle voids in the plaster and gives it texture.
Concrete naturally has some shade variation. So as I applied the second coat of Cement Gray, I added in some Pure White by putting a little on my trowel and working it in different areas to lighten up the color.
Step 4: Burnish the Plaster
After the second coat had completely dried, I burnished the surface. I did this with a clean trowel held at a 30-degree angle. I went over the entire hood in circular motions giving the plaster a polished finish in areas.
Step 5: Clean the Surface
The last and final step is to clean any dust off of the surface. I did this by wiping the entire fireplace with a damp cloth.
Love the look. I’m about to try this DIY myself and I was hoping you could share with me how much material you’ve needed for this project.
Thank you in advance,November 24, 2020 at 7:08 pm
Hi Valentine. Thanks! We used about 3 gallons on this fireplace.November 27, 2020 at 2:31 pm
Hi To get exact quantity of plasters, feel free to contact me with your square footage, and I can assist with that.
For every 100 Ft^
-Anchor Primer – 2 pints
-Marmorino Piatto – 2.5 gallons
ThanksNovember 27, 2020 at 5:08 pm
Thanks for sharing that Tony!November 28, 2020 at 4:52 pm
Hi Tony,March 26, 2022 at 10:08 pm
I am embarking on a basement project. I have already covered cinder block walls with two coats of Durabond and I also used Ready Set Mortar Mix to create a concrete portion to give a dimensional aspect to one end of the wall. I have watched videos and used an estimator and it is saying I need significantly more product than your 100sqft above. Do you mind helping me estimate this appropriately. I have 112sqft of Durabond to cover on this one accent wall. I plan to use the anchor primer as illustrated but, how much? Also I was planning on the Marmorina Piatto tinted in cement grey…how much? Lastly I figured I could use the natural color of the Marmorino Piatto to give it the concrete look but, how much? I have a trowel with squared edges, do you think I need one with rounded edges? Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you! Lisa
Hi Henry! We’re building a new home, and planning to do a plaster surround for our gas fireplace. Did you have to reinforce with stone or cement around the opening of the fireplace because of heat? Our builder is concerned about the damage to the plaster and would like us to surround the fireplace opening with stone or cement, but that’s not really the look I was hoping for. Thank you!December 10, 2020 at 4:18 pm
Hi Becca. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Plaster is used all the time for fireplace surrounds. But you still are unsure, you should contact Tony from FirmoLux. He’s extremely knowledgable when it comes to plaster!December 10, 2020 at 10:22 pm
Hi Henry, this looks awesome! I have a fireplace with existing tile. I think it’s large square tiles that look like marble. Do I need to remove it and then put drywall up in its place before I do this, or can I plaster over the tile? Sorry for the newbie question!February 12, 2021 at 5:08 am
Do you have any insight as to how this would work out for a brick fireplace?February 12, 2021 at 1:32 pm
A Q for Tony perhaps, but because drywall absorbs moisture and plaster is also porous, is mold a concern in humid areas? Perhaps that makes it breathable, but it seems green board or durock/cement board backer would be a better subsurface. That is all we use in TX when adding a layer of anything other than paint. Thanks for the great idea!February 28, 2021 at 6:12 pm
Firmolux’s lime based plasters are mold resistant.March 30, 2021 at 9:18 am
Hi Henry! Great post! Which of the 4 finishes did you use (shiny, smooth, matt or thick)? Also, is there a video that shows the process? It came out beautiful. Nice work!April 27, 2021 at 4:31 pm
I have the same question. What finish did you use?August 25, 2021 at 5:11 pm
“Marmorino Piatto” is listed as matt finish on on FurmoLux site!October 5, 2021 at 2:32 am
What finish type of the plaster did you use? I see there are shiny, matte, smooth or thick?September 16, 2021 at 1:44 pm
Based on the materials list, they used matt – FirmoLux “Marmorino Piatto”!October 5, 2021 at 2:33 am
Thank you for an excellent tutorial. Wondering about your trowel. Did yours have rounded corners? Wondering if it’s worth the investment to buy one as opposed to the straight-angled corners on the trowels they sell at home improvement stores (I didn’t see any there with rounded corners). The plaster companies sell them so I’m guessing they make the job easier…?October 27, 2021 at 3:33 pm
Hi! I love this look! I’m wondering what kind of molding you used around the fireplace. I need to add something around to finish my fireplace off. It looks like wood. Thanks for any help!!January 6, 2022 at 5:45 am
Hi! Love this look. What colour plaster did you se for this fireplace? Is the product available in Canada?March 19, 2022 at 7:41 pm
Hi! I love this look and would like to do it around a working gas log fireplace. I’m wondering what the trim around the fireplace is that coordinates so well with the plaster? Also, it looks like maybe there’s a black metal trim around the fireplace? Would be grateful for details. Thank you!!March 31, 2022 at 11:33 am
Hello! How did you make the raised lip around the firebox opening?May 31, 2022 at 3:41 am
If I wanted a darker cement look, I would then just add a deeper color to the plaster …yes?July 11, 2022 at 5:57 am
Love this look and just used these to do our fireplace. Did you seal yours? Debating which to use for the most matte look. Thanks.October 6, 2022 at 4:35 pm
This looks wonderful! I want to do this to my fireplace but I saw some other videos that say you need the mesh drywall tape underneath plaster to prevent cracking. Is this necessary?October 16, 2022 at 2:29 pm
Side comment, but what is the countertops you installed beside the fireplace? I really like the finish.November 3, 2022 at 11:11 pm