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How to Paint a Brick Fireplace (and the Best Paint to Use!)

Learn how to paint brick, including which types of paint to use. Painting a brick fireplace is an inexpensive and easy way to brighten a room.

Brick fireplaces can be a beautiful accent in a home. I love aged brick — especially in old farm kitchens or peeking out from crumbling plaster.

However, sometimes brick just feels dark and heavy. That was definitely the case in our farmhouse dining room and it had to go.

Painting the brick fireplace transformed our dining room! In this post, I’ll show you how to paint brick and share 10+ examples of painted brick fireplaces.

how to paint brick and which type of paint to buy, how to paint a brick fireplace

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links for products or services.

What’s the Best Paint to use when painting a brick fireplace?

I use to live in the “big city,” as they say; and would always head to a big box store for paint. Not that there is anything wrong with those stores; but I love our local hardware store.

While the selection is smaller, the employees are much more knowledgeable when it comes to answering questions.

After doing some internet research, I expected to be purchasing a masonry, brick, and stucco paint; but the paint tech suggested otherwise. He recommended a can of Zinnser Primer, which is tinted to match the paint.

He said that after using the Zinnser Primer I could use basic interior latex paint. As usual, I chose my go-to, Porter Paints Hi Hide, in a Semi-Gloss finish so that it would be easy to clean.

I expected to be painting this brick for weeks. All I had heard about brick was how much it would soak up the paint… plus there were so many small crevices.

However, this combination of paint turned out to be very impressive. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s just say the proof is in the pudding pictures (haha!).

You might also like: How to German Schmear Brick (Mortar Wash Fireplace Makeover)

How to Paint Brick

If you’d like to download and print these instructions (with links to the supplies, included), click here to jump to the instruction card.

Supply List

  • tinted primer
  • paintbrushes
  • high nap rollers designed for rough surfaces
  • semi-gloss paint

Instruction

1. Vacuum and dust the brick fireplace to clear it of debris, cobwebs, and dust bunnies.

2. Collect your supplies. The first and second coats will be a tinted primer.

3. Use a brush to apply paint to the mortar in between the bricks.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace - Which type of brush to use, Which type of paint to use

4. Once the mortar has received a coat of primer, paint the face of the brick with primer. You can use either a brush or a high nap roller designed for rough surfaces to apply the primer.

After 1 Coat of Primer:

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace - Which type of paint to use

5. After the first coat dries, repeat steps 3-4 in order to apply a second coat of tinted primer. This second coat should result in near-to-full coverage of the brick.

After 2 Coats of Primer:

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace - Which type of paint to use

6. Once the second coat is dry, apply a semi-gloss paint. Again, follow the order of steps 3-4, painting mortar followed by the face of the brick.

After 1 Coat of Semi-Gloss Paint:

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace - Which type of paint to use

Can you believe the coverage? I couldn’t! My expectation was to be painting – at a minimum – a coat of primer and 3 coats of paint. I also expected it to be tedious.

However, when you buy good quality paint, it makes all the difference. This combo went on easily, with a smooth semi-gloss finish, and great coverage.

Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t spend big bucks on a fancy brush! The rough brick texture won’t be easy on brush bristles. I like to buy affordable multi-size paintbrush packs that can be used for a project and tossed afterward.
  • Make sure to prep correctly. Cover the floor around the hearth and tape off the fireplace doors/insert.

FAQs: Painting a Brick Fireplace

What color paint did you use?
Unfortunately, it’s a custom mix to match the wood trim in our home. Here are the details on the formula: PP109 – Porter Paint Hi Hide Interior Latex – Light Base B=3 C=15 F=1

How does the paint hold up?
After 3 years, there is only one spot where the paint chipped on the hearth. We have young kids, which means that hearth is regularly used for play, jumping, banging toys {haha!}, etc.

Should I wash the brick before painting?
In most cases, no. Thorough vacuuming and dusting should remove most debris. If there is a heavy amount of soot around the firebox or hearth, you may need to wash the brick before painting. Still, the primer should cover most residue.

Can I use this same paint combination in the firebox?
No! If it is a functional fireplace, you must use a paint designed for high temperatures in the firebox. If the fireplace is not functional, you would not have to use a high-temperature paint in the firebox.

How to Brighten a Dark Fireplace with Paint - After

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Learn how to paint brick, including which types of paint to use. Painting a brick fireplace is an inexpensive and easy way to brighten a room.

Instructions

  1. Vacuum and dust the brick fireplace. Ensure it that any debris, cobwebs, and dust is removed.
  2. Use a paintbrush to apply tinted primer to the mortar.
  3. Next, paint the face of each brick with primer. Use a high nap roller designed for rough surfaces.
  4. After the first coat dries, repeat step 2-3 in order to apply a second coat of tinted primer.
  5. Once the second coat is dry, apply a semi-gloss paint to the mortar lines with a paintbrush.
  6. Next, paint the face of each brick with semi-gloss paint. Use a high nap roller designed for rough surfaces.

Recommended Products

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Brick Fireplace Makeover

Now, we just get to enjoy it. The best part, of course! Let’s take a look back at where it began…

dining room BEFORE with dark brick fireplace and coral walls

Fresh paint on the walls and fireplace, updated curtains, and a statement sputnik light… and we are well on our way to a renovated dining room. 

Painted Brick Fireplace, Farmhouse Christmas Home Tour, Rustic, Cottage by @CraftivityD

Quite the transformation, wouldn’t you say? 

You might also like: Budget Farmhouse Dining Room Makeover

painted brick fireplace, white

10+ More Painted Brick Fireplace Makeovers

If this project wasn’t enough to convince you to paint your brick fireplace, these painted fireplace makeovers will help finalize your decision.

Does your room feel dreary and weighed down by dark brick? Consider brightening it up with white paint.

You might also like: How to Brighten a Dark Room (the Ultimate Guide!)

Would you like to add drama to a bland room? Highlight a brick fireplace with a gallon of gray paint to add contrast in the room.

10+ Painted Fireplace Makeovers by Bloggers and DIYers!

10 Painted Brick Fireplace Makeovers

Makeover a brick fireplace with paint - 10 examples of how to take a dark fireplace from outdated to stylish!

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