Is your brick fireplace starting to look bland and outdated? Then it's probably time you gave it a makeover, and nothing does that better than a new paint job.
Here is everything you need to know about painting your fireplace, from what you need to how to get the job done correctly.
What's the Best Paint to Use When Painting a Brick Fireplace?
Your fireplace gets a lot of heat exposure. So, you'll probably want to go for heat-resistant paint that can withstand temperatures up to 250° Fahrenheit. The paint should also be durable and breathable. In this case, it would be best to choose latex paint over acrylic or oil paint.
But, since bricks soak up the paint, not counting all the crevices in your fireplace, you'll also need a primer.Zinnser Primer that's tinted to match your paint works best in this situation.
Your paint's color and sheen also play a major role in determining how your fireplace looks once the job is done. There are nearly unlimited color options out there, so the paint you choose ultimately depends on your preferences and what you want to achieve.
If you're going for a more natural look, you can stick to the existing brick color or lighten things up with white paint for a fresh, classy look. While you're at it, you should also check the paint's sheen.
The most common sheens on the market are eggshell and semi-gloss sheens. The eggshell sheen typically has a lower sheen and gives off a warm glow. It's also easier to apply and does a good job of hiding imperfections.
On the other hand, a semi-gloss sheen is considerably harder to apply and reflects a lot of light. This can be a little distracting in a bright room. So you may want to avoid the semi-gloss sheen if the room gets plenty of light.
How to Paint Bricks
Before you get to the painting part, here are a few things you'll need.
High nap rollers designed for rough surfaces
Clean the fireplace.
You first need to make sure your fireplace is clear of dust, debris, and cobwebs. A simple vacuum can do the trick. However, if your fireplace is really dirty, it's better to scrape off the dirt with a heavy-duty cleaner and wire brush.
Collect your supplies.
Once your fireplace is clean, it's time to get to the real job – painting. Therefore, ensure you have your primer and paint brushes close by since the first coat is the primer.
Prime the bricks.
There are a lot of tight spaces between the bricks, so you'll want to prime the mortar first to ensure the paint covers the entire surface of the brick. Use a small brush to get into the smaller corners and edges since your roller won't be able to reach these spots.
Paint the bricks.
Once the motor is all primed up, use a ¾-inch roller to paint the brick's faces with primer. You can also use a brush for better access.
After One Coat of Primer
Repeat steps 3 and 4.
You'll need to wait for the first coat of the primer to dry before applying the second. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on humidity and temperature levels in the room. The second coat should cover all the areas you missed on your first coat, resulting in near-to-full brick coverage.
After Two Coats of Primer
Apply a coat of semi-gloss paint.
Use a small brush to paint the mortar, then a roller to paint the brick like you did in steps 3 and 4.
After One Coat of Semi-Gloss Paint
Your semi-gloss paint should be dry in about 2 hours. At this point, you should be seeing the visible difference in your fireplace. It would have taken a few more coats of paint had you used regular paint, but since you opted for a high-quality primer, it should have been done by now.
That said, you can always apply another coat if you feel you've not achieved your desired results.
Tips and Tricks
Don't Spend Too Much Money on the Brush
Buying high-quality, premium tools is great, but it isn't quite cost-effective if you're going to end up tossing them afterward. The rough brick texture can really do a number on your brush bristles, so it's better to go for affordable multi-size paintbrush packs that you can use and toss out afterward.
Preparation Is Key
Painting is a pretty messy job. And your fireplace isn't any different, no matter how small it is. Therefore, before you get to painting, make sure you cover the area around the heath and tape off the doors to keep off paint spills.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Clean the Bricks Before Painting?
Like with any painting job, you need to scrape off all the dirt and debris before painting. A little vacuuming and dusting would be sufficient, but if you have a lot of soot around the hearth or firebox, you should probably wash it with a damp cloth.
How Long Does the Paint Last?
Your paint should last for about three years. However, it might chip off if you constantly bang on the bricks with a poker.
How Long Do I Have to Wait Before Using the Fireplace?
Ideally, you should be able to use the fireplace within 2 to 3 days after painting. That said, drying time can differ from place to place due to differences in temperature and humidity conditions. But running your finger through the paint should give you an idea of how dry it is.
The Bottom Line
Painting a fireplace is not as hard as you think. With the right tools and adequate time on your hands – preferably a whole day- you can have your fireplace beaming with color in no time.
And while you're at it, make sure you use the right paint for the job. All paints and primers used for fireplaces should be heat-resistant to at least 250° Fahrenheit.
To design your mantle, check out our other articlehere.
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