Skip to Content

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace {Tutorial}

Sharing is caring!

We swore we’d never do it.

We’ve seen so many fireplaces painted awful colors, so it was ingrained in our minds that all painted fireplaces looked awful. Then one day we finally changed our mind.

While preparing to participate in the Home Depot Halloween Style Challenge, I grew increasingly frustrated with how all of my lighter decor blended into the fireplace. Nothing really popped when I did a mantelscape, and my photos looked ever so beige. Blah.

Then painting the fireplace became a reality. We chose to paint it white and we also chose to completely revamp the mantel and paint it peppercorn (the most gorgeous sexy charcoal gray EVER). I was finally convinced after I posted this photo on Facebook and you all had such a great reaction to it.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace #DIY
Gorgeous! I especially love how the mantel kind of blends in although that is not what we ultimately chose to do.

Here’s what my fireplace looked like before. Yes, I hate that the beam is off center just as much as you do. Ggrr.
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace #DIY
As you can see, it is very beige. Beige brick, beige carpet. The gold fireplace screen wasn’t doing us any favors, and the mantel was decent. I gave that a makeover back in 2011 by adding some moldings to the front of the beam and painting the rest white. Originally, the fireplace mantel was simply a dark beam:

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace #DIY
This time around I didn’t go halfway (or a third-way), and I encased the entire mantel (3 sides) with moldings to make it both wider and taller. I wanted a super beveled, modern-yet-traditional mantel. I had to really get reacquainted with my miter saw quickly to pull it off, but I am thrilled with the results.

Painting the brick itself was a fairly easy process. Let me break it down for you…

-Hot water with soap + rag/sponge
-Zinser/Kilz Primer
-White, paintable caulk
-Rollers with a long nap
-Painters tape & drop cloths
-High quality paint brush (We use Purdy brand 97% of the time)
-Paint of your choice (we went with flat bright white)
-High heat paint if you want to paint your firebox

How To Paint a Brick Fireplace:
Prep: Remove your fireplace screen and mantel, if desired. If you’d like to simply paint around what you’ve got, skip this step (but apply painters tape where needed). We had to use a reciprocating saw (true story) to get the mantel off the fireplace because the corbels were built INTO the fireplace.

Crazy—I’ll show you in a moment.

Step 1: Thoroughly wipe down all of your brick with a soapy rag or sponge. After it’s dry, vacuum off any excess dust.
Step 2: Fill in any cracks, holes, imperfections with caulk and allow to dry.
Step 3: Protect your walls/carpet with painters tape or drop cloths. Apply a coat of primer. Allow to dry.
Step 4: If needed, fill in any cracks with caulk again before applying the topcoats. If all is well, apply two coats of paint and enjoy.

Here’s some photos of our process.

Our mantel had to come off in THREE pieces. The mantel shelf itself was quick and painless to remove.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace #DIY
Then came the darn corbels. They were (are, technically) built INTO the fireplace, so we had to carefully saw them off. This created tons of dust and was NO fun.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace #DIY
Then we cleaned and cleaned, plus we cleaned the firebox after we removed the fireplace screen.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace #DIY
Finally, we were able to put on a primer coat. The primer coat is always the point where I’m like, “Oh my word, what have we done?!?!”

Then it passes, young grasshopper.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace #DIY 
My husband continued painting while I worked on the 45-degree cuts to create our fancy schmancy mantel. As stated before, we chose to keep our mantel beam since it was large and sturdy, so we essentially nailed on a facade of sorts using baseboard and some other random smaller molding that we determined looked good.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace & Create Your Own Mantel Shelf #DIY

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace & Create Your Own Mantel Shelf #DIY
Remember that caulk and paint can cover a multitude of sins such as corners that don’t want to sit perfectly flush. Once I had the 3 sides completed/caulked/painted and Daniel had finished painting the brick, we used this awesome tutorial from Run to Radiance to mount our mantel back on.

It worked like a charm. That sucker isn’t going anywhere! I truly adore the way these 2 pieces of molding ended up working with one another. You’d never guess it was 2 separate moldings. Custom mantels are only a few moldings away. Love. Moldings.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace & Create Your Own Mantel Shelf #DIY
At this point we left the mantel shelf off since we were going to add that last to avoid issues. We cut a pine 1×10 down to size and countersunk screws to attach the shelf to the beam. Some wood filler and paint touch ups finished up the job. Remember to check for level during all this process—a sloped mantel is no fun!

Since the firebox looked pretty awful, we painted that using high heat satin black paint. This stuff SMELLS very, very strongly. I felt like I dreamt the fumes for days and days. Work in a well ventilated area if you use this stuff.

Candles placed inside the firebox really stand out now. Well worth the fumes in the long run.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace & Create Your Own Mantel Shelf #DIY
And here’s a sneak peek of the fireplace in all her chic Halloween glory:

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace & Create Your Own Mantel Shelf #DIY

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace & Create Your Own Mantel Shelf #DIY
To view more photos and see the FULL reveal, head on over to my post on The Home Depot Apron Blog like right now!

I hope my never say never moment inspires you to take the plunge with a project in your home. Smooches!

Kathy Cano-Murillo

Wednesday 12th of November 2014

I love this! We are going to be doing the same thing next month, I'm book marking this project! Great tutorial!

Jennifer Schmitz

Thursday 23rd of October 2014

I meant no longer an eye sore (the beam) as the fireplace steals the show now :)

Jennifer Schmitz

Thursday 23rd of October 2014

It really brightens up the room. Looks great!....and aren't you glad to have that beam out of your way? :)

marty (A Stroll Thru Life)

Wednesday 22nd of October 2014

Oh I love the fireplace, so pretty and I adore those black/white drapes too.

Comments are closed.