When you have a tired, outdated fireplace in your living room, it can cause the entire space to seem drab and dreary. Painting your brick can breathe new life into your room, making it seem brighter and more modern looking. But where do you begin? Some brick fireplace projects can seem daunting at first and a common concern you might have is that painting brick is a time-consuming endeavor. But take a deep breath and read on to find out how to tackle brick painting even on the most challenging fireplace.
Table of Contents
Painting a Large, Oversized Fireplace
Painting an oversized brick wall or fireplace in your home can seem like an overwhelming task. Time-Consuming and physically demanding, painting a very large area will not be easy but the key is to break down the project into short time periods. Working a little at a time instead of trying to get finished all at once will allow you to mentally and physically feel better about the project. Breaking the project up and working a few hours a day as your schedule allows will allow you to pace yourself.
The first part of your project will involve cleaning your brick. You can use a shop vac to vacuum off the brick surface removing any dirt, or dust. Then get a bucket of soap and water or a brick and mortar spray cleaner and a sturdy scrub brush. After that, scrub off your brick to remove any remaining dust, dirt or grime.
After your brick has been cleaned, you can start painting. Use a quality nylon polyester paintbrush and/or a 1-3 cm nap roller, begin applying latex paint to your brick. You might be wondering how much painting a large fireplace will cost. You need to be sure you purchase plenty of paint for your project since most brick is porous and will sometimes take almost twice as much paint as you would need if you were painting a wall in your home.
Painting Over Previously Painted Brick
If your brick fireplace has been previously painted with latex paint, you can brush on a latex primer and let it dry completely. After that, apply latex paint over the brick. You could also skip the primer and paint over the brick with the latex paint depending on the coverage you need. For example, if the bricks were painted a dark color latex paint and you want to paint them a light color, you will need to apply primer first and then the lighter color to ensure adequate coverage.
If the bricks were previously painted with oil-based paint, and you want to apply latex paint, you will need to prepare the bricks so the paint will adhere properly. The shiny surface of the bricks will not allow latex paint to stick so it will be easily scratched and damaged. Use sandpaper to lightly sand the bricks to remove the glossy surface. Next, apply an oil-based primer over all the bricks. And finally, apply the latex paint.
Painting the Inside of the Firebox
The firebox, the area of your fireplace where the fire burns, is sometimes overlooked. With all the soot, leftover ashes and wood from previous fires and stained walls, the firebox can be a real eyesore, especially when the fire is not burning. Cleaning and painting the firebox can make your fireplace look new and fresh. Since the temperatures inside the firebox get extremely hot, a special high-temperature paint must be used. High-temperature grill and stove paint can withstand temperatures up to about 1200 degrees. This type of paint can be purchased in a spray or a brush- on.
Use a vacuum and/or a broom to remove and dispose of any debris in the firebox. If you have gas logs, you might want to remove them and use a gas log cleaner to remove any soot. Take out the log holder and wipe it clean. You might decide to paint it as well.
Use a sturdy scrub brush and soapy water to clean the sides and bottom of the firebox. Let the area dry for a couple of hours before applying the paint. Be sure there’s plenty of ventilation when using grill and stove paint since it emits a very strong odor. Open doors and windows so there will be plenty of airflows. After the paint dries, the odor will subside. Voila! With the soot stains covered, the firebox will look brand new.
There are a variety of grill and stove paint colors to choose from when painting your firebox. While black is the most popular color since it hides soot stains easily, you might choose a lighter cream-colored shade if you have gas logs or if you don’t use your firebox often.
Painting Rough, Porous Brick
Painting rough, porous brick can be more time consuming than painting smooth brick. The key to painting rough brick is a high quality, sturdy paintbrush so you can be sure you are able to get the paint onto the bricks without bristles coming out of the brush and getting stuck in the paint. Painting over a rough brick surface requires patience so allow yourself plenty of time so you don’t get frustrated that your project is not moving along as quickly as you’d like. The uneven surface of rough brick requires you to really get your brush into the “peaks valleys” to get adequate coverage. If the rough brick is very porous, you’ll find out quickly that you’ll need plenty of high-quality paint since it will tend to sink into the bricks’ surface.
Painting Damaged Brick
Applying paint to damaged brick may not be such a great idea. Painting over very damaged chipping, deteriorating or molding brick could cause more problems. Painting the bricks blocks their porous surface causing existing bad conditions to worsen over time. Be sure to seal any cracks in damaged bricks with acrylic caulk before painting. And be sure the bricks are free from mold and dirt.
Visit Brick-Anew for a complete list of informational resources on fireplace painting.