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The closest thing we could find was white thin-set mortar, which came in at a whopping compared to for the recommended white cement mortar at Home Depot: So I sucked it up and paid the price, hoping it would work out (fortunately, it did).Back at the cottage, I mixed the mortar with water until reaching a consistency somewhere in between yogurt and peanut butter.The first step is locating white mortar, which isn’t as easy as one might think.Home Depot is the only retail chain I know of that carries it, and it wasn’t in stock within over 100 miles of me so instead I ended up at True Value, hoping to find an alternative as I tried to explain my mission to the store associates.The first thing I knew I wanted was big chunky reclaimed wood framing the fireplace.
I had loaded up my dads truck with all of the necessary tools to hang this mantel, and was planning on meeting my demo guy at the cottage to help me install it.
Here’s what I was working with (after the left wall of brick was demo’d): And here’s what I was envisioning for the bricks (via Atlanta Homes Mag): Don’t you just love that weathered, old world charm? It’s a mortar wash technique, also known as German Smear—you may remember Jo Anna Gaines using it on a Fixer Upper: Hers had a bit of a different look than my inspiration picture, but still the same concept—using white mortar to smooth out the brick while still allowing it to peek through in places.
Just to clarify, this is very different than white washing, which is simply painting over the brick with a diluted coat of white paint.
The creatively painted green, yellow and black bricks weren’t going to cut it: I could have left those completely covered under the mortar, but I wanted a clean slate to work with and thought I’d give removing the paint a try.
I found a handful of options searching online, and ended up with this stripping gel: I also brought a grinder, an electric sander and miscellaneous scraping tools.