Fireplace: To paint or not to paint that is the question!

This is what i’m working with…


I had no idea what I was going to do with the hideous mantle but my plan was to get the fireplace painted as soon as possible.  I really imagined finishing up at the closing then heading over to the house to paint the fireplace.  Obviously things didn’t go that way and moving/cleaning/packing took priority.

I made the mistake of mentioning my plan to paint the fireplace to Mark who was completely against this and shocked I was even considering it.  Then he brought it up to my Dad who (of course) sided with Mark on this – God forbid I pain the brick!.  To say the least my plan was delayed.

After a few weeks of passing by this horrible horrible room I decided I had to do something about it.  So I headed to Home Depot to visit my friends in the paint department.  After this trip they are no longer my friends…

The lazy, rude man at the paint counter informed me that I absolutely could not paint my fireplace and if I chose to do it anyway I would need to go to a fireplace store to get special heat resistant paint because anything they had at good old Home Depot would bubble because the fireplace gets to like 500 degrees (he said that to me, “gets to like 500 degrees”!).  Don’t worry – I put him in his place and reminded him I wasn’t painting the inside, I was planning on painting the outside which would NEVER get anywhere near that hot.  Then I marched down the aisle and got myself a special brick roller and a quart of paint with primer in it.

Once I got everything cleaned, taped and ready to go I decided I needed to do something about that HORRIBLE mantle.  So, in true Claire fashion, I took a hammer to it.  After just a few hits of the hammer Mark came running in to see what the noise was all about.  I was shocked that he wasn’t mad about my new project and he actually stepped in and finished the deconstruction of the mantle for me!  We were able to pry that bottom scalloped piece off without damaging the top piece of wood.  So we left the top piece of the mantle and I started painting…

And painting and painting and painting.

My tips for anyone who wants to paint a brick fireplace:

1. Buy a gallon of paint with primer in it – The brick really soaks up the paint so its going to take a lot and the paint with primer really saves you quite a bit of time.  I ended up taking two more trips back to Home Depot for more paint (After the “hot fireplace” incident I really need to stop going there, it’s just so close!) because I kept buying a quart at a time.

2.  Don’t waist your time with the special roller for brick, instead buy a big cheap brush – It’s really hard to get in all the crevices  of the grout and the brick so I ended up using a brush and focusing on one brick at a time.  I always think it is important to have a nice paint brush but in this case getting in those tiny spots is really tricky and really destroys your brush so don’t spend too much money on the brush you use for this project.

3.  Plan on having this project last a full week – Trying to get good coverage gets really frustrating really fast and takes a really long time so I would recommend doing a little at a time. I ended up working on it about four hours the first day (Sunday) then about an hour or two after work each night that week.

Once all the brick was painted I decided to just go ahead and paint the mantle as well.  Since we removed that HIDEOUS bottom piece we decided to get some trim for below.  So, back to Home Depot (4th trip for this project alone)!  Because the not so helpful staff refuses to let you use their saws we bought a piece of trim, a miter box and saw and some white nails.  Then we got home to measure and make cuts.  This was way more difficult than it looks and we ended up messing up the trim on our first attempt.  So, you guessed it, back to home Depot (that’s 5!) for a new piece of trim.  We learned from our mistakes, made the cuts, installed the trim and finished up with a couple of coats of paint.

Although this took a lot longer than expected it turned out fantastic, even Mark agrees!


I’m not sure if you can tell from the photo but there are some gaps at the top where the trim meets the brick, it’s pretty rough looking.  My dad was over shortly after this photo was taken and told me that the spackle we used for patching the nail holes in the wall would fix that problem.  I got out the spackle and a stool and about 10 minutes later, all better!

IMG_4883Project Complete!


3 thoughts on “Fireplace: To paint or not to paint that is the question!

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