How Do I Drywall Over a Brick Fireplace?

Modern home styling favors clean lines and sleek looks. Many homes built in the 1960s and afterward used brick around their fireplaces, a look that seems dated to many homeowners today. A good way to fix this decorating problem is with drywall.

Considerations

You must ensure that the surface you are planning on drywalling will not be exposed to heat. If you have a brick wall that is an active part of the chimney, drywall is not recommended because it is a paper-based product. Many states have fire codes that forbid putting any combustible substance within a certain distance of a fireplace opening. If the brick area you want to install drywall on is not an active part of the fireplace, you may still need to find a creative way to make up the appropriate distance to conform to code. For example, if your fire codes call for a 12-inch distance between the opening and combustibles, think about installing 12-inch tiles around the opening and adding drywall past that point.

Furring Strips

There are two basic methods used to put drywall over brick. The first is a bit more complicated, but will give you more consistent results. Screw 1-by-2 furring strips into the brick using masonry anchors, screws that expand when they enter the brick. You may have to pre-drill holes using a masonry drill bit. Use an anchor to test your wall first to see how hard the brick is and how well it accepts the screw. Place the furring strips vertically on the wall about 16 inches apart. After they are anchored in place, attach the drywall using 1-inch drywall screws.

Glue

If your brick has a relatively smooth surface and has not been painted over, you can easily glue drywall onto the brick. If your brick fireplace is bumpy and uneven, gluing is not the correct method because drywall will not lie flat over the surface. Choose a strong and versatile adhesive, like PL Premium Polyurethane Construction Adhesive. Measure the space and cut the drywall to fit. Apply a generous amount of adhesive to the back of the drywall and lift it into place.

Finishing

When you are finished, you will have an area that is not flush with your wall. Use a metal or plastic corner bead to round off the edges of your new fireplace and make a seam with your existing wall. Finish the project with drywall tape and spackle as you would with any new drywall project.