Matt is a professional painter who owns and operates his own painting business, specializing in interior and exterior house painting.
Painting Fireplace Brick
Painting fireplace brick is easy and can dramatically change the look of a room without having to remodel. Painting the brick white, or even a darker color, will highlight your fireplace so it becomes a focal point that stands out more. Painting a fireplace mantel a separate color from the brick is another option you might consider.
When to use heat-proof paint
You can use any latex paint on the exterior 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 paint coverage.
In this article, I explain how to prepare and paint fireplace brick white, including pictures from one of my painting projects.
Cleaning and Priming Brick for Paint
Soot on the textured surface of fireplace 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 like Krud Kutter, my personal go-to cleaner. 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. 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 and porous surface 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 primer with any latex or acrylic paint. The primer is very 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 fairly strong VOCs. 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 to make it easier to fill the tiny holes on the surface. I like using a 3/4-inch roller, but another good option is a roller with a 1-inch nap. I find that the 3/4-inch roller does a good job of filling the surface holes without leaving behind heavy stippling.
Use a lint-free roller to prime and paint your fireplace brick. 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 primer and paint and ruin the finish. For brushes, a 2 1/2-inch to 3-inch angled brush works good for cutting-in.
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The Best Paint for Fireplace Brick
I used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic acrylic enamel to paint the fireplace brick featured in this article, but you can use any latex paint over the Loxon masonry primer. I primed the brick with one coat, allowing the primer to cure overnight, followed by two coats of the acrylic enamel in a satin finish for some washability. I suggested semi-gloss, but my customer didn't want the brick to be too shiny.
Another good product to consider for your fireplace is Emerald urethane enamel from Sherwin Williams. The cost is higher than Pro Classic enamel, but the coverage and durability are both better. I would avoid using cheap paint for your fireplace brick. I would also use enamel instead of basic latex paint. Enamel dries harder for better scuff resistance.
The most important part of painting brick is the prep work. Cleaning and priming your fireplace with masonry primer really enhances the paint finish because you won't have any issues with paint rubbing off or the red color of the brick bleeding into the paint color.
Primer enhances the gloss of the paint too. I recommend two coats for a better finish and increased durability. Are you painting inside the fireplace too? A special heat-proof paint is needed if you plan on painting the inside of the fireplace. The heat on the inside portion of the brick is too intense for regular latex paint. The paint will melt and become toxic.
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.