Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
Painting Fireplace Brick
Painting the brick around your fireplace is one of the easiest ways to freshen up a room without remodeling. Painting the brick white, or a shade darker than your walls, is a great way to turn your fireplace into an accent wall. Painting a fireplace mantel a separate color from the brick is another option that looks nice.
You can use any latex paint on the outside of your fireplace, but on the inside, heat-proof paint is a must to avoid melting paint. Painting brick is easy, but it requires surface preparation to maximize durability and coverage.
In this article, I explain how I prepare and paint fireplace brick white, including pictures from one of my projects.
Cleaning and Priming Brick for Paint
Soot on the textured surface of brick needs careful cleaning to avoid paint adhesion problems. The best way to clean brick is with a wire brush and TSP or a de-greasing agent. Dripping residue from chemical cleaners can damage wood flooring. Cover your floor in front of the fireplace with plastic sheeting at least three mils thick so it doesn't tear.
Rinse the surface of the brick with clean water to remove residue from the cleaner. Water trapped inside the holes of brick needs time to dry. Allow the cleaned brick to air dry overnight before priming and painting.
Priming Fireplace Brick
Priming unpainted brick is important for durability and coverage, especially when using white paint. The red color of brick is hard to cover with paint alone. Using a masonry primer sealer is best for a fireplace. Masonry primer is formulated to seal the surface and form a strong bond with clean brick.
I use Loxon masonry primer from Sherwin Williams. You can top coat this product with any latex or acrylic paint. The primer is thick and fills the tiny holes in brick really well for easier paint coverage in one or two coats. Most masonry primer, including Loxon, have terrible fumes. Open the window and set up a fan to ventilate the odor.
Paint Roller and Brush Options
The best paint roller for brick is one with a thicker nap. A roller with 3/8-inch nap isn't thick enough. I like using a 3/4-inch roller, but another good option is a 1-inch roller. I find that the 3/4-inch roller does a good job of filling the surface holes without leaving behind heavy stippling.
My favorite lint-free paint roller for brick is the Purdy White Dove with a 3/4-inch nap in the 9-inch length. The 4-inch mini rollers work good too, but the 9-inch roller is faster to work with. Regardless of the paint roller brand you choose, make sure the roller is lint-free otherwise fuzz will end up in the paint. For brushes, a 3-inch angled brush works good for cutting-in.
The Best Paint for Fireplace Brick
I used Pro Classic acrylic enamel for the fireplace brick featured in the pictures, but you can use any latex paint over the Loxon primer. I primed the brick with one coat, allowing the primer to cure overnight, followed by two coats of enamel in a satin finish for some washability.
When applied over the masonry primer, white paint covers really well over red brick, even in one coat, but I recommend two coats for solid coverage. A special heat-proof paint is needed if you plan on painting the inside of the fireplace. The heat is too intense for regular latex paint.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Matt G.
Matt G. (author) from United States on August 12, 2020:
Thanks. Glad you liked it.
Danny from India on August 12, 2020:
One of my friends has a fireplace specially designed in his new house. Although Indians don't have fireplace in their houses, some of the new luxury houses are built with such amenities. The product you mentioned is interesting. And thanks for the tips too.