How to Paint a Brick Fireplace for a Modern Look

If you've grown weary of your plain fireplace surround, a fresh color can make a huge difference. Learn how to paint a brick fireplace in just one weekend for a stunning room transformation.

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner

The next time you've got a free weekend, you've got time to give your brick fireplace surround a dramatic new look. It takes a little prep work, a few tools, and brick fireplace paint. Ensure the product you choose is rated for high temperatures and designed to use on brick surfaces. Before you start painting, inspect your fireplace surround to determine its material. Although you can paint over a wide variety of surfaces, some types of stone fireplaces (limestone, sandstone, and river rock, for example) are harder to change after you paint them. A brick surround is the best bet for painting. Next, choose your fireplace paint color. A whitewash brick fireplace is a classic choice, but a black-painted fireplace adds drama. Pick a color that matches the style of your home and the room's decor. Then follow these steps on how to paint a brick fireplace.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Wire scrub brush
  • 1 Rubber gloves
  • 1 Safety goggles
  • 1 Drop cloths
  • 1 Paint roller for textured surfaces
  • 1 Small paintbrush

Materials

  • 1 Non-sudsy trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP
  • 1 Fireplace cleaner
  • 1 Painters tape
  • 1 Oil-base primer
  • 1 Indoor latex paint

Instructions

  1. Clean the Fireplace Surface

    To make sure your paint adheres and dries properly, you'll need to thoroughly clean the brick. First, cover your floor with a drop cloth and tape off any areas you want to keep paint-free. Use a wire scrub brush to remove dirt and dust, and vacuum up any debris. Next, apply non-sudsy trisodium phosphate (also called TSP). Wear gloves and safety goggles, and clean the fireplace thoroughly with soapy water or a fireplace cleaning product. Rinse and let dry.

  2. Prime the Brick

    A stain-blocking, oil-based primer protects your paint against future soot stains from fireplace use. Start with a small, stiff-bristled brush to get the primer inside the crevices along the mortar lines. Next, use a roller to apply the primer evenly across the entire surface of the brick fireplace, following the paint manufacturer's directions. Because brick is porous, it may require a second coat of primer. Let the primer dry overnight.

  3. Paint the Brick

    Once the primer is dry, it's time to paint your brick fireplace. Choose fireplace paint—indoor, latex, heat-resistant paint (either flat, semigloss, or gloss) that's rated to withstand temperatures generated by the fireplace (generally about 200°F). Remember that this type of paint is only appropriate for the exterior of a brick fireplace, not the interior firebox. If you want to paint the firebox, you'll need a different heat-resistant paint meant for that task.

    modern white living room with gray painted brick fireplace
    Stacey Brandford
  4. Add Finishing Touches

    Use a small paintbrush to touch up any blemishes or missed spots. Finally, remove painters tape and the drop cloth, and use a damp cloth to wipe up any splatters.

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