How to Mortar Wash Your Fireplace

Have you heard the term “Mortar wash?” or “German Smear?” (thanks to Joanna Gaines) This term basically means slathering your fireplace with mortar to give it texture and depth. Also, makes your fireplace have a cozier look and it really gives your home a cottage feel. It’s actually pretty simple too!


  1. Thin Set Mortar – $20.98
  2. Bucket – $10 (I already had)
  3. Sponge -$5 (I already had)
  4. Gloves – $5 (I already had)
  5. Flexible Putty Knife – $5

Total = roughly $45 (SUPER CHEAP)

I bought already mixed thin set white mortar at Home Depot for around $20. You can buy the powder version and mix it yourself if you have the materials and if you have a bigger project.

Step 1. Get a damp cloth and wipe your fireplace down to get dust and debris removed.

Step 2. Get your bucket and a tarp if you have it to protect your floors. The tarp is nice because it is water resistant. This project can get a little messy at times.

Step 3. Apply mortar with putty knife. I feel like the putty knife is the easiest tool to use to apply it. This is the 3rd fireplace that I have done. Others have used the sponge or a towel. Also, remember to put on gloves. I have made the mistake of using my bare hand at times and it dries out your skin REAL BAD!

Step 4. After you put the mortar on (I usually do one or two bricks at a time) I get my sponge and bucket of water and I smooth out the brick. Remember to get into the grooves and completely fill those areas. I usually start there and work towards the brick.

And that’s it folks! Yeah it’s that easy. Keep in mind that you can always add more if you want more coverage. It’s best to be conservative at first if you want to see some of the underlying brick. I actually did that on this project and loved the results.

Also, if anyone was wondering what color that was on the mantle. I painted it with Behr paint color is called Shark Fin.


Leave a Reply