How to paint a brick fireplace in basically 2 steps. 1) prep. 2) paint…
In today’s DIY blog post, we’re going to talk about how to paint a brick fireplace.
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But first, I need you to know a couple of things…some possibly slightly sordid secrets, if you will.
1.) I’m a Mom (ok, not so secret or sordid).
2.) I drive a minivan.
3.) Behind the ponytail and mom jeans, there’s a gal who has been known, in the past, to play with a little fire once in a while. A little danger keeps things interesting, right? Now because I’m a Mom, my current definition of “thrill seeking” no longer means bungy jumping, or base jumping. In fact, “jumping” of any kind is kinda sorta out. But running with the bulls, cage diving with sharks….now THOSE things….nope, they’re definitely out too.
All that said, I don’t think any of that means I can’t be hip, be a little edgy or “crazy” sometimes! Perfect example…
That time I painted my brick fireplace. Without warning. Without preparation. WHILE the husband was at work and completely unaware. I know. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! “She’s wild”, is what you’re thinking. But, don’t get scared, friends. Painting a brick fireplace is an INSANELY EASY process.
supplies for a painted brick fireplace
- Painters plastic/dropcloths to cover adjacent flooring
- Wire brush
- Latex paint of your choice (preferably WITH primer), any sheen (flat, eggshell, etc) you prefer (I personally used ultra white, Behr semi-gloss)
- Water (to cut the paint, if desired)
- Bucket to mix paint and water
- Paintbrush (we used a flat 4″ brush)
- Roller with nap for textured surfaces
- **If painting the interior of the firebox, you will need paint rated to withstand HIGH TEMPERATURES** (this can be found at your local home improvement retailer)
Let me start by showing you where we were in the beginning….the reason I got all “fired” up in the first place. Here was our brick fireplace, BEFORE…
I was either going to go all 80’s Talking Heads and start “burning down the house” or we were gonna “fire it up” Busta Rhymes style and figure out how to paint this beast baptism-by-fire-style. Before I painted the brick though, we painted the walls, the trim, changed the ceiling fan to a big ol chandelier. I have a weakness for chandeliers.
We also added some faux beams, which made a BIG difference for a small price tag.
how to paint a brick fireplace:
1. Clean brick with wire brush, then vacuum.
Truth be told, I totally skipped this step. I literally just picked up a paintbrush one afternoon and started slapping the paint up there. BUT, if I were going to teach someone how to do this project, as I’m attempting to do here, I would want them to do it right.
So, give your brick a good once over with a wire brush to get all the cobwebs, dust, and loose material off there. Some people will tell you to then CLEAN the brick with various cleaners, or vinegar/water, etc. Sure, go ahead and do that if you want. I didn’t, and mine turned out just fine.
Once you’ve brushed/cleaned, what have you, use your vacuum to make sure everything is spic and span.
2. Decide how translucent versus opaque do you want your paint to be.
A “whitewashed” look is achieved by cutting your paint with water. This allows brick and original brick color to show through the paint. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you want complete coverage of the pre-existing color, then don’t cut your paint at all…go full throttle, 100 proof paint.
Since I was living on the edge and being fun and unpredictable with this project, I had no plan. So I started by cutting the paint 50%, and painted like that for a while. When I realized I didn’t like that look, I switched to full strength, unadulterated 100% proof paint.
If you’re not quite sure of the look you want, either, I’d suggest start by cutting the paint 50%, and try that in a section. It’s easier to go from thinner to thicker coverage…going the opposite way doesn’t work as well. Mix the paint/water in a separate container so you can track your proportions and stay consistent through the whole project once you find a combination you like.
3. Paint the fireplace.
You can start by rolling the paint with a textured nap, but in the end, because of the mortar joints, you’re going to have to use a brush as well. Cover the area surrounding your fireplace. This job gets messy because you’ll have a fair amount of paint on your brush at any given time.
Since brick is porous, it absorbs the paint readily. If you are want even coverage, you’ll need multiple coats. If a more translucent, whitewashed look is the goal, then less paint is probably more.
4. You’re done, but for a bonus…
In the case of our fireplace, we have a wood stove. And it looked very dated with it’s brass accents. So we updated the exterior of the wood stove as well! Here’s a post about how you can tackle that easy project.
And that’s how to paint a brick fireplace! Take ‘er out of the oven, cuz this baby is DONE. WELL DONE, I’d say…
When you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned. And that is certainly can be true. But not this time! I dove headfirst into this project without hesitation, or any preparation, and I gotta tell you, I’m not sorry ONE BIT. I think this fireplace is lookin’ hot, hot, hot!
And guess what? Nah nah na na na nah, this angel’s already been a centerfold! Yep. That’s Miss Mustard Seed above. She photographed this room for Cottages & Bungalows magazine. You can read more about that shoot, here.