Update the Look of Your Brick Fireplace with These Painting Tips and Fireplace Tools
With the arrival of autumn comes cooler days and even colder nights that are perfect for sitting by the fire. But if your brick fireplace is looking a bit dirty and outdated, you might want to upgrade your fireplace before enjoying frequent nights by the fire. However, an upgrade doesn’t mean you have to buy a new fireplace. If you’re willing to do a bit of work, you can make your fireplace look as good as new with a bit of cleaning and painting. And if your fireplace tools are outdated as well, consider replacing them with new fireplace tools to match your newly updated fireplace.
Here are some tips for painting brick fireplaces, along with tools and materials you’ll need. To keep your skin and eyes protected, consider wearing gloves and safety goggles throughout the project. Clean the Brick
Clean the Brick
Prior to painting, thoroughly clean the brick on your fireplace to make sure the paint will adhere properly. Use soapy water and a stiff-bristle brush to scrub off dirt and mineral deposits—known as efflorescence.
If there is soot leftover, scrub with a mixture of ½ a cup of trisodium phosphate and one gallon of water. To remove mildew, use a sponge to soak the brick with a solution of one part bleach to three parts water. Allow this bleach solution to sit for half an hour, and then scrub the brick with a wire brush. The brick will need to dry for at least 24 hours before you can start painting.
While you are waiting for the bricks to dry, check for any small cracks in the brick and repair with acrylic caulk. This will also need to dry—according to the instructions on the product label—before painting.
Prepare for Painting
Apply painter’s tape along the edges of the fireplace—such as where the brick meets the wall and floor. Also, place a drop cloth on the hearth and floor to protect from paint splatter. You might also want to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on.
Apply the Primer
Pour masonry primer into a 5-gallon bucket and install a bucket screen. Dip the paint roller into the primer and roll it along the screen until you have completely coated the roller. Using the roller, apply the primer to the entire surface of the brick including the mortar joints. Use a paintbrush to paint the deeper joints the roller missed. Apply one or two additional coats of primer to the bricks that you cleaned of efflorescence. Clean your tools and allow the primer coat to dry overnight.
Apply the Finish
When choosing a finish, consider using a matte paint to help bring out the texture of the brick. Following the same steps as the primer, pour acrylic latex paint into another 5-gallon bucket, and then attach a bucket screen. Dip the roller into the bucket and roll on the screen until completely coated. Use overlapping strokes to thoroughly paint the finishing coat and effectively cover every part of the fireplace brick. Allow the paint to dry before using your fireplace.
The Finishing Touches
If you need to apply more paint to some spots, use a brush for touch-ups. Wash all of your tools promptly to prevent paint from drying on them. Remove the painter’s tape and drop cloth. If there is any paint splatter, wipe with a cloth and warm water as soon as you notice it. Keep in mind that for painting the interior of the fireplace (the firebox) you will need to use a special heat-resistant paint instead.
Don’t wait until winter to update your fireplace. The sooner you give your brick fireplace a fresh new look with paint and new fireplace tools, the more cool autumn evenings you can enjoy in front of the fire with your beautiful upgraded fireplace.