Transform a dark, dreary brick fireplace into a bright, modern hearth with easy-to-apply paint.
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Thoroughly wash the brick and grout using trisodium phosphate and a scrub brush. Take special care to remove any soot from around the fireplace opening. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and let dry completely.
Large deposits of soot on the face brick may be a sign you’ll need fireplace doors to protect painted bricks from excess heat and smoke.
If the brick has already been painted, check for chipping, flaking, or blistering paint. Repair and prime any damaged areas.
Carefully mask off the walls or cabinets around the brick with painter’s tape. Tape down kraft paper or pieces of cardboard as needed to protect the mantel and supports. Tape around and over the firebox or fireplace insert and add drop cloths to protect the flooring.
Although you can paint the inside of a masonry fireplace using high-temperature paint, there’s no guarantee the finish will withstand contact with open flames from a fire. These bricks are better left unfinished.
Apply a base coat (Desert Fortress shown) using a roller on the brick faces and a sash brush to reach the edges and ends of bricks and the grout between them. Let dry overnight.
For highly textured bricks, use a roller with at least a 1/2-inch nap that can reach into crevices in the brick. You’ll still need a brush to reach recessed grout. For bricks with a shiny glazed face, however, first prime the surface to help the paint stick.
Cut a sponge to the same size as the bricks. Dampen the sponge and wring it out just enough to stop it from dripping. Pour a small amount of accent-color paint (Smoked Oyster shown) in a tray and use a brush to draw some of the paint onto the ribbed area of the tray.
Press one face of the sponge onto the tray until it absorbs a small amount. Blot any excess on a piece of scrap cardboard or paper. Then lightly press the sponge against the brick.
After the first few bricks, you’ll get the hang of loading paint onto your sponge. Until then, practice in the least conspicuous area of the fireplace. If you make a mistake, immediately wipe off the brick and start over.
As you paint each brick, allow some color differences to show through for a more natural appearance.
If the sponge begins to dry out or paint builds up, wash it thoroughly with detergent and rinse it clean before resuming. Having spare sponges will help keep the process going.
Allow the paint to dry overnight before using the fireplace.