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How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

Over Thanksgiving break this past year we drove to Casey's family home in Asheville, North Carolina. The view is breathtaking from his family's land and I always feel at peace when we visit.

While we were there for a week I threw out the idea of painting the fireplace as his mom had voiced a desire to update the home. I was completely shocked when his family agreed to let me paint the fireplace after only a 10 minute discussion! They even trusted me to pick the color!


My original plan was to paint it Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams, but after we saw the color swatch in person we decided to go with a more true black in Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Iron Ore, but it has a slight grey tone to it and for this paint job we really wanted a true black with minimal undertone to go with the natural wood tone of the mantle which I wanted to keep.


The first thing we did was remove the corbels from the mantle. They were purely decorative and super easy to remove. I love the color of the mantle and with the removal of the corbels the fireplace already felt more modern.

1. Prep the space.

After removing the corbels we made sure to prep the space by taping off and covering the mantle and edges of the fireplace. We also used extra plastic tarp to cover the mantle and the floors to make sure we did not have any paint drip onto the floor.

2. Clean the brick.

Next we cleaned off the brick by brushing it with a broom and vacuuming the debris. It is recommended that you clean the brick with degreaser or any other brick cleaning product if you have significant debris or dirt. If you leave the debris/dirt then the paint will not tick to the brick and it will chip.

3. Paint the face and hearth (the outside of the fireplace).

I then began the tedious task of painting all of the grout. Just as I will cut in for trim or edges first while painting a wall, I followed the same order by cutting in with the grout first and rolling after.

If you are painting your brick white or another light color we recommend priming it first and then using your chosen paint color as this will ensure the new light color is bright and stays true to color. We did not use a white primer first because we were painting it a darker color and the paint we used had a self-primer included. I made sure to read plenty of reviews on the paint beforehand to make sure that it would hold up even if we didn't prime!

We were able to get a true black in only one coat, but I do recommend using two coats if you are painting it a lighter color.

4. Paint the firebox (the inside of the fireplace)

It is important that you use heat resistant paint if you are going to paint the firebox. We used high heat resistant paint by Rustoleum in satin black. The black is definitely more of a deeper black compared to the paint we used on the brick, but I actually love the depth and dimension is brings to the fireplace. We used the same brush and roller to apply the paint and waited 24hrs before applying the second coat.

It took us only two days to paint the entire fireplace, but we worked non-stop! The most nerve racking part was climbing high onto the ladder to reach the top of 20+ foot fireplace. Even with the poll extender we could not complete the very top without the ladder.

This was the first big DIY in his family's home, but I have a feeling we will be back to take on more of this space.


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