There’s nothing better than finding your dream home and discovering it comes with a beautiful brick fireplace. You can already imagine how the heat of a warm, cozy fire will feel when you’re relaxing by the hearth on a chilly day. However, most of the time your fireplace will need a little work to get it looking just the way you want it.
Sometimes you’re lucky, and your fireplace will look beautiful from the get-go, but on the other hand, it may be old, charred, or just not your color. Whether you’re thinking about remodeling a fireplace in a recently purchased home or you have a fireplace you’ve been living with for years, painting the brick is an easy option for making it look fresh and new.
Painting a brick fireplace involves a few steps, but once you know what to do, it’s not a difficult project to tackle. Read on to discover how you can transform your brick fireplace and get some inspiration on which color is right for you.
Clean your painted brick fireplace
Before you even pick out your paint or even think about adding a coat of primer, you will want to ensure your fireplace and its surroundings are extremely clean. Leaving behind any debris may make your finished look appear less than desirable, and it will undo all your hard work.
The best thing to start off with is by either getting a stiff wire brush or a small vacuum cleaner and removing all the surrounding debris on the fireplace. This includes the floor and mantel, since you want your whole area to be spotless. Pay attention to the mortar between the bricks, since they can also hold a large amount of dust and dirt.
Once all dust and debris have been removed, then it’s time to get to the heavy scrubbing. You want to ensure every brick is squeaky clean since there may be some mineral residue that may seep through your new paint job, leaving you disappointed. The best thing to do is grab an all-purpose cleaner free of harmful chemicals and dilute it with a bit of water. Next, spray some of your mixture on each brick and scrub the surface with a sponge. Finish the cleaning process by spraying some fresh water onto the bricks and using a clean cloth to wipe them dry.
Apply the base coat/primer to your fireplace
Once you’ve prepped your bricks, it’s time to add a primer or base coat to get the job started. This step can seem tempting to skip, especially when you want to get straight to the painting, but it should always be done because it is extremely important. By priming your bricks, you’re ensuring the paint will stick to the surface better and giving the area a much better chance of receiving an even coat and color across the fireplace.
Priming your brick fireplace can be just as fun as painting, but you should choose the best product for the job. You will want to look at reviews and find a primer that other users have said works well with the color and make of your bricks. Some primers are better for flatter surfaces and may not work as well, so keep an eye out for that. You’ll also want a primer that is highly pigmented and offers enough coverage for the long run.
Once you’ve chosen your primer, it’s time to apply it. It’s best to use a separate ¾-inch roller that you aren’t using for the paint and a smaller paintbrush to help you get into the harder-to-reach areas. Usually, you’re going to want to apply two coats of primer on your brick fireplace, but depending on the product just one may be enough.
Apply your new color
When your fireplace is prepped and primed, it’s time to get to the exciting part – adding your new color and transforming how it looks! Of course, what color you use is completely up to you and the aesthetic of the rest of the room, but similar to your primer, you’ll want to ensure it is well suited for rougher brick surfaces.
After you’ve purchased your paint, roller, and paintbrushes, you’re ready to go. It’s recommended that you put away your roller to begin with and use a small-ish brush to go over the concrete grooves or mortar lines in between the bricks first. This will ensure no spots are missed and you have a perfect finish in the end. Once you’ve gotten through this part, then you can get the roller out and paint the rest of the bricks. Just like with your primer, two coats are highly recommended, as this will ensure better quality in the long run.
Before moving on to the final stage, you may want to evaluate the other areas of your fireplace, such as the mantel or a built-in bookcase. Do they match the rest of your freshly painted brick fireplace? These areas can be easily ignored, so you may want to use the same color as the fireplace or choose a complimentary color that helps the rest of the area stand out. Use the same method for painting the rest of the fireplace.
Once you’ve finished the above three steps, all that’s left is to apply one coat of water-based polyurethane clear matte finish. This type of polyurethane dries clear and not glossy. You may opt for a glossy finish, but a matte finish tends to last longer on brick fireplaces. When the clear matte finish dries, it’s invisible so it looks completely natural on your brick. Your entire job will be protected against wear and tear so your brick’s painted surface will look good for years.
You can use the same roller and paintbrush as your primer, but ensure you’ve cleaned them before use. Simply brush or roll on the clear matte finish over each brick and in the mortar lines.
