How to Paint a Brick Fireplace (& Tips for Safer Fires)

ECOS 10/30/2014
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace (& Tips for Safer Fires)

A brick fireplace can be a gorgeous focal point in a room, but sometimes they can have a dated, unattractive facade that turn them into the ugly elephant in the room. Luckily, there’s no need to invest in replacing it. Here’s the easiest trick in the book: paint the brick! It’s super simple, looks fabulous, and can be done over a weekend. Best of all, you don’t need a professional. It requires no more painting expertise than what you need to paint any interior wall. Here’s how to paint a brick fireplace (plus some tips for safer fires!)

Figure out how much paint you’ll need. Measure the area that you’ll be painting to see how much paint you’ll need. Brick is porous (like a sponge), so plan on using more paint than what is normal for an interior wall.

Clean. There may be a lot of soot and smoke damage around the fireplace, so it needs to be cleaned extremely well to ensure a good finish. You can use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water  – or washing soda and water would work fine, as well. Scrub this into all the mortar and make sure you get into the cracks of the brick. Let the brick dry before you move to the next step.

Pick your paint. If there’s still a lot of soot and discoloration on the brick after you cleaned it up, then we recommend you use ECOS Universal Primer before painting. This will prevent any of that discoloration from coming through when you apply your paint color. If you see anything come through after one coat, apply another coat of primer. If your brick is in good shape after cleaning, then you can use any of the ECOS Wall or Trim Paints (they’re super durable!). We recommend using at least an eggshell finish, but many people prefer using a semi-gloss or gloss trim paint. It all depends on how you want the finished product to look, as far as glossiness. You definitely want it to be cleanable, so don’t use a flat finish.

Apply the paint. For applying both the primer and the finish coats of paint, use a 1 ¼ inch paint roller sleeve. This is the thickest you can buy and it’ll get paint in all those little cracks. It’ll also make this job a lot easier and save you time. Move the roller slowly over the brick because there will be a lot of paint in the roller sleeve, which could splatter if you move too fast. Follow behind with a brush if there are spots that the roller isn’t getting into. Let this dry and apply a second coat. (Note: Do not apply this paint to the interior of the fireplace, just the facade.)

You’re done - enjoy! You won’t believe how much this simple project will transform your room. Enjoy the fruits of your labor by relaxing next to your new fireplace!

Need some inspiration? Check out our Houzz Ideabook!
Painted Fireplaces

With your fireplace looking all fresh and fabulous, you’re surely going to want to use it. Follow these fireplace safety tips, so that you and your family can be warm and cozy while avoiding any risks.

  • Never burn trash, charcoal, holiday greens, colored or coated papers, or wood that may have been coated in chemicals. A good rule to follow is that if you question whether it is safe to burn in your fireplace then you shouldn’t.
  • You should make sure to keep your fires on the small side. Large, extremely hot fires can lead to chimney fires. Use seasoned hardwoods that burn hot and provide complete combustion.
  • Use your fireplace mostly for special occasions. If you use it more regularly, make sure that you’re getting it cleaned more often and are always keeping a close eye on it.
  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional every year – even if you don’t use it very often. Critters and birds can sometimes make it their home when it hasn’t been used for a long time, so that’s another reason other than chimney fires to have an inspection.
  • Never start a fire using gasoline, charcoal lighter fluid, or any other fuel to start a fire. All of these fuels are highly combustible and could cause an explosion.
  • Do not allow small children near the fireplace.
  • Never leave a fire untended. Make sure the fire is totally extinguished before leaving the house.
  • Do not have anything hanging from the mantel that could start on fire. Decorations such as stockings could catch fire even from a spark so they should be no where near the fireplace.
  • Make sure you have basic fire safety equipment. Keep a type ABC fire extinguisher near the fireplace, install a screen that completely covers the fireplace opening, equip your house with smoke detectors, and use a spark arrester on top of your chimney.

We hope that these tips were helpful! Remember that we’re always happy to answer any questions before, during, or after your project is done. (And, we’d love to see photos if you tackle this project!)

CATEGORIES fireplace paint|painting brick