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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Thanks so much for stopping by and feel free to ask if you have any questions. And as always, you can find me sharing all the things on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace like a Pro

Hi, I'm Sarah. Welcome to my happy place! I'm mama to three, wife to my high school sweetheart + Colorado native. Let's decorate. Or maybe go on a Target run?!

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113 Comments

  1. 9.21.16

    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!

    • 9.21.16
      Sarah said:

      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!

      • 9.2.18
        Kathy Kelly said:

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

  2. 9.21.16
    Marilyn Soto said:

    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.

    • 9.21.16
      Sarah said:

      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!

  3. 9.21.16
    Kellie said:

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

    • 9.21.16
      Sarah said:

      Thanks my friend!

      • 9.3.17
        Pam hutchinson said:

        was it flat white or with satin Finnish

        • 7.5.18
          chris said:

          Was it flat white or satin

  4. 9.21.16
    Dawn McDaniels said:

    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.

    • 9.21.16
      Sarah said:

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

    • 2.20.21
      Joan said:

      I love how this project turned out.
      I’m wondering if you would recommend flat or satin masonry paint?

  5. 9.21.16
    Sara said:

    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!!

    • 9.21.16
      Sarah said:

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

  6. 9.21.16

    I love the way your fireplace turned out and it blends so well with your entry wall!

    • 9.21.16
      Sarah said:

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

  7. 9.21.16
    Ches said:

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

    • 9.21.16
      Sarah said:

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

      • 9.22.16
        Ches said:

        Gotcha. Thanks for getting back!

  8. 9.21.16
    Helen said:

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

    • 9.21.16
      Sarah said:

      Thanks Helen!

  9. 9.21.16
    Brenda said:

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

  10. 9.21.16
    Heather Hoben said:

    Absolutely stunning transformation!! I love it!

  11. 9.21.16
    Carmen said:

    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

  12. 9.21.16
    Tiffany said:

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

  13. 9.22.16
    Susan said:

    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…

    • 9.22.16
      Sarah said:

      Thank you Susan, so happy you like it!

  14. 9.22.16
    Shelly said:

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

    • 9.22.16
      Sarah said:

      Thank you! I used Java Gel to stain it.

  15. 10.16.16
    Vickie said:

    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!

  16. 3.25.17
    Jane Hall said:

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

    • 3.26.17
      Sarah said:

      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!

  17. 3.27.17
    Kathleen said:

    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!!

    • 3.27.17
      Sarah said:

      I don’t think so Kathleen!

  18. 5.1.17
    maari said:

    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!

    • 5.1.17
      Sarah said:

      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!

  19. 6.7.17

    Did you use a whole gallon of primer/paint, or would a quart suffice?

    • 6.7.17
      Sarah said:

      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!

  20. 7.10.17
    Andee said:

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

    • 7.11.17
      Sarah said:

      It’s Autumn Blonde by Sherwin Williams.

  21. 7.19.17
    Lorri said:

    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

  22. 7.25.17
    Stacy said:

    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!

  23. 7.30.17
    Maci said:

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

  24. 9.23.17
    Christine Johnson said:

    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?

  25. 11.26.17

    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!

    • 11.26.17
      Sarah said:

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

    • 12.7.17
      Jean said:

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

      • 12.7.17
        Sarah said:

        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!

  26. 12.1.17
    Terri said:

    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.

  27. 12.13.17
    Debbie said:

    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.

  28. 2.16.18
    Natalia Kurelic said:

    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!

    • 2.17.18
      Sarah said:

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

  29. 3.27.18
    Mary Themom said:

    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!!

  30. 4.12.18
    karen said:

    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!

    • 4.12.18
      Sarah said:

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

  31. 5.1.18
    Julie said:

    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.

  32. 6.3.18
    Molly McKenzie Trettel said:

    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?

    • 6.3.18
      Sarah said:

      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.

      • 6.17.18
        Tina Joyner said:

        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.

        • 6.18.18
          Sarah said:

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

  33. 6.14.18
    Cherie said:

    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!!!

    • 6.17.18

      Would love a reply! Thanks so much!

    • 6.18.18
      Sarah said:

      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! 🙂

      • 6.24.18
        Destiny Michelle Hayes said:

        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!

        • 6.27.18
          Sooz said:

          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!

          • 1.12.19
            Ashley said:

            Hi! I just primed my fireplace with Kilz Latex primer that you recommended! Where I live we don’t have a Home Depot, but we do have a Lowe’s and Menards. Neither of them carry the Behr Masonry, Stucco and Brick paint. Do you know what would be comparable ? 🙂

  34. 7.9.18
    Ann said:

    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😊

    • 7.11.18
      Sarah said:

      Aw thanks Ann, I appreciate that. xo

  35. 9.3.18
    Alison said:

    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!

  36. 11.26.18
    Kristin said:

    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! 🙏🏼💌

    • 11.26.18
      Sarah said:

      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!

  37. 12.5.18
    Dan said:

    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.

    • 12.6.18
      Sarah said:

      Oh definitely Dan, it’s SO easy!

  38. 12.6.18
    Michelle LIndemon said:

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

  39. 12.14.18
    Karen said:

    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!

    • 12.16.18
      Sarah said:

      I’ve never noticed any fumes with this paint Karen!

  40. 2.2.19
    fran said:

    Did you use flat white for the finish paint – or a gloss?

    • 2.7.19
      Beth Leahy said:

      She used Flat white #270. It was in an earlier post.;)

  41. 4.17.19
    Pam said:

    I was wondering
    For the paint can you have it tinted in any color you want or does it have to stay white? I was thinking a light gray.
    Thanks
    Pam

  42. 4.30.19
    Holly said:

    Good job, I liked this tutorial. Very straight forward & simple. Thanks!

  43. 5.4.19
    Tracie Borges said:

    Did you use flat paint or eggshell?

  44. 5.13.19
    Nancy said:

    Well….. It did take longer than 1 day but it looks great. Using the size nap on the roller , did not work. Our mortar was so deep that the paint roller did not work. We had to do it all with a brush. We used 2 coats of Kiltz and one coat of paint. Worked well.
    How do I send you pictures?

  45. 6.13.19
    Christina Smith said:

    Hi Sarah
    Would you recommend the same paint color (flat white 270), even if I have off white built ins next to it? Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas 🙂

    • 6.13.19
      Sarah said:

      Yes I think you’d be fine! I have a mix of whites and creams in our home and it doesn’t bother me. Good luck!

  46. 7.6.19
    Shelly said:

    I don’t know how many times I’ve read through this post and have been inspired. I’m finally painting my fireplace today using this exact method! Cannot wait to see the results!

    • 7.7.19
      Sarah said:

      Oh yay good luck Shelly!!

  47. 7.18.19
    Christine said:

    Looks great! I plan on trying to accomplish this same project this weekend. You inspired me!

  48. 9.1.19
    Shelly said:

    Did you use a satin finish with the paint?

  49. 9.27.19

    It is a fabulous blog, Sarah. Totally help me to paint a brick fireplace in a day like a pro.

  50. 11.16.19
    Sue said:

    Good job on the fireplace.
    I think your curtains would look much better hung from the top of the wall.
    Best wishes

  51. 12.15.19
    Jürgen said:

    Looks great and seems easy enough, but could one not just use a concrete stain, solid color, water-based, instead of first using a primer?

  52. 1.22.20

    Oh the power of paint!!! This doesn’t even look like the same fireplace. I love it;)

  53. 2.4.20
    Stefanie said:

    Thank you for the tips! I just did mine and it came out outstanding. Really pleased with the way it looks. My brick was a similar color and I painted the brass black, and the mantle shelf black.

  54. 4.27.20
    Lauren Sklover said:

    Hi! I am enjoying your blog a lot! You have inspired me to paint my fireplace white- did you need more than a gallon of the behr paint? Thanks for your advice and I look forward to shopping on your blog!
    Best, Lauren

  55. 5.12.20
    D. Herb said:

    Very helpful. Thank you

  56. 6.22.20
    Lynette Schock said:

    Your directions are fantastic! I’m going to follow them to a T!

    • 6.23.20
      Sarah said:

      good luck!!

  57. 7.17.20

    Sarah your fireplace looks gorgeous. I’m working on the same project this summer. Wondering where you got your mantel. The mantel adds the final touch. Thank you for your blog.

  58. 9.1.20
    Sara Rangel said:

    I am so excited to try the 3 steps you have shared.
    I have have a brick fireplace with its original color and want to update it!
    Again thank you !

  59. 9.7.20
    David Griffith said:

    This came out great in my home. Thanks

  60. 9.8.20
    Kara said:

    What is the beautiful color of the walls around the fireplace

  61. 9.11.20
    Sharon Ilstrup said:

    I have been wanting to paint my pinkish brick fireplace for years! Way too nervous. Thought about whitewashing it but that didn’t feel right to me. I am going to do exactly what you did. I’m so excited! Thank you for the inspiration!

  62. 1.10.21
    Janni S. Anderson said:

    Hi..Love the painted brick! Thanks for 3 easy steps.
    Also Love the color on the walls.
    What color and brand are they?

  63. 4.13.21
    Gail Duncan said:

    Will the same steps work for a red brick fireplace or do I need to use a different method.