If you've grown weary of the look of your brick fireplace surround, take note: Even the most inexperienced homeowners can learn how to paint a brick fireplace. Here's how. 

If you've got a free afternoon, you've got time to give your brick fireplace surround a dramatic new look. All it takes is a little elbow grease, a few tools, and some fireplace paint. 

Before you take on this project, inspect your surround. While there are many things that can be included on an OK-to-paint list, most stone fireplaces—limestone, sandstone, river rock, for example—are less amenable and harder to change if you do paint them. A brick surround is the best bet. Then choose your color. A whitewash brick fireplace is a classic choice, but a black fireplace adds drama. Pick a color that matches the style of your home and the room's decor. 

  • Working time 4 hrs
  • Start to finish 1 day
  • Difficulty Easy
  • Involves Painting
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What you need

Tools
Materials
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How to do it

Step 1

Clean the Surface

To make sure your paint adheres and dries properly, you'll need to thoroughly clean the brick. Use a wire scrub brush to remove any dirt or dust, then apply nonsudsy trisodium phosphate (also called TSP; wear gloves and safety goggles), and wash thoroughly with a heavy-duty cleaner. Rinse and let dry. Cover your floor with a drop cloth and tape off any areas you want to remain paint-free.

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Step 2

Prime the Brick

A stain-blocking, oil-base primer protects your paint against future soot stains from fireplace use. Apply primer to the entire surface, following the manufacturer's directions.

Step 3

Paint the Brick

Once the primer is dry, it's time to paint. Choose indoor, latex, heat resistant paint—either flat, semigloss, or gloss—rated to withstand temperatures generated by the fireplace (generally about 200°F) and a roller designed for textured surfaces. The latter helps cover the surface of the brick, which is likely not smooth. For any spots you can't reach using a roller, touch up with a small paintbrush. Apply a second and third coat as needed, allowing plenty of drying time between coats.

Warning

Editor's Tip

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 special heat-resistant paint.

Comments (6)

How difficult was this project?
Anonymous
August 11, 2020
Anonymous
August 11, 2020
Anonymous
September 26, 2019
Difficulty: Very easy
I followed instructions and it came out beautifully.
Anonymous
September 6, 2019
Difficulty: Very easy
We decided to paint our brick fireplace but it disappeared into the wall. I went back and removed portions of the white paint and added in some cream with a sponge. After it dried, I sanded a few spots and sponged in more white. The results had much more depth and interest, and still looked fresh and modern.
Anonymous
September 6, 2019
Difficulty: Very easy
We decided to paint our brick fireplace but it disappeared into the wall. I went back and removed portions of the white paint and added in some cream with a sponge. After it dried, I sanded a few spots and sponged in more white. The results had much more depth and interest, and still looked fresh and modern.
Anonymous
August 27, 2019
Difficulty: Very easy
I planned to paint the 1970's brick in our family room a cream color as the surrounding cabinets are cream in color. My husband suggested that we choose a darker color as we burn a fire daily in the fall and winter. The fireplace is woodburning and therefore it gets messy and dirty. With that in mind we chose a dark gray color. It looks fabulous and will hide the dirty mess, no problem. This great project, although it was 5 years in the making, took only a few hours. (longest pause was allowing the paint to dry)!
Anonymous
August 27, 2019
Difficulty: Very easy
I planned to paint the 1970's brick in our family room a cream color as the surrounding cabinets are cream in color. My husband suggested that we choose a darker color as we burn a fire daily in the fall and winter. The fireplace is woodburning and therefore it gets messy and dirty. With that in mind we chose a dark gray color. It looks fabulous and will hide the dirty mess, no problem. This great project, although it was 5 years in the making, took only a few hours. (longest pause was allowing the paint to dry)!
Anonymous
July 19, 2019
Difficulty: Kind of easy
As a interior designer myself, always looking for time saving, budget friendly options. This option of fireplace uplift works perfectly. Can get the results within $50-60 max. Makeover is just going to wow you. Thanks

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