How to Paint Inside a Fireplace, an Updated Look

Eric H.
February 2, 2024

During the cold winter months, your firebox (the inside area of your fireplace where you burn wood) takes quite a beating. If you're tired of looking at the mess of dirty ashes and soot stains in your fireplace, it might be about time to do some home improvement and update your firebox with a fresh coat of paint. Here's how you can quickly give your firebox a fresh, new look.

Step 1: Get some high temperature paint

Your firebox can reach temperatures upward of 500 degrees Fahrenheit while burning. That means your average paint is going to quickly peel and chip off. Instead, you'll need to get some inside firebox paint paint that can withstand the heat from your fire.

There are two types of heat resistant paint for fireplaces: spray and brush-on. Spray paint can be applied quicker, but brush-on paint gives you more control over the coverage.

You'll need to decide on what color to use since high-heat paint comes in a variety of shades. Basic flat black fireplace paint is a good choice; it's a neutral color and can hide soot easily. Black also tends to look nice with almost any fireplace and room decor.

Beige, off-white, or almond create a fresh, bright look. These are good choices if you only use your fireplace a few consecutive months out of the year. The paint won't be stained by soot during the off months and will hold up without peeling during the months you do burn in your fireplace. I'd definitely recommend keeping some paint on hand to touch up any soot stains during the "on" season.

You can pick up heat resistant paint online or at your local Home Depot. You can use paint like this on all sorts of surfaces: painting the interior of your fireplace, painting wood burning stoves, etc.

Step 2: Clean and Prep the Firebox

Lay a drop cloth or old sheet down in front of your fireplace so you won't get your carpet or floor dirty. Remove any leftover wood, soot, and ashes using either a vacuum or a sturdy broom and dust pan. Deposit all debris into a large trash bag or old container for disposal.

Quick Tip: Practice good fire safety! Make sure all the embers have gone out and cooled before you start.

If you have a metal log holder, take it out of the firebox. Once cleaned with soap and water, this can be painted as well.

Brick And Stone Cleaner

After the firebox has been emptied, use soap, water, and a good firebox cleaner to scrub the firebox. Rutland makes a good brick and stone cleaner formulated to remove creosote and soot. A long handled scrub brush is certainly helpful, though not necessary. Make sure to rinse out any cleaner or soap and let the fireplace dry before painting.

Step 3: Apply the Paint

Brush or spray the high temperature paint covering the walls, sides, and floor of your firebox. Start at the top/back and work your way down and towards the front. The odor will be strong, but once the paint dries, there will be no odor.

Quick Tip: Most high temperature paints emit strong odors and fumes, so be sure to have plenty of ventilation while you are applying. You may also want to wear a mask and rubber gloves.

Whew! Now you're finished. Your living room is totally updated; what a huge difference firebox painting makes!

Gray painted Fireplace

Your updated firebox may make your firebox look a little shabby in comparison. No worries though!

You can update your fireplace the same way: with paint! There are all sort of techniques to paint a brick fireplace to totally transform it. Check out this article for some inspiration!

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