Painting a Fireplace: Reinvigorate your Fireplace with a Touch of Paint

Date: 1 June 2023

Your fireplace is likely a focal point of your room and will draw plenty of attention if it looks great and the fire warms the room well. Add in a newly painted fireplace surround and it will become even more of an impact piece to your living room.

Painting your fireplace can be a relatively easy job and will certainly go some way to reinvigorating the room even further than other decorative changes.

In some cases, it may be that you have bought a new house and the original fireplace doesn’t quite match up to your ideations of the perfect living room. In other instances, you may be looking to install a new electric fire should the burning of wood, coal or gas not be a preference. As a result, you may then need to repaint the surround to help match the style and design of the fire.

Or perhaps you just don’t want a fire at all but now need to paint the fireplace to make it fit with the rest of the room.

In this month’s blog, we will take a look at how best to paint a fireplace so that you can see the benefit, and hopefully additional value, it brings to your home.

Painting a brick fireplace

Painting a brick fireplace surround is perhaps one of the easiest fireplace paint jobs you can take on. Envisage painting a wall at home and you’ll be on the right track.

That being said, there are a few steps to follow to ensure you get the best results. Before doing anything though you will need to make sure you stock up on the correct paint. No regular, gloss or matt paint will cut it so instead, ensure you shop around for heat-resistant paint in your chosen colour. This applies whether the fire is a wood burning fire, a gas burner, or even an electric fire.

Once you know that your desired paint is available, you can move on to the first steps of painting your brick fireplace.

Cleaning a brick fireplace before painting

Before you can adorn the fireplace with some new and vibrant colour, you will need to clean it to ensure your paint not only sticks but looks good too. Apply warm soapy water to the fireplace via a wire scrubbing brush, removing any soot, dirt and staining. You will then need to leave it to dry. To ensure the fireplace is totally dry before the next steps, it can be best to leave it overnight.

Painting the brick fireplace

Before you start to paint, it would be advised to lay sheets, on the floor, especially if the flooring is carpet.  You wouldn’t want any paint or primer to stain the floor and take away the impact your freshly painted fireplace would create.

Ideally, find a 3-in-1 primer as this will contain not only the primer but also a sealer and undercoat.

Apply it with a roller and use a brush to reach the smaller spots a roller can’t reach. It is always best to add a second coat of primer when painting a brick fireplace too. This will help ensure that any soot does not stain your topcoat.

Allow the primer to dry and then apply your paint. Do not ignite any fire until the paint is dry.

Painting a stone fireplace

Much like brick, a stone fireplace is easy to paint as long as you follow a few simple steps. You will need the same materials you use as if you were painting a brick fireplace, namely a primer, a heat-resistant paint, some sheets and a wire scrubbing brush.

Cleaning a stone fireplace before painting

With a wire scrubbing brush and hot soapy water, clean the brickwork removing soot, dirt and staining. Be aware of the fuels used within the fire, if coal or wood was previously being burnt, the debris from those could be very stubborn and require a lot of effort to clean off.

Once your stone fireplace has been suitably cleaned, allow it to dry before moving on to the next step. It would be best advised to leave it overnight.

Painting the stone fireplace

Now that the fireplace is clean, lay some sheets and then you can begin applying a primer. A 3-in-1 primer will work best as it not only primes the surface but it seals it and provides an undercoat too.

On a stone fireplace, the addition of this will help your topcoat stand out and prevent the brick from showing through. Allow your primer to dry thoroughly and then use caulking to fill any gaps. You can then apply a second coat of primer.

Once the second coat of primer is dry, you can apply the paint. Like with brick fires, use heat-resistant paint if you will be using your fireplace to warm the home. If it is purely for decoration, you can choose more or less any paint!

Can you paint a marble fireplace?

It may be surprising to many but a marble fireplace can be painted. You can even source marble paints so that the original effect of the fireplace is not lost.

Painting a marble fireplace is a little different to the more common brick and stone fireplaces though so follow our steps to ensure you get it right first time! The key thing is to hunt for either latex or chalk paint. Other paints will not be suitable.

Cleaning a marble fireplace before painting

Marble is a smooth surface that can be quite simple to clean however stubborn marks can very quickly make it look extremely dirty. To start with lay some sheets and then use warm soapy water and a cloth. This should for the most part take away any soot or other debris.

Remember, any form of dirt can directly affect your painting so be thorough!

Once you have removed all the dirt, you will need to sand the fireplace down. This will remove the gleam your marble had but without doing it, you won’t be able to apply the primer.  A lot of dust will be created when you sand it down so before you prime the surface, also clear this dust away.

Painting the marble fireplace

Now that your marble fireplace is clean, you can start priming it ready for painting. Use a 3-in-1 primer and apply two coats. Allow each to dry before applying the next.

Once the primer is completely dry, use your latex or chalk paint to furnish the marble fireplace as you wish.

Painting a wooden fireplace

A wooden fireplace is perhaps the most common type of fireplace that people choose to paint and much like other wooden items within your home, can be painted fairly easily. Stock up on semi-gloss paints or a wood-specific paint for the best results. If you plan to keep using the fireplace, look for a heat-resistant variant of the paint.

Cleaning a wooden fireplace before painting

Most wooden fireplaces will consist of stained or varnished wood. Before painting these surfaces, you will need to sand them down. This prepares the surface for priming but also ensures that any blemishes or chips are removed. Make sure there are sheets laid down before you get started!

Once the surface has been sanded, apply primer with a roller, a brush will help you get into the smaller, harder-to-reach areas.

Ideally, you will need two coats. Apply the second after the first has dried. You can then start to paint the wooden fireplace. Best practice says that three coats should be enough to help make the colour stand out. Depending on the style of your fireplace, you may wish to paint it with a brush rather than a roller, especially if there are lots of sections that may be hard to access with a roller.

If you are looking to give your fireplace a new lease of life, a paint job can certainly reinvigorate it. You may also be wise to consider a professional chimney cleaning before proceeding too. This way you can rest assured that your fire is as clean as possible both inside and out before you apply that first coat of paint. Alternatively, you may want to refresh the fireplace totally with a new fireplace surround. The best fireplace surround for the home will ultimately depend on the type of fire you use but you can rest assured that Ignition Fires can help. From antique fireplace surrounds to modern gas fireplaces, we have them all! Our Cranleigh fireplace showroom is teaming with a stunning variety of all fires, surrounds and accessories that can make your fireplace something special. Visit us or contact us to find out more!