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How to Repaint a Brick Fireplace

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Learn how to repaint a brick fireplace. Get easy tips for cleaning the painted brick and choosing the perfect color for your fireplace.

brick fireplace painted blue

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If you bought a house with a painted fireplace, you probably hate the previous owners.

Our house is almost 100 years old, and the fireplace has been painted several times (at least four from what I can see.) There are even bits of silver paint left over. A silver fireplace must have been interesting

When we first went to look at our house, we loved the fireplace. It took us a while to realize that it was a painted faux finish.

The more I lived with it, the more I hated it. The faux finish was a bit garish in person. It drew your attention, but not for the right reason.

So, I decided to repaint the brick fireplace. Here are a few things that I thought about before getting started.

Should You Repaint or Strip a Brick Fireplace?

It depends on the effect you want and how much work you’re willing to put in.

Repainting is a lot easier than stripping the paint. I painted our fireplace in about 1 hour total, but it would have taken me weeks to strip the fireplace.

In the end, I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort. Stripping paint requires you to rinse the bricks, and I didn’t want to figure out how to do that without destroying our wood floors.

I also have no clue what the bricks under the paint look like. What if I did all of that work and the bricks were ugly? (You can look at the fireplace outside to see what it’s like, but ours is painted.)

The fireplace size was another reason that I decided against stripping the paint. Our fireplace is about 5′ x 7′ wide. It’s huge. I might have attempted it on a smaller one.

What Color Should You Paint Your Fireplace?

Color choices are personal, so I’ll tell you my thoughts on how I arrived at a dark gray-blue.

We have old photos of the house in the 1990s, and it had a white fireplace. When I chose light blue for the walls, I considered painting it white. But I thought it would draw too much attention to the dark hole.

If we ever get it working, white gets dirty really easily, and I think it would be bad for that reason, too.

Black was another consideration. I nixed it because that much black would be overwhelming against the light blue walls. Black would look great with darker walls, though. (Or on a smaller fireplace.)

I also considered painting the fireplace the same color as the walls but decided against that because I didn’t want it to blend in too much.

In the end, I chose a dark blue-gray color (SW Blue Mystery) simply because I bought it for another project and had it on hand. I had originally considered a navy blue, but the living room doesn’t get a ton of natural light.

It’s actually the same color as the outside of my home, so I like that I was able to bring it inside.

Our sofa is blue, and I like how there are so many shades of blue in the room. I guess I’m in my blue era.

So, to conclude, here are the things to consider:

  • Black or white. These colors are a classic go-to choice and look good in most environments. But will they give you the effect that you want in your room?
  • The wall color. Painting your fireplace the wall color will create a calming effect, but will it make your fireplace blend in too much?
  • A Darker (or Lighter Version) of Your Wall Color. This choice coordinates with your chosen wall color.
  • A Contrasting Accent Color. This can be an interesting option to add another color to your room. This works best if your decor already has a color palette.
  • Think About Your Furnishings. Does the color you have in mind work with existing furnishings?

Do You Need to Prime the Fireplace?

If your fireplace is grimy or sooty, it’s a good idea to clean it and then prime it. You also want to prime it if you’re painting latex over oil paint.

I skipped the primer for this paint job and just cleaned it really well.

fireplace in old house
Here’s how the house looked on the day we closed. This is a FAUX FINISH. Not unpainted brick.

One more note about our fireplace: It’s a non-functioning fireplace at this point, so I didn’t worry about heat-safe paint. That being said, I’ve never had a fireplace get hot on the surround, so I’m not sure that it’s even necessary. (It’s necessary for the inside, though.)

How to Repaint a Brick Fireplace

Supplies Needed:

*I used paint that I had bought for another project. The color is SW Blue Mystery in satin. I would have preferred eggshell paint for this job, but like I said, I already had this paint.

  1. Clean the fireplace as best as you can. I vacuumed the surface to remove dust and cobwebs. Then, I wiped it down with a microfiber rug.
  2. Protect the hearth and floor with a drop cloth. You can tape off the area by the wall if you want.
  3. Start by painting the mortar lines with an angled brush. The brush I linked is perfect for this kind of project because it fits in your hand really well, allowing you to get into small areas. painting details on fireplace
  4. When you have about one square foot painted, go back and paint the surfaces of the bricks. painting brick fireplace
  5. Continue in this manner, making sure to look for drips as you go.
  6. If the bricks have divots, load the brush and pounce it into the holes to cover those spots. blue painted brick fireplace
  7. Let the paint dry completely.
  8. Go back and paint any areas that need touch-ups. Lighter colors may need more coats for even coverage. painting fireplace blue
  9. Let the paint dry. fireplace painted blue
  10. If your fireplace is in working order, I recommend waiting a few days before you use it again. blue painted fireplace with porch goose

Lucy, our porch goose, kind of steals the show, so here’s a photo of the fireplace without Lucy. It’s better with her, though. Porch geese just make a room better.

blue painted fireplace in living room

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before and after photo of painted fireplace

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