It’s a good idea to test the polyurethane on a small area before painting over all your bricks. Let it dry a few days to make sure no yellowing occurs before painting it all over your fireplace.
Once the matte finish has dried, then voila! You have a beautifully painted fireplace that will compliment the rest of your room. You may want to wait a couple of days before you actually start lighting fires to ensure your paint has dried completely. After that, your fireplace is ready to warm up your home all winter long.
Guide by color:
You now know the basics of painting a brick fireplace, from priming to finishing, but sometimes you may need to add a few additional steps depending on the color you’ll be using. But luckily for you, we’ve put together a little guide with some popular colors to ensure you’re left with the perfect finish.
Tips for painting a brick fireplace white
When considering painting your fireplace white, we recommend using a whitewash. Whitewashing allows some of the natural brick to show through while also giving your fireplace a brand new look that makes the entire area look brighter.
If you want to use this technique for your own fireplace, you’ll want to purchase some flat white latex paint and make a solution of 50% water and 50% paint. You may also want to consider purchasing a whitewash kit alongside all your other tools, such as a paintbrush, stir stick, bucket, and rags.
Start by mixing your water and paint in a bucket thoroughly, so the two are combined perfectly. You’ll then want to take a small paintbrush and cover a small area of the fireplace with your mixture. If too much is covered, you can wipe a bit away until you have your desired look. Go over each brick, repeating the same process. Working from top to bottom is recommended to avoid any excess paint dripping on your fresh paint.
Once your first layer has dried, you’re welcome to add another coat in the same manner, but this will all depend on how transparent you want your whitewash to look.
Tips for painting a brick fireplace black
Black is a dramatic, opaque color that gives your room a very bold look. It’s sleek and modern and can go with almost any aesthetic you want. Similar to whitewash, it’s an incredibly popular option for brick fireplaces, and there are a few tips you can follow to ensure it looks great all year round.
Like the whitewash paint job, you’ll want to get all your tools together first, including a good quality black paint for your fireplace. Ensure you also have your primer, paintbrush, roller, and paint tray to use.
Priming a black brick fireplace is extremely important, so you want to ensure you have covered every area, including the bricks and mortar before you even start with the paint. You’ll want to work from top to bottom to avoid the primer dripping and leaving droplets under the paint.
Once the primer has dried, you can move on to the black paint. Work from top to bottom using the roller for the main sections and a smaller paintbrush for the edges and grooves. If you have quality black paint, you may only need one coat, but you can add up to three coats for a more dramatic look.
Painting a red brick fireplace
Not every fireplace is easy to paint as others, and this can come down to the color of the bricks, to begin with. Most of the time, a light grey or beige brick won’t require as many coats, and the beginning shade won’t shine through your new paint. Red is a more difficult color to cover up, which is why you should follow the right steps.
Just like with any other color brick fireplace, you will need to ensure the area around you is clean, and the bricks have been prepared with a layer or two of primer. Once your primer has dried, you’ll want to take a pot of your chosen color of latex paint and start off on the corners and edges of the fireplace using a small paintbrush. Once you’ve gotten into all the grooves, you can then use a paint roller to go over the rest of the fireplace.
Although most other colors may require two coats, if you still see some red peeking through, you can always add an extra coat once the first ones have dried. From there, you can choose your finish, leaving you with an updated fireplace that matches the rest of your room.
Repainting an Already Painted Fireplace
If you have moved into a home with a brick fireplace that has already been painted in the past, then you may feel a bit lost on how to change the color. Do you strip it down to bare brick first? Or do you simply paint over it? Luckily, we have the answers for you.
It really isn’t that different from painting bare brick, and it may even be a little easier. You’ll want to start by removing loose debris and cleaning the area like any other paint job on a brick fireplace. After the surface is clean, you’ll be ready to paint.
If the previous paint is glossy, you’ll want to lightly sand to rough up the surface so the new paint will adhere properly.
You don’t have to get stressed when you see an already-painted fireplace; it just needs a little extra TLC before you start the painting. Keep the usual tips in mind, and you’ll be left with a perfectly painted area for you and your family to enjoy.
Our favorite painted brick fireplaces
Need some inspiration for your own fireplace? We have just the thing for you. Here are some of our favorite painted brick fireplaces in different styles and colors. This may help you find the perfect color so you can start your own fireplace painting project.