Sunday, January 13, 2013

Painting a Brick Fireplace

By now, you probably know about my love for fireplaces.  In our previous house, we didn’t have a fireplace, so I made a faux fireplace to help me survive without a real one.  I even got an electric fireplace to put in front of my faux mantel so it felt even more authentic.

Back when we were house hunting for this house, a fireplace was pretty much a non-negotiable item for me.  If a house didn’t have a fireplace, I really didn’t even consider it.  And preferably, I wanted the fireplace to be a brick wood-burning fireplace so that I could paint the bricks white once we moved in.  I love painted white brick fireplaces and I love real crackling, cozy fires.
Well, about a month ago, I finally got my brick wood-burning fireplace.

So with a little help from Peyton, I painted all those bricks white.

Painting brick isn’t much harder than painting a wall, it’s just a little more time consuming to get into all those cracks and in the mortar.  Before painting, I removed the gold and black glass door insert. Then I used a vacuum cleaner hose to vacuum up all the dust and soot that had accumulated on the bricks.  After that, I gave all the bricks a good wipe down with a damp rag and I used wall putty to patch up any holes.
For the paint, I went with Behr’s off-the-shelf white paint in semi-gloss.

Originally, I didn’t intend to put the glass doors back into the fireplace.  The doors were dated and I didn’t want it ruining the look of my fresh and clean white fireplace.
If you didn’t notice the gold and black doors, here’s a reminder picture for you.

But after leaving the doors off for a few days, we noticed that the room was much colder and it always smelled smoky. Tim was also concerned that a spark could jump out of the fireplace and burn the house to smithereens.  So I was finally convinced that we needed the ugly doors back on.
But since I couldn’t handle the gold and black, I decided to give the fireplace insert a makeover so that I could live with her.
All it took was a can of Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze metallic spray paint.

First, I gave the whole thing (except the glass part) a quick sanding with a sanding block.  This was both to rough up the finish so the spray paint would bond with the metal and also to remove some rust along the edges and corners.  Then I used a damp rag to wipe it all down.
After that, I used painter’s tape to tape all around the edges of the glass. This was to make sure that my spray painted edges would be nice and straight. 

And then I covered all the exposed areas of the glass with scrap paper, making sure to tape it down well enough that paint couldn’t get up under the edges of the paper and onto the glass. Spray paint is sneaky like that, so you have to be careful.

Oh, and I also kept the doors slightly propped open so that the spray paint could get all down in between the door cracks and around the edges of the tops and bottoms of the doors.  I didn’t want any gold peeking through later when we opened the doors.
Several thin and even coats of spray paint later, I was done.  (A spray painting tip : keep your arm sweeping back and forth continuously and spray from about 8 – 10 inches away.  If you stop moving your arm or get too close while you’re spraying, you will get drips.)

So much better.  Don’tcha think?



  1. This turned out beautiful! Loving it! Can't wait to see more!

  2. Just found your blog through a search online for images of the domsjo sink. I see just from reading a few posts that our tastes are similar. In fact, I have just placed an order for the domsjo sink, and spent my day priming my cupboards to take them from a dark wood to a nice, fresh white. Our fireplace is very similar to yours, and though we haven't gotten to re-doing the living room yet, I am hoping to do something similar. It's red brick, and the seating area, or ledge, has pink mortar, while the rest is grey. :( Anyway, nice to meet you!

  3. brilliant idea to spray paint the fireplace doors - that's a beautiful colour, I've lived with the same problem for 16 years - red brick fireplace and ugly brass and black doors.I've been trying to work up the nerve to paint the fireplace since we moved in but I don't think my husband is convinced.

  4. How has the paint held up to the heat from the fireplace?

    1. Hi Karin, for the most part, the paint has held up great. But right in front of the fireplace (where you would sit), the paint has peeled. The mortar in that spot is sandy though for some reason instead of hard like the rest of the fireplace, so I believe that is the cause of the peeling paint. I've gone back and touched those spots up, so it's not been a big deal. Are you thinking of painting a fireplace? There may be heat resistant paint you could use.

  5. Hi. Did you primer first the bricks?

    1. No I don't think I did ... unless the paint was paint & primer mixed (which is a good possibility) but I really can't remember.

  6. What did you use to paint the brick?