There are many reasons a homeowner might want to paint the brick surface of their fireplace. The old brick surface may just look tired or may not match the general look of the room. Whatever the reason, the decision is a go or no-go one.
Bricks are very porous and once painted the action cannot be rescinded. Painting fireplace bricks is a permanent action. Other options to consider are covering the fireplace with slate or another thin cut stone, using a mastic to adhere it.
Keeping the Brick Look?
If you want to keep the brick look but just don’t like the natural color of your existing brick, there is a product that just might do the trick for you. It is called Brick-Anew and is formulated to change the color of the original brick while leaving it looking like brick rather than just a “painted” brick. This is a latex based product formulated especially for brick surfaces and the temperatures that exist in a fireplace environment.
Painting Fireplace Bricks to Achieve a New Color
The first thing to do is establish want color you want to go with. Will it match the walls or complement them? A good way to do this is to paint the walls first and then tape paint chips to adjacent surfaces on the fireplace brick. Don’t make an instant decision but re-visit it several times a day when the natural daylight entering the room changes.
The new color should make a statement but one question remains. Do you want to paint the complete surface or leave the mortar natural?
Brick Surface Preparation
Run a piece of rough sandpaper over the surface to be painted and then use a straw broom to completely clean the surface. In many instances there are chunks of mortar that are best dislodged now rather than later.
If there is any soot on the brick from previous fires use a brush, soap, and water to remove it and let it dry. Whichever latex paint you choose to use, consult with your vendor as to what specific primer he recommends for this project. Any painted surface should be primed before painting.
If you are leaving the mortar lines natural (not painting them) do not go to the trouble of taping off each individual brick with painter’s tape. Just use a two inch cut-in brush and take your time. If you don’t mind a bit of tedious work, this should be an enjoyable project.
The devil is in the details as they say, so take your time. The leading edge of your brush should flow over the uneven surface of the brick edges in a fluid manner. Also, expect to dip the brush often because of the porous nature of the brick’s surface.
Painting the Fireplace Brick
The only thing left is to paint the brick. If you have primed the brick as outlined above, just follow the same instructions, making sure that all the primer is painted over with the paint color of choice. You should not have any problem completing this fireplace painting project.
Once your fireplace has been painted, it is a good idea to let it cure for a few weeks or so, hence, it is a project best tackled during the summer season when the fireplace is not seeing any activity.