TUTORIAL: How to Paint an Old Brick Fireplace

When we moved into our old, 1973 house, it didn’t cross my mind that I would one day have to DO something about the ugly brick fireplace that spanned the entire wall. You know what I’m talking about–that wall that sucks the life out of the room….that wall that your eye instinctively traveled to each time you entered the room.

That eye sore.

Yeah, exposed brick can be cool, industrial and chic, but in our case, