Painting your brick fireplace white is a great way to transform your living room from dark and drab to bright and airy! Painting brick can be intimidating if you’ve never done it, but don’t worry, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to do it the right way.
Step 1: Clean the Brick Fireplace
Whether your brick fireplace is new or old, it is a good idea to clean the brick thoroughly before applying any paint. If there is a layer of dust and dirt on the brick, the paint will not adhere to it properly and will lead to peeling off at some point.
Use soapy water and a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the entire brick surface. This part of the process will require a little elbow grease, but it’s an important step to make sure you do it right. Do not use any kind of acid solution because it can compromise the paint.
Step 2: Repair Cracks and Joints
If there are any noticeable cracks in the brick or mortar, now is the time to repair them. For this, you can use a tube of mortar repair. It’s a special caulk-like material that has the same texture as mortar and is applied using a caulk gun.
If you’re not happy with the style of your brick fireplace, you can completely change the look by over-grouting the mortar joints. For example, the brick fireplace in our renovation project had deep joints which were popular in the 1970s. We wanted to make the brick look much older. So we filled all of the joints with new mortar and then scrapped off the excess, creating a flush mortar joint.
Step 3: Choose the Paint
If we were painting the exterior of a brick house, I would recommend using a mineral-based paint or high-quality masonry paint, but since we are painting an interior brick fireplace, it’s fine to use any latex-based paint.
There are lots of white paint colors out there, so choosing the perfect shade of white can be tricky. To help you choose, we wrote an article about the best interior white paint colors. For our brick fireplace, we ended up going with Sherwin Williams Pure White. We’ll also be using it throughout the rest of the house on the walls, ceiling, and moldings.
While you are picking out your paint, you’ll also want to get some latex primer.
Step 4: Apply Paint
Start by applying a coat of primer. You can use a roller and brush to do this, but I recommend a good paint sprayer. It will save you a lot of time and make it much easier to get in all of the nooks and crannies of the brick fireplace.
Once you have applied the prier and it’s had enough time to dry, it’s time to apply the white paint. Once again, if you have a paint sprayer, I highly recommend using that. But if not, use a roller to apply an even coat over the entire fireplace. Then use a brush to paint and spots that the roller didn’t get. This will include any recessed joints or crevices in the brick. Apply as many coats as needed until you are satisfied with the look, letting each coat dry in between.
To complete this fireplace transformation, I also built a modern fireplace surround. If you’re interested in building one like it, we have printable plans that show you, step-by-step how to do it!