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How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White

This brick fireplace makeover shows just how easy it is to take a fireplace from old and dirty to fresh and beautiful! Check out the DIY tutorial, learn about the best fireplace paint color and primers, and see some stunning before and after photos. Read on to find out how to paint a brick fireplace white!

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White

Remember when I was hemming and hawing about whether to paint our fireplace white? Well, one night I just got an itch and literally within two days that thing was fresh as a daisy. And in the process, I did a ton of research on how to paint a brick fireplace white.

I have to admit, it’s not as brave as it sounds — we were about to start a renovation and tear the fireplace out anyway. So with that in mind, I knew that if I hated it we’d only have to live with it for a year or two. But the good/bad news is I LOVED it and now it’s gone! So let’s talk about how to paint a brick fireplace white.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White

When it comes to painting an indoor brick fireplace, there are a few factors that come into play and will affect how successful your outcome is. For starters, you’ll need to make sure that you use the tools that are right for your situation. As an example, I explored using a paint spray gun to paint our fireplace but decided in the end that because we had the tools and time to brush on the paint, I’d go that direction.

We also had brick that took paint from a paintbrush really well. This might not be the same in all situations. I recommend testing a small patch first with whatever method you choose, to make sure that your outcome will be what you’re hoping for.

Choosing the Right paint for a Fireplace

I knew that we wanted a bright white fireplace to lighten up our living area, so that immediately eliminated any color (although I have seen some super cool colored fireplaces!). So I was mainly concerned with picking the right white. I wanted something that was not too cool and not too warm, just right in the middle to create a neutral palette and complement the room.

We also went with an eggshell finish, which meant that there was no gloss to the paint at all, but it was still easy to wipe away any smudges or stains from the brick. We had our painted fireplace intact for about two years and it wore extremely well. See our materials list below for the exact paint we used!

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White

Just check out that before and after! Before it was sooty, dirty, and had years of gunk on it. But with a little time and work, painting a brick fireplace can totally change the look of your space.

Paint a Brick Fireplace

Materials

Make Time: 10 Hours (Plus Drying Time)

  1. You’ve gotta clean that thing. Ours had about 60 years of soot on the front, along with some marker drawings from the little girl who lived here before we did. So get some warm soapy water and a brush and brush off all the dirt and grime that you can. Soak up excess water and gunk with a sponge and let it all dry completely. Note: Don’t skimp on Step 1! The cleaner you can get your surface, the better it will take the paint. Also, be sure you wait for it to completely dry; I recommend letting it sit overnight.
  2. Use painter’s tape to mask any areas you want unpainted.. Use the wide painter’s tape to mask the edges by the walls, the floor or carpet, and the mantel (if you have one). Lay down dropcloths too.
  3. Prime it. We tried two different types of primers and I ended up liking the Zinsser Bullseye better than the masonry paint. This is especially crucial if your brick is stained in any way, because the primer traps all of those stains and won’t let them seep through to the paint layers. Note: We tried rollers for applying primer, but on our brick, they didn’t work well. Feel free to test your own methods according to the porosity and setting of your brickwork. You can also try the spray method, but I didn’t want to invest in spraying supplies and we weren’t able to ventilate this particular room well enough to warrant spraying.
  4. To prime, be sure that you get primer on every single nook and cranny! You really want to prime and seal every area for a successful and long-lasting paint job.
  5. Prime again. I hate to tell you, but I did two coats of primer.
  6. Add a coat of your regular paint. You’ll most likely end up doing two coats of regular paint to get full coverage, and to get a little more sheen from the eggshell finish to show. The primer is quite flat, and if it peeks through your paint you’ll definitely notice the difference.
  7. Once you’re done with two coats of your paint, stand back and assess. If you need a final coat, go for it.
  8. Once it’s all dry, carefully pull away all the painter’s tape and jump for joy that you did it! You might also want to hire someone to give you a hand massage because your hands are cramped from holding a paintbrush for the last two days.

Bonus Tips for Painting a Brick Fireplace!

Now. A couple more tips. Did you know that in the middle of a paint project you don’t have to keep washing out your brushes when you’re taking a break? Just wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and stick them in the fridge. They’ll stay wet and you can just pick them up and keep going!

