How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

Today’s post is one I’ve been dreaming about doing for months now and it’s all about how to paint a brick fireplace. Yep, you read that right. After talking about it for over a year now, it finally happened. I finally painted the giant fireplace in our front room. I’d been procrastinating for so long, mostly due to the fact that I thought it would be a total pain and take days to complete. But I’m happy to say it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Today I’m excited to show you exactly how I did it and share my tips for getting the job done in three simple steps.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps
This post is sponsored by KILZ. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Supplies Needed:

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

1. CLEAN THE BRICK

The first step in the process is cleaning the surface of the brick. You just want to make sure it’s free of any dust or dirt before you start painting. Our brick was pretty clean to begin with, so I just used a damp rag to wipe it down and clean off any dust. You can also use a wire brush and heavy duty cleaner if your fireplace is really dirty.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

2. PRIME THE BRICK

Next up: PRIME, PRIME, PRIME! This is the most important step in the entire process. I used the KILZ Latex Interior/Exterior Primer, which is a primer, sealer, and stainblocker in one. It’s specially created for sealing porous surfaces like brick, so this was definitely the product for the job. Plus it’s highly pigmented, so the coverage was awesome over the yellow brick and dark grout lines.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

 I found it to be slightly thicker than normal paint, but it went on super easy. Plus it’s water based, so clean up was really simple.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

I used a 3/4 inch roller to apply the primer, which is what you want for a surface with lots of texture like brick. It holds more paint and made the painting process a total breeze.  Be sure to also have a small paint brush on hand to get into those smaller corners and edges. It took me about an hour to do the entire fireplace with the primer and one coat was perfect. I was really happy with how quick it was to apply and how well it covered .

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

Here’s a close up after one coat of the KILZ primer. Honestly I was expecting to need two coats, but I felt like this did a great job and I only needed one. It left a nice flat finish, all ready for paint!

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

3. PAINT THE BRICK

Following the KILZ primer I applied Behr Masonry, Stucco and Brick paint in white. Again I used a 3/4 inch roller and it took another hour or so to get the whole fireplace covered. Thankfully I only needed one coat of paint and it was done!

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

And here’s the finished look! This makes the room so much brighter. I cannot believe the transformation, it’s even better than I imagined it would be. The yellow brick was just so dated–it seriously hadn’t been touched since the house was built in the ’80s. It’s amazing how a few coats of paint can make such a big difference and bring a fresh and updated look to the entire room. Cue happpppy dance.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace in 3 Simple Steps

So that’s it my friends! After months of being so intimidated by this project and the idea of painting brick, it turns out it’s not so difficult after all. CLEAN, PRIME, PAINT, that’s all you have to do. Just make sure you use a good primer and the rest is easy peasy–the whole project can really be done in an afternoon if you have enough coffee on hand. I’m just so happy with this project and so relieved to finally have it done. It feels amazing to finally check it off my long to-do list. Now onto the next project!

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How to Paint a Brick Fireplace like a Pro

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82 Comments

  1. I have to be honest, I cringed when I read the post title. I always shake my head when someone paints over original red brick, but then I saw your original brick was tan and I totally changed my mind. I absolutely love this transformation. Great job!

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I totally agree Chelsea, I love the red brick. But this yellow/orange stuff was driving me nuts. Thanks for your kind words, I’m so happy we did it!

      Posted 9.21.16 Reply
      • Kathy Kelly wrote:

        Is this paint heat resistant? Our fireplace gets really hot. Thanks.

        Posted 9.2.18 Reply
  2. Marilyn Soto wrote:

    Aren’t you so happy you did this? It looks great. We painted our fireplace this past spring. It was covered in an ugly brown tan builder grade tile….yucky. We also used kilz then painted it with kilz bullseye tinted medium gray and finished it with polycrylic satin finish. It turned out fabulous. I too was very hesitant and my husband thought I was crazy (he ended up doing most of it) . People that see it can’t believe we actually painted tile. What a difference it makes in the entire room , so fresh and clean just like yours.

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Yes, sooo happy I finally did it. That’s awesome you painted your tile, I’ve never done that. I’m sure yours looks amazing! KILZ really does work for everything!

      Posted 9.21.16 Reply
  3. Kellie wrote:

    Sarah, this is awesome!! I love it. It totally brightens up!!

