DIY Network

How to Give a Fireplace Surround an Aged Look

The DIY to the Rescue crew shows you how to update a fireplace surround.

More in Remodeling

  • Time

    2 hours

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Tape the Glass and Sand the Metal

Note: The oxidizing chemical used is a mild acid that gives metal and aged patina. It costs $20-30 a bottle and can be purchased at most shops that specialize in metal or firearm refinishing.

Begin by taping any glass areas of the surround to keep them protected from the acid. Be sure to cover the work area with drop cloths. Wear gloves and follow all of the manufacturer's safety instructions for working with the product.

Next, sand just enough to remove the lacquered coating from the brass. A surface free of oil, oxides and plating is needed. For a brass-plated part, use only a water rinse and a weak acid rinse to remove cyanide residues. Here, the brass is solid and needs a little abrasion. Remember, if working with a brushed finish, sand in the direction of the brush strokes on the original finish.

Step 2: Apply the Oxidizing Chemical

Spray the oxidizing chemical onto the brass or metal surface, allow it to work a few minutes and lightly rub the surface with a clean, dry cloth. The product will combine with air to create a darkening effect called oxidation. This process can take 1-3 minutes. The longer the product is allowed to work, the darker the metal will become.

To stop the chemical reaction, spray on water and wipe away the residue.

apply the oxidizing chemical

Step 3: Protect the Finish

Finally, use a paste wax to create a warm glow on the finished metal and to protect the finish. Apply the wax and buff. The finish can also be protected with a clear topcoat instead of the paste wax.