Also, really make sure you let your brick dry before you sit/stand on it, build a fire, or decorate. You want to make sure it fully cures. I painted during the winter months and I actually brought in a couple of space heaters to warm the room and help the paint cure.

And there you have it! All my words of wisdom. Bottom line, painting a brick fireplace white is a lengthly process but so worth it if you’re looking to brighten up your space. It can be an extremely cost-effective way to get a major wow factor in your home! Give it a try and tell me how it goes! xoxo

P.S. Want some more fun painting and decor ideas? Check out this girl’s room and this boy’s room! Also, you can print our our simple how-to card below with instructions if you’re planning a fireplace paint project!

Yield: Painted Brick Fireplace

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White

Use this simple, doable tutorial to give your old brick fireplace new life! Create a modern, chic look and learn how to paint a brick fireplace.

Prep Time 2 hours
Active Time 10 hours
Total Time 12 hours

Instructions

  1. You've gotta clean that thing. Ours had about 60 years of soot on the front, along with some marker drawings from the little girl who lived here before we did. So get some warm soapy water and a brush and brush off all the dirt and grime that you can. Soak up excess water and gunk with a sponge and let it all dry completely. Note: Don't skimp on Step 1! The cleaner you can get your surface, the better it will take the paint. Also, be sure you wait for it to completely dry; I recommend letting it sit overnight.
  2. Use painter's tape to mask any areas you want unpainted.. Use the wide painter's tape to mask the edges by the walls, the floor or carpet, and the mantel (if you have one). Lay down dropcloths too.
  3. Prime it. We tried two different types of primers and I ended up liking the Zinsser Bullseye better than the masonry paint. This is especially crucial if your brick is stained in any way, because the primer traps all of those stains and won't let them seep through to the paint layers. Note: We tried rollers for applying primer, but on our brick, they didn't work well. Feel free to test your own methods according to the porosity and setting of your brickwork. You can also try the spray method, but I didn't want to invest in spraying supplies and we weren't able to ventilate this particular room well enough to warrant spraying.
  4. To prime, be sure that you get primer on every single nook and cranny! You really want to prime and seal every area for a successful and long-lasting paint job.
  5. Prime again. I hate to tell you, but I did two coats of primer.
  6. Add a coat of your regular paint. You'll most likely end up doing two coats of regular paint to get full coverage, and to get a little more sheen from the eggshell finish to show. The primer is quite flat, and if it peeks through your paint you'll definitely notice the difference.
  7. Once you're done with two coats of your paint, stand back and assess. If you need a final coat, go for it.
  8. Once it's all dry, carefully pull away all the painter's tape and jump for joy that you did it!
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White

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20 thoughts on “How to Paint a Brick Fireplace White

  1. Where did you get your fireplace screen? We have a weird corner fireplace that I cannot find a screen for, and this one looks like it might work if I take off one of the wings.
    Also, the fireplace looks great C; Mine is painted white as well, I really want to paint the mantel a fun color to make it pop!

    1. Was just wondering the same thing! I’d love to know where the fireplace screen came from… it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for (I’m really not into the swirly fru-fru screens)! 🙂

      And your transformation is just perfect. I can’t wait to start on ours! I think I’ll start cleaning it now, while hubby watches the game. Lol…

  2. Hi! We are contemplating painting our fireplace as well. Did you paint yours the same color as the walls in that room?

  3. I’m cracking up as I read this…just bought our first home 2 weeks ago and I’m 35 weeks pregnant! Glad to know I’m not the only crazy one moving at this stage…last week chimney fixed, house painted and now waiting for floors to be refinished. Now I want my fireplace painted white – thanks for the inspiration!!!

  4. So, what’s it like a year or so later? Does it still look great or is it now half black with soot and a bit average looking? Is it a pain to keep clean?

    1. Hi Paul! So we actually tore this fireplace out a few months back in a remodel. But up until that point (and throughout a burning season) the paint stayed pretty clean. Every few weeks I would just wipe it down with a damp rag and get any tough spots with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It weathered pretty well.

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