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thanks my friend!

      Posted 9.21.16 Reply
      • Pam hutchinson wrote:

        was it flat white or with satin Finnish

        Posted 9.3.17 Reply
        • chris wrote:

          Was it flat white or satin

          Posted 7.5.18 Reply
  4. Dawn McDaniels wrote:

    My house was built in 1962. My brick fireplace looked more outdated than yours. I did what you did with the Kilz and white paint and added a distressed wood mantel. What a difference. Your fireplace looks really nice.

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Ohhh I bet that distressed wood mantel looks amazing! Thanks for stopping by Dawn.

      Posted 9.21.16 Reply
  5. Sara wrote:

    Whoa!!! I’ve been trying to get up the guts to paint mine and now… you’ve motivated me. Looks great!! I gotta do this!!

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      You can do it Sara! It’s so much easier than I ever imagined it would be.

      Posted 9.21.16 Reply
  6. I love the way your fireplace turned out and it blends so well with your entry wall!

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I thought so too Sandy, now the entryway looks better. Thanks for stopping by!

      Posted 9.21.16 Reply
  7. Ches wrote:

    Beautiful work. I am curious about your mantel, did you install it yourselves? If so could you share how you went about it?

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      The mantel was actually already in place. But it was that old orange oak, so I just stained it dark.

      Posted 9.21.16 Reply
      • Ches wrote:

        Gotcha. Thanks for getting back!

        Posted 9.22.16 Reply
  8. Helen wrote:

    Looks fab Sarah, totally in keeping with the rest of your style, well done!x

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thanks Helen!

      Posted 9.21.16 Reply
  9. Brenda wrote:

    It looks great, so clean and bright! Isn’t it wonderful how using a little paint can make such a big difference?

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
  10. Heather Hoben wrote:

    Absolutely stunning transformation!! I love it!

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
  11. Carmen wrote:

    Omg love it. I have the 1960’s red brick which I hate. Think this will be my next project. You made it look super easy! Thanks

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
  12. Tiffany wrote:

    What an incredible transformation! You did a beautiful job girlie!!

    Posted 9.21.16 Reply
  13. Susan wrote:

    Pinch me…I thought I was dreaming it’s so lovely. And what a confidence booster for all of us. Thank you and dream on…

    Posted 9.22.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thank you Susan, so happy you like it!

      Posted 9.22.16 Reply
  14. Shelly wrote:

    Hi I painted my brick several years ago and the mantle white also…I love your dark mantle … My wheels are turning!!!!!

    Posted 9.22.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thank you! I used Java Gel to stain it.

      Posted 9.22.16 Reply
  15. Vickie wrote:

    I have a 1980’s ugly orange fireplace. Blah. This is going on my list of to-do’s. Amazing. I love the look of the entire wall. Great job!

    Posted 10.16.16 Reply
  16. Jane Hall wrote:

    my fireplace has been painted at least twice that I know of. is it necessary to remove the old paint before doing this project

    Posted 3.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hmmm good question Jane. I’m not sure if you’d need to remove the old paint. I don’t think you’ll need to do that–I bet you could just go over it with primer!

      Posted 3.26.17 Reply
  17. Kathleen wrote:

    I am going to paint my fireplace. I have a gas insert. Do I have to use a special paint because of the heat from the fireplace??? Thank you!!

    Posted 3.27.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I don’t think so Kathleen!

      Posted 3.27.17 Reply
  18. maari wrote:

    love this look! i am going to do it on our fireplace that looks similar in your before. can you confirm if you used flat or satin behr masonry paint? i noticed there were two options at home depot and i want to be sure i use the one you used since i like how yours looks. thanks!

    Posted 5.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I just went out to the garage and checked Maari–I couldn’t remember for sure. It’s the flat! Specifically white No. 270. Good luck!

      Posted 5.1.17 Reply
  19. Did you use a whole gallon of primer/paint, or would a quart suffice?

    Posted 6.7.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hi Jessica, I think it was a gallon. I’d just get the extra to be safe. And if you ever need to do a touch up!

      Posted 6.7.17 Reply
  20. Andee wrote:

    What is the color you have on your walls? I love it!

    Posted 7.10.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      It’s Autumn Blonde by Sherwin Williams.

