I used espresso rich tone wiping stain 2 coats. Will be adding 3/4" x 3" boards in an X shape in each frame for strength and appeal. After its all done (woodfiller, remove excess glue and stain deficiences) will apply 2 coats satin clear coat. I am very pleased with it so far!!! My beautiful wife gave the chimney 4 coats of wet look masonry sealer to giver a shine!