Painting your brick fireplace is easy and can totally transform your space. I love a white brick fireplace and is likely one of my favorite looks for a fireplace. Let me show you how to paint a brick fireplace and refresh your space.
We have lived in our current home seven years and since the day I moved in, actually the day we toured the house and wrote the offer, I have wanted to paint the brick fireplace in the family room.
My husband would have nothing to do with it and wouldn’t entertain the idea of touching the brick no matter how much I pleaded. He was (key word was) a die hard, you never paint brick, kind of guy. So, for seven years I endured the big elephant in the room always trying to decorate around it to lighten up the space. Now, don’t get me wrong…I love brick and red/orange brick has it’s places in the right setting; just not my family room.
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Can You Paint Brick?
You can paint brick and a lot of people do from interior to exterior brick; it happens all the time. For the sake of this post I am discussing painting an interior, gas lit brick fireplace. If you are looking to paint exterior brick or other brick surfaces some of these tips will be the same, but I encourage you to research painting the type of brick your project requires.
I love painted brick, but it can require some maintenance and needs to be done with care. Be sure to use a breathable paint such as silicate or mineral-based paint.
Whitewash Brick or Paint Brick
You may hear the term whitewash brick and think that it is the same thing as painting brick. It is not; however, a lot of people will say whitewash when they actually mean to paint.
Whitewash is an older technique that was/is used to brighten up a wall, fence or brick while to paint is to actually apply paint to something such as a fence or brick. Whitewash is a chalk, lime and water mixture and whitens the surface it is applied to, but does not leave a solid coating on the surface. White paint includes binders and resins to form a solid surface, dries in a solid coat, protects and adds color to the surface it has been applied.
White paint can also be used to whitewash a surface by watering down white paint. These terms are often interchanged.
Do You Have to Prime a Brick Fireplace Before Painting?
I recommend a can of Zinnser Primer as primer for painting a brick fireplace. After using the Zinnser Primer you can use any basic interior latex paint and achieve great coverage. I recommend one coat of primer and two coats of latex paint for the finish.
Because of the paint I used I did not have to prime before painting. I used two coats of the paint and it has been fine. Once again, I checked with my paint expert and this was their recommendation. A lot of times the higher quality the paint is the less finish paint is required. Higher quality paints are more costly but I have found investing a few more dollars in my paint ensures the coverage and finish of my painting projects.
Best Paint to Use on a Brick Fireplace
What kind of paint to use on a brick fireplace is key. Any Acrylic Latex Paint should be used along with a primer. I selected Benjamin Moore’s Aura Paint as recommended by the owner at our paint store. It has a smooth, uniform color and works in few coats. It resists scuffing and is a primer and paint together so I didn’t have to prime first. Two coats was all I needed with this paint.
Best Paint Finish For Brick Fireplace
The paint finish or paint sheen you chose is really up to you; this is personal preference. I see several who use semi-gloss finish because it is more durable and easier to clean. My husband and I don’t like a lot of shiny accents and having such a large brick wall with a sort of glossy sheen just didn’t appeal to us. We selected eggshell finish and using the higher grade paint really makes a difference here. The eggshell has held up fine while not being shiny and still being easy to clean as needed.
What Color Should You Paint a Brick Fireplace?
I LOVE a white brick fireplace and white painted brick in general. You can use any color you want for your decor, but a lot will paint a fireplace white. I’ve seen fireplaces black, gray, navy blue however and they look stunning. This again is personal preference.
Since all the trim in our home is White Dove I wanted everything to flow together and we chose Benjamin Moore White Dove to paint the fireplace as well.
Paint Brick Fireplace Supplies
- Drop Cloth
- Painters Tape
- Degreaser/TSP (if necessary)
- Hand Vacuum
- Latex Paint (any color)
- Stiff Paint Brush or Stiff Paint Brush
- 3/4″ High-Density Polyester Roller Cover
Before and After Painted Brick Fireplace
The design of the fireplace is lovely and truly a statement piece in the room, but the after of it all painted makes this fireplace even more grand. I love how the mantel pops and how the entire room and decor just comes together instantly. It’s just so lovely in every way!
Steps for Painting a Brick Fireplace
Now that we’ve got all the preliminaries out of the way let’s get this DIY project complete so you can start to enjoy your space. Follow these very simple steps for getting your fireplace painted.
Clean the Brick
My fireplace is not a wood burner; it’s gas; therefore, I did not need to deep clean the brick really. If you have a wood burning fireplace I would suggest using trisodium phosphate (TSP); a half cup of TSP mixed into a gallon of water ought to do the trick. I have read that vinegar/water mixture works too.
For our gas burning fireplace I only wiped the brick down with a damp rag to dust it and vacuumed it to ensure it was dust and particle free.
Tape Off the Area
Using painters tape we taped the floor at the base, the crown molding at the top and the walls that were adjacent to the brick.
Time to Paint
Using a roller and a brush we got started on painting. You want to use a stiff brush since the brick is not like a wall; it’s very course and a stiff brush will help you get all the paint into the nooks and crevices.
The high density, thick roller is also key to help the paint cover properly. This project took us about four hours to complete from start to finish with prep, taping off the area, and painting two coats. I couldn’t be more happy about this easy DIY. It totally transformed the space and I LOOOVE it!!
Final Thoughts on Painting a Brick Fireplace
I love how this turned out and better yet so does my husband. He keeps saying why didn’t we paint it sooner? HA! Truly wish I could have done this sooner and enjoyed it longer before we sold our home.
We painted this in April 2020 and sold our home July 2021 so all in all about 18 months we enjoyed the fireplace. In those 18 months the paint held up perfectly with no marks or chips. I vacuumed the hearth regularly and our dog liked to lay on their too. The paint never had any scratches and held up very well.
If you are debating painting your brick fireplace go for it! You will love it and wish you had done it sooner.
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- Clean the brick with either dusting or using a degreaser
- Tape off the surrounding area
- Prime the brick fireplace if needed
- Paint the brick
Selecting the right paint and primer will ensure a long lasting finish. If you have a wood burning fireplace you may need to use extra steps to ensure the brick is clean before priming and painting. Using a stiff brush and a high-density roller is key to achieving an even finished look.
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