      Posted 7.11.17 Reply
  21. Lorri wrote:

    Love it and so happy to see the before and after and what you used. It solidifies my decision to do ours too!
    Super helpful!! Can’t wait to get it done!!
    Also, question for you….what is the flooring in your home? It’s beautiful!
    Thanks for everything!
    Lorri

    Posted 7.19.17 Reply
  22. Stacy wrote:

    I LOVE this! I am wanting to paint our fireplace white as well. Any tips for the space in between the bricks? The space in between my bricks is much deeper than yours, so I don’t know that a roller would get the paint into those spaces. Wondering if I should just use a brush first (which will take FOREVER) and then roll over it? Or somehow fill the spaces with something (which I realize would also take forever). Thanks for your post!

    Posted 7.25.17 Reply
  23. Maci wrote:

    Do you have a tutorial on the mantel? Because I have no idea on how to do that on my brick!

    Posted 7.30.17 Reply
  24. Christine Johnson wrote:

    Your fireplace looks great! My issue is with color. My walls are an eggshell color and the fireplace doesn’t extend up the entire wall. So I think I should paint the fireplace the same color as the wall as white would be too bright?

    Posted 9.23.17 Reply
  25. Thanks for the inspiration and tutorial on how to do this. I took the plunge this weekend and I absolutely love it! My husband and I also built a new mantel similar to yours. It is transforming my entire living room!

    Posted 11.26.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Oh that’s awesome Susan! It’s pretty incredible the different it makes, right?! So glad you’re happy with it!

      Posted 11.26.17 Reply
    • Jean wrote:

      Was it hard to tell where you were putting the paint on since it was already white from the primer?

      Posted 12.7.17 Reply
      • Sarah wrote:

        That’s a good question! The two shades of white are a bit different–the primer had more of a grayish tint so it was really easy to see the difference between the two!

        Posted 12.7.17 Reply
  26. Terri wrote:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial. I love the fireplace but have you thought about going one step more and paint the inside of the fireplace black to cover the old brick. I did mine with heat resistant paint that you would use to paint a bar-b-que grill.

    Posted 12.1.17 Reply
  27. Debbie wrote:

    Sarah,
    Great transformation on your fireplace. I’m wondering if you need the Kilz if you use the Behr Masonry, stucco and brick paint which has a primer built in.
    Thanks for putting your tutorial on Pinterest.

    Posted 12.13.17 Reply
  28. Natalia Kurelic wrote:

    Hey! Love this and plan to do it to my fireplace. Was the kilz odor super strong? My husband is telling me I need a mask. Any info would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you!

    Posted 2.16.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      No I don’t remember the odor being strong at all!

      Posted 2.17.18 Reply
  29. Mary Themom wrote:

    I decided to paint my “poo” brown fireplace and found your tutorial. I’d tried to scrub off the smoke damage a few months ago (without any luck), so I’ll admit that I didn’t do more than brush off the worst of the dust with a broom. Then I realized that while I thought I had some primer laying around, I didn’t. I got a good quality paint with some primer in it and went to work. I put on 2 coats of paint and despite all my shortcuts, it looks awesome. I wish I could put a picture here. Thank you!!

    Posted 3.27.18 Reply
  30. karen wrote:

    Thank you Sarah for the how to! I am amazed to come upon your story because I was talking with a friend this morning telling her I am finally going to paint my stone tiles around my fireplace, but it felt more like I was doing the little engine that could messaging to myself…I think I can, I think I can! I have been wanting to do this probablely longer than a year. I finally bought the primer and paint several weeks ago but then more procrastination. You did a great job. Your fireplace looks great, as does your room. I am inspired to do it today! Thanks again!

    Posted 4.12.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Oh yay!! So glad this was helpful Karen. Good luck to you!

      Posted 4.12.18 Reply
  31. Julie wrote:

    Love this. We just white washed a brick fireplace and need to build a mantal. Ours is recessed in the middle like this one. We tore out the ugly board/mantel that was in there and don’t know what to do now. I’d love to see the top of your mantel to see how you did yours. Is it cut in a t-shape to accommodate the recessed space or is there a seam? I can’t find anything similar on Pinterest.

