by Tom


by Tom


painted brick fireplace

Do you think you want to paint a brick fireplace?

Brick is one of the least expensive and most durable building materials and its heat resistant properties make it one of the most popular for fireplaces. Even with all of its fine qualities, the aesthetic look of brick is not appealing to everyone, nor is it compatible with many decorating schemes. If your tastes run to cleaner, sleeker and more modern colors and textures, a brick fireplace will stick out like a sore thumb in your home. But, having your fireplace covered or painted by professionals is not within everyone`s budget. Fortunately, with careful preparation and attention to detail, you can paint a brick fireplace yourself and get professional quality results at a fraction of the cost. Here’s how:

Prepare to Paint a Brick Fireplace

Your first step is to gather your materials and tools.

  • You will need a good degreasing cleanser to clean the fireplace before painting it. Trisodium phosphate, known as TSP, is a good bet, but you can also use Krud Kutter, a prepaint cleaner and TSP substitute.
    Before you paint a brick fireplace, clean it with TSP or Krud Kutter.

    Before priming or paint, clean the surface with Trisodium Phosphate or Krud Kutter.

  • Drop cloths are necessary to protect your floor and any nearby furniture.
  • Painters’ tape will help you create clean edges where the fireplace bricks meet the mantel and walls.
  • A good oil-based primer.
  • Enough paint for two, or even three, full coats will ensure that you can cover the bricks completely. Make sure that your primer is formulated for use on brick and that your paint is compatible with it.


How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

1. Remove all decorative objects from the fireplace and give it a good dusting with a lint-free cloth like a shop cloth or old T-shirt before you paint a brick fireplace.

2. Tape off the ceiling, the walls next to the fireplace and any other surface you don`t want painted with painters’ tape. This is made to adhere well and peel off without leaving any residue.

3. Lay down a drop cloth. A cloth one works best on a wood floor, because it is less slippery. If you are using a plastic drop cloth and will be standing on a ladder, tape down the edges to help minimize the risk of it slipping.

4. Prepare the fireplace for painting. Dilute a tablespoon or so of TSP or a few squirts of liquid dish soap in a gallon of warm water. Soak a lint-free cloth or clean sponge in the mixture and wring it out until it is barely damp. Clean the fireplace thoroughly and let it dry completely. Alternatively, use Krud Kutter by following the instructions on the bottle.

5. Primer Coat: Pour a bit of oil-based primer into a paint tray and wet a deep-napped roller in it. Roll off the excess primer. Start at the top of the bricks and apply a thin, even layer of the primer to the fireplace. Work in all directions rather than just up and down to ensure that the primer gets into all of the little nooks and crannies that make up the rough surface of bricks.

Let the primer dry completely. Overnight is best, especially if you live in a damp climate or it is raining while you`re painting.

6. First and Second Coats: Apply the first coat of paint in the same way you did the primer. Work in all directions, vertically, horizontally and diagonally. Do not paint the inside of the fireplace because most paints are not fire resistant. Let the paint dry completely and apply a second coat.

7. Touch-up with Edging Brush: Once the second coat is dry, either do a bit of touch-up with your bristled edging brush, or apply a third coat of paint. After you paint a brick fireplace, the experts at Ironmongery Direct suggest that you take your new decor a step further with hanging rails to display artwork or keep precious objets d`art from toppling off the mantel.

photo via Young House Love

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  1. Sandy Case January 19, 2016 at 9:22 PM - Reply

    This is another way to spruce up the look of a very old dirty light colored brick fireplace. I thought I would share it with you.
    I absolutely hate painted brick. I think it destroys the look of the brick, but I had to do something with mine. It was fifty years old and was made with those light tan/white colored brick. It was so dirty, stained from age and the fact that the previous owners smoked allot, but nothing I did would clean them up. I tried Acid, no luck. I tried wire brush on a drill, no luck. I tried every cleaner made, no luck. I finally had to resort to paint. Like I said, I hate painted brick and did not want that look so I used some latex paint, sponges , and water. I watered down the paint after mixing it to a similar color of the original brick. I used natural sponges and rags to lightly tap the paint onto the bricks. It had a random finish to it but wasn’t on thick like paint would do. That worked out perfectly. It didn’t looked painted and had a new brick look. Brick is very porous and the latex paint soaked into them perfectly.

    • Tom February 9, 2016 at 4:21 PM - Reply

      We like your solution! You found a way to get the best of both worlds – a painted fireplace that doesn’t look like it was painted.

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