How to Paint a Brick Fireplace for an Updated Modern Look

Create a stunning room transformation in just one weekend with our step-by-step guide to freshening up your brick fireplace with paint.

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $30 to $80

The next time you've got a free weekend, learn how to paint a brick fireplace surround for a dramatic new look. Since a fireplace is often a focal point, painting it to work with your design style and color palette will add to its impact. A whitewashed brick fireplace is a classic choice, but a black-painted fireplace adds drama.

The method for how to paint a brick fireplace takes a little prep work, a few tools, and brick fireplace paint, which will be rated for high temperatures and designed for brick surfaces. Before you start painting, inspect your fireplace surround to determine its material. Although you can paint over a wide variety of surfaces, some stone fireplaces (limestone, sandstone, and river rock, for example) are more challenging to change after you paint them. A brick surround is the best bet for painting.

Then follow these steps on how to paint a brick fireplace.

modern white living room with gray painted brick fireplace
Stacey Brandford

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Wire scrub brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Drop cloths
  • Paint roller for textured surfaces
  • Small paintbrush


  • Non-sudsy trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP
  • Fireplace cleaner
  • Painters tape
  • Oil-base primer
  • Indoor latex paint


How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

  1. Clean the Fireplace Surface

    You'll need to thoroughly clean the brick to ensure your paint adheres and dries properly. First, cover your floor with a drop cloth and tape off any areas you want to keep paint-free. Use a wire scrub brush to remove dirt and dust, and vacuum up any debris. Next, apply non-sudsy trisodium phosphate (also called TSP). Wear gloves and safety goggles, and clean the fireplace thoroughly with soapy water or a fireplace cleaning product. Rinse and let dry.

  2. Prime the Brick

    A stain-blocking, oil-based primer protects your paint against future soot stains from fireplace use. Start with a small, stiff-bristled brush to get the primer inside the crevices along the mortar lines. Next, use a paint roller to apply the primer evenly across the entire surface of the brick fireplace, following the paint manufacturer's directions. Because brick is porous, it may require a second coat of primer. Let the primer dry overnight.

  3. Paint the Brick

    Once the primer is dry, it's time to paint your brick fireplace. Choose fireplace paint—indoor, latex, heat-resistant paint (either flat, semigloss, or gloss) that's rated to withstand temperatures generated by the fireplace (generally about 200°F). Remember that this type of paint is only appropriate for the exterior of a brick fireplace, not the interior firebox. If you want to paint the firebox, you'll need a different heat-resistant paint meant for that task.

  4. Add Finishing Touches

    Use a small paintbrush to touch up any blemishes or missed spots. Finally, remove painters tape and the drop cloth, and use a damp cloth to wipe up any splatters.

Paint Tips and Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you paint an already painted brick fireplace?

    Yes, make sure to clean the brick and prime it before repainting the fireplace with a latex heat-resistant paint.

  • Do you need to seal a brick fireplace after painting it?

    Sealing a painted brick fireplace is not absolutely necessary, but it's a good idea. Adding a sealer prevents damage from moisture absorbed from cleaning, humidity, or dampness, which can cause the brick to crumble over time.

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