    Posted 5.1.18 Reply
  32. Molly McKenzie Trettel wrote:

    This looks fantastic! And you gave all the information needed to start the project! Next weekend I will tackle the exact same awful yellow brick! Quick question…did you look into whether or not the inside of the fireplace could be painted? If not white, then even a dark gray?

    Posted 6.3.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hi Molly! I haven’t done that but I know you can paint the inside of a fireplace. I think there’s specific paint you need to use though, so check with your local paint store.

      Posted 6.3.18 Reply
      • Tina Joyner wrote:

        Have you used your fireplace since painting it and has it been easy to clean? We use ours quite a bit and while cleaning soot off the mantle is easy, cleaning the brick is a pain. I’m painting mine right now and I’m wondering if the paint is easier to clean than the plain brick.

        Posted 6.17.18 Reply
        • Sarah wrote:

          Yes it’s SO much easier to clean when it’s painted. It’s a smoother, less porous surface!

          Posted 6.18.18 Reply
  33. Cherie wrote:

    I am on the fence! The comment about painting red brick making someone cringe made me second guess the project. I have pretty red brick but it also dates the room. Tell me your thoughts. Can’t go back once it’s painted. 😕 Help please!
    Thanks so much!!!

    Posted 6.14.18 Reply
    • Cherie Kim wrote:

      Would love a reply! Thanks so much!

      Posted 6.17.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hi Cherie! Sorry for the delayed response. In my honest opinion, white is the way to go. I LOVE our brick and I haven’t regretted it for a second. It just freshens up the entire room and I feel like it’s more fun to style with it white vs yellow (or red in your case). Totally a personal choice, but I say go for it! 🙂

      Posted 6.18.18 Reply
      • Destiny Michelle Hayes wrote:

        Hi sarah.!! So, I am completely in love with what you did here! My boyfriend and I have been talking about painting our red brick forever but I’m TERRIFIED! I’ve never painted any kind of furniture before and my fireplace is so intimidating lol My main question was in the supplies part of your post you said you need Behr Masonry, Stucco and brick paint. Do you use all 3 together or 1 after the other? I apologize if this is a ridiculous question. As I stated before, I am very new to the idea. Thank you so much!

        Posted 6.24.18 Reply
        • Sooz wrote:

          Hi, Destiny. “Behr Masonry, Stucco and Brick paint” is the name of the paint. It’s at Home Depot. I’m so excited to try this tomorrow. I bought everything today and can’t wait to get started. My brick fireplace is so dated. I hope it looks as great as Sarah’s! Good luck!

          Posted 6.27.18 Reply
  34. Ann wrote:

    Love your makeover the fireplace is beautiful !! I do love seeing all the pictures of your home it’s gorgeous! Thank you for helping me redecorate my Home . Have a wonderful day😊

    Posted 7.9.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Aw thanks Ann, I appreciate that. xo

      Posted 7.11.18 Reply
  35. Alison wrote:

    Thanks for the 1, 2, 3 how to… I have wooden walls, will be painting my red fireplace brick TURQUIOSE! I also have a hand made mantel my father carved “It must be here someplace” many years ago. It will be one of a kind!

    Posted 9.3.18 Reply
  36. Kristin wrote:

    How were the fumes during this process? I know there’s lots of options out there for low VOC paints, but how about the primer? I have two babies in the house I need to be extra mindful of while I tackle this project.

    Looks amazing. Thank you for sharing! 🙏🏼💌

    Posted 11.26.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I didn’t notice the fumes being really strong, from what I remember anyway. Just open a few windows so there is plenty of fresh air and I think you’ll be good!

      Posted 11.26.18 Reply
  37. Dan wrote:

    I’ve been putting off doing this to our old red brick fireplace for years, but after reading this I’m gonna give it a go.

    Posted 12.5.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Oh definitely Dan, it’s SO easy!

      Posted 12.6.18 Reply
  38. Michelle LIndemon wrote:

    Love your fireplace remodel. I am currently remodeling mine. Did you stain the mantel and if so what stain color?

    Posted 12.6.18 Reply
  39. Karen wrote:

    Looks great! Looking to do this to my fireplace. Is there any concern with using exterior paint indoors? Sherwin Williams said that using exterior paint will give off toxic fumes even after its dried. I’ve never heard that before and wanted to see if you experienced any fumes/smells after is dried?

    Thanks!

    Posted 12.14.18 Reply

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