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How to Paint a Fireplace

How to Paint a Fireplace
Painting an old fireplace is probably one of the easiest and cheapest home improvements you can do!  It takes but a few tools and products, it costs around $50 to $100 and it should only take about half of your day up depending on how far you want to go with the project.  Below we will be covering the tools and equipment you will need, some tips and tricks along the way that you can use and of course some extras – such as building and installing a new mantel for your fireplace!


  • -Wire brush
  • -Stud finder
  • -Miter saw
  • -Tape measure
  • -Screwdriver
  • -Paintbrush and painter’s tape
  • -Shop vacuum


  • -Salvaged boards or mantel (optional)
  • -Wood screws
  • -White paint for mantel (eggshell, latex)
  • -Paint for brick (eggshell, latex)
  • -Black heat-resistant paint for firebox
  • -Sandpaper
  • -Wood glue
  • -Wood filler
  • -Solution of water/white vinegar in a spray bottle
  • -Rags

Clean the Brick

Like with any other paint project, you want to make sure that the surface is clean and any dirt, dust and debris are gone.  In order to do this with a brick fireplace you can use a wire brush to scrub the surface, just make sure that you lay a drop cloth down first to catch any debris, dirt and soot.  When you are finished cleaning the surface you can then vacuum the area to get rid of any stuff that fell on the floor and maybe missed the drop cloth.

Washing the Brick

Instead of using any other mixture to clean the brick, most people find that a mixture of half water and half vinegar works quite well in removing any extra residue that couldn’t be scrubbed off using the wire brush.  Just place the mixture into a spray bottle, shake it up, and spray it all over the fireplace, getting into any small spaces or crevices along the way.  When finished, take a clean rag and wipe off any residue, this is to help the paint stick better so it’s an important step!

Heat Resistant Paint

Next, you will want to find a heat resistant paint and paint the inside of the brick.  Obviously this is not important if your fireplace is just for looks and is never used, but if you do use it, make sure you paint the inside with the right type of paint.  If necessary apply two coats!

Painting the Outside Brick

Next, you need to paint the rest of the brick with your desired paint color.  Chances are you will have to apply two or more coats for this because brick tends to be a porous material and “sucks” up a lot of the paint you put on it.  Make sure that you are also pushing the paint into the brick so that it can cover all of those little holes, grooves and bumps.

New Mantel

Chances are if you are painting your brick fireplace, you are probably going for a new look, not just a new color.  But, if you are wanting the same look and a different color, no problem.  Just sand the wood down, apply a primer coat and then apply the paint color you want.  On the other hand if you want a completely new design and possibly a new color, the process is pretty easy.  You will need to remove the previous mantel and keep the same dimensions, add in any new design features like molding to really make it look like a new mantel and attach it to the frame of the mantel using screws for the top part and molding screws for the molding.  Cover any holes that need covered, sand the new piece down, and then paint the entire thing.  It’s actually quite easy!

Admittedly enough a lot of home improvement projects around the house can be incredibly time consuming, cost a lot of money or be super difficult for you to do, let alone complete.  But, painting a fireplace and building a new mantel for it is probably one of the easiest, quickest and most cost efficient projects you can do.  The skill level is intermediate, it costs less than $200 and it takes around two days to complete this project if you keep a nice pace up!

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