Few things look quite as lovely as an old brick fireplace. Unfortunately, these fireplaces need a touch-up from time to time – regardless of whether or not they’ve been outfitted with a gas or electric insert. Freshening up a brick fireplace isn’t as easy as you might hope, though, and adding a new coat of paint isn’t quite as easy as opening up a new paint can and getting to work. If you want to give some new life to your old brick fireplace, make sure that you follow this guide in order to get the perfect look to match the rest of your room’s decor.
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace – Step By Step
This DIY job is a little harder than you might think, so it’s always a good idea to take a moment and ponder the extent of what you’re going to have to do. Painting brick doesn’t just mean taking the time to slap on a new coat of paint; it means that you are going to not only deal with the unique texture of brick but also the unique way that brick tends to accumulate dirt and grime. If you are ready to give your fireplace an all-new look, though, you’ll want to follow these six steps to ensure that you get the job done correctly.
Brick is really good at getting dirty, perhaps in ways that you might not be able to see until you get up close. Unless you’re working on a new installation, you’re going to have to make sure that all of the brick is completely cleaned off before you get painting. Failure to do so will lead to a messy paint job that will, unfortunately, have to be re-done.
Your first step here is to wet down all of your brick. This actually serves two goals, as it gets rid of all the dirt as well as helping your paint to adhere to the brick a little more easily. Your tool of choice here is going to be a stiff-bristled brush covered in soapy water, which is going to help you to get rid of all the nasty build-up here. Once that’s done, you’ll use a soot-remover to get rid of any soot build-up that has happened to cling to the masonry.
Finally, you’ll be on to mildew removal. This is easily taken care of with a mixture of bleach and water, which will need to soak on your brick until you’re able to scrub away the build-up with a brush. Now all you have to do is wait for about a day to let the brick dry off.
Inspection and Caulking
Now it’s time to make sure that your fireplace is actually in good condition before you get to painting. The bad news is that there are almost certainly all kinds of little cracks in your bricks that are going to be hard to see until you get ready to put on a new coat of paint. The good news, though, is that you should be able to fill in all of these cracks with a little bit of acrylic caulk. This is a very quick process that doesn’t require any kind of special skills, but you do need to wait until the caulk is dry so that you can move on to the next step.
Preparing the Space
This is a fantastic step to take while you are waiting for your bricks to dry after cleaning or even while you are waiting to ensure that your caulk is nice and dry. You will want to take a little bit of time to make sure that your space is ready for painting and that you won’t cause a mess that will require a further touch-up. While there are certainly some painters who are so talented that they can do this all free-hand, we generally recommend that you mark off the areas where you want to paint.
Start by grabbing some painter’s tape to tape off all of the areas that you don’t want to be painted . This is not only going to help you to avoid hitting those spots that might be close to where you are painting, but it also gives you a solid border that you can pay attention to during your project. If there is a TV mounted above the fireplace you may want to consider removing it to give yourself more room to work. You’ll also want to grab a drop cloth to place underneath your painting area so you won’t have to worry about your floors – unless, of course, you’re working outdoors.
Now you’re going to start priming your fireplace. You’ll want a five-gallon bucket for this, and you’ll pour all of your primers directly inside for ease of use going forward. You may also want to use a bucket screen to keep things a little neater, but your most important tool here is going to be a good roller. Grab your roller, get it coated, and get ready to start priming.
You’ll want to make sure that you carefully coat your entire fireplace with your brush, paying special attention to the little areas. Once you’re done, you’ll grab a brush to get all the little spots that you couldn’t quite get with your roller. Once you’re done, you’ll be ready to let your primer dry overnight.
Next up is the big step – painting. You’ll prep the same way you did for your primer, but adding your paint to a bucket and using a bucket screen if you’re particularly worried about making a mess. Once again, get your clean roller out and dip it into the bucket so that it is completely covered with paint. Add your topcoat with your roller, and then let things dry.
Note that you’re not necessarily looking for perfection at this stage – you’re just looking to make sure that you have coated all of the brick with a layer of paint. You’ll absolutely go back again to fix any mistakes you’ve made, but for now, you’re just looking to get the bulk of the job done at once.
Painted Brick Touch-Up and Clean-up
Finally, you’ll grab your brush to do some touch-up work and to deal with any of the small spots that you might have missed with the roller. Once that’s done, you can let all of your paint dry. Now it’s time to clean off your tools, get rid of all that painter’s tape, and remove your drop cloth. Congratulations – you’ve successfully painted a brick fireplace!
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of paint do you use on a brick fireplace?
While there are undoubtedly special paints that are marketed as beings specifically for brick fireplaces, the truth is that you can use pretty much any acrylic paint for this process. You will have to prime the fireplace first with a good masonry primer, but from that point on the choice is really yours. Most people recommend using a matte finish because it works really well with the brick of the fireplace, but the actual finish of the paint is up to the taste of the individual painter.
Is it OK to paint a brick fireplace?
Not only is it okay to paint a brick fireplace, but it’s also often a really good way to breathe a little life back into the part of a room that just doesn’t fit with more modern decor. Though you, unfortunately, can’t just start painting without doing any extra work, painting a brick fireplace is something that just about anyone can do. Don’t be put off by the fact that this kind of painting is a little more labor-intensive than traditional room painting – the end result is more than worth the effort that you put into the process.
How do you prepare a brick fireplace for painting?
Preparing a brick fireplace for painting does require taking a few specific steps. The first thing you’ll need to do is to clean off all of the brick with soap and water, helping to wash away any grime and dirt. Next, you’ll need to invest in a soot-cleaning mixture so that you can wipe away any soot that has built up on the outside of the fireplace. After that, you’ll move on to the process of getting rid of the mildew that might have built upon the area. Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you fill in any cracks or chips that have developed in the bricks by using some acrylic caulk. Once you’ve done all that, you can start priming the brick and getting ready to add the paint.
What paint can I use to paint a fireplace?
You can use pretty much any type of acrylic paint on your brick fireplace. Note that the finish doesn’t really matter here, but what is important is that you’re going to need to add a layer of masonry primer before you add the paint itself. Most people who choose to paint their fireplaces generally prefer to use a paint that has a matte finish, but the finish isn’t going to have any effect beyond how it impacts the aesthetics of your fireplace.