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How 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 over a brick fireplace yourself and get professional quality results at a fraction of the cost.


  1. 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 liquid dish soap because it is formulated to cut grease and oils. Drop cloths are necessary to protect your floor and any nearby furniture and painter`s tape will help you create clean edges where the fireplace bricks meet the mantel and walls. A good oil-based primer and 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. Use deep-nap rollers to get the primer and paint into the rough surface of the bricks. A roller may cover the bricks completely, but have an edging brush on hand for any touch-ups you might need.

  2. 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.

  3. Tape off the ceiling, the walls next to the fireplace and any other surface you don`t want painted with painter`s tape. This is made to adhere well and peel off without leaving any residue. 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. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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 your brick fireplace has been painted, 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.



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