In many homes, the fireplace is the focal point of the living room and should be treated as a feature. If you have some time on your hands and feel like doing a bit of DIY home improvement, you may want to start a brick fireplace painting project.
When you paint a brick fireplace in a color of your choosing, it gives the feature and the rest of the room a breath of fresh air and can help a space feel rejuvenated. Check out our guide on how to paint a brick fireplace in your own home.
The tools and materials you'll need
When it comes to painting your own fireplace, always remember safety first! For brick fireplace painting, you’ll need the following:
- A wire brush
- A set of safety goggles
- A paint roller
- Flooring and furniture covers (drop cloths)
- A pair of rubber gloves
- Trisodium phosphate (TSP) - make sure you get “non-sudsy”
- Some fireplace cleaner
- Masking tape
- An oil-based primer
- Fireplace paint
Now that you have all your equipment ready, it’s time to get started on the fun part!
Step 1: Clean the surface of your brick fireplace
The first thing to do is to make sure the areas around your fireplace are protected from cleaning and paint splashes. Before you start anything, make sure your furniture and floors are covered with your drop cloths.
Next, you need to clean the brick fireplace. Cleaning it thoroughly will ensure the paint sticks to the bricks and that it dries properly. Using the wire brush, scrub away all the dust and dirt from the fireplace. If the fireplace has been used regularly, it may have accumulated a bit of soot up the sides of the fireplace. Once clean, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any debris. You don’t want this getting into your paint when you start!
Next, coat the fireplace in TSP. Make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves and safety goggles when handling this product as it’s toxic when in contact with the human eye or skin.
Keeping your goggles and rubber gloves on, wash the fireplace using fireplace cleaner or soapy water. This will remove any straggling bits of debris that could affect your paint job. Let the fireplace completely dry and you’re ready to start priming!
Step 2: Apply the primer to your brick fireplace
Before you paint or prime anything, you need to make sure the surrounding walls are protected from any wandering brush strokes. Use masking tape or painter's tape to line where the brickwork meets the wall. This will ensure you have a clean finish at the end.
A primer is an essential part of the brick fireplace painting process if you want the final color to really pop! Depending on the texture of the bricks, you may need to apply two coats of primer. Bricks are usually porous so the primer may not cover all bases in just one coat.
To start the priming process, use the smaller paintbrush to prime the crevices in between the bricks. This will ensure the whole fireplace is sufficiently covered. Next, use your roller paint brush to evenly prime the surface of the fireplace.
When you’ve applied enough coats of primer, let it dry overnight. Soak your paintbrush and paint roller in some water while the primer is drying. You can then use them again the following day when you paint the brick in your chosen color.
As a pro tip, aim to get a primer that has stain-blocking properties and acts as a sealer. This will ensure you get the best finish on your paintwork.
Step 3: Paint your brick fireplace
When you’re shopping for your dream fireplace color, there are a few technical specs to keep in mind. The paint you choose has to be heat resistant and be able to withstand temperatures of around 200°F. Keep in mind you’re not painting the actual firebox, but rather the room-facing brickwork on the outside of the fireplace. The best paint to use is latex paint suitable for indoor projects.
What color should you paint your brick fireplace?
This very much depends on the type of look you’re going for. As mentioned, the fireplace is often the focal point of the room and often commands the atmosphere created in a space. Go for lighter paint colors if you want the room to feel airy, bright, and open. However, for bold looks, don’t be afraid to delve into the brighter, more vibrant side of the color wheel.
If you’re still not sure and need some more color selection pointers, check out our guide to choosing the perfect fireplace color here.
How to apply the new paint color to your brick fireplace
A nice, even finish is key to nailing a DIY brick fireplace painting project. The last thing you want to see is painting streaks or drips in the finished product. While the primer can help make sure you have a good finish, there is also a foolproof method of applying the final coats to your fireplace.
Firstly, you’ll need to apply a base coat. Painting your brick fireplace may require several coats to get the exact color and texture you want. Using a similar method to priming, use the paintbrush to make sure all the crevices between the bricks are well-covered in your base coat. You’ll also want to make sure the edges along the chimney and the mantlepiece are covered.
For the smoothest possible finish, use the roller for the flat surfaces of the bricks. You can always use the paintbrush again to touch up any gaps in the paintwork. Take a step back and assess whether or not you’re satisfied with the color. If you love it, there’s no need to apply another coat!
Step 4: The finishing touches
As soon as you’ve finished painting, have a look to see if there are any unwanted paint splatters and wipe them up with a damp cloth. It’s much easier to remove wet paint than dry!
Next, carefully examine your work to check that there are no gaps in the paintwork. If there are, use an appropriately-sized brush to touch these up with the top-coat color.
Once you’ve completed all the finishing touches, remove the masking tape and allow the paintwork to dry completely before using the fireplace again.