The best paint for a brick fireplace will be rated to withstand the heat that is generated by the fire and absorbed by the brick. Any indoor latex paint, either gloss, flat, or semi-gloss, will be able to get the job done. It just has to be rated to withstand temperatures of 200°F or greater.
Once you’ve selected your paint, you’ll also want to make sure you follow these steps to get the best possible results for your fireplace makeover.
#1. The bricks must be absolutely clean to take on the paint. If there is any soot residue, dirt, or other debris on your fireplace bricks, then the paint will not adhere or dry properly. To clean your bricks, you’ll want to have a wire scrub brush, TSP-cleaner, and personal protective equipment. Once the TSP has been applied, wash the brick thoroughly with a high-quality cleaner. Then rinse and allow to dry.
#2. Tape off any areas that should not be painted. Standard painter’s tape will usually take care of this issue. Do not apply the tape until the bricks have properly dried.
#3. You will need to prime the brick before you paint it. The best primer for a brick fireplace will be oil-based and offer stain-blocking features. Make sure you place protective plastic or a drop cloth on your floor before applying the primer. Then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, making sure the entire surface which will be painted has been given a good primer coat. Allow the primer to thoroughly dry.
#4. Now you are ready to start painting. You may need 2-3 coats to receive the exact results you want. To apply the paint, you will want to have a roller available which is specifically adapted to the rough surface of the brick. Paint brushes are not recommended because the bristles can get stuck in the brick – use foam touch-up brushes instead to reach difficult spots. Smooth rollers will leave debris in the paint as well. Allow each coat of paint to thoroughly dry before proceeding.
Never paint the interior firebox of a fireplace. The exterior of a brick fireplace is what should be addressed.
What is the best color to paint a brick fireplace? Color is about personal preference. Any color will work. Lighter colors may collect more soot and require frequent cleaning, however, so choose the color based on the planned amount of use of the fireplace.
What about paint that has primer mixed in with it? Some latex paints have primer mixed into it so that you can apply it directly to a surface without the need for multiple coats. This works adequately for interior walls but does not generally work well on brick. You will need to apply the primer coats before applying the paint to achieve the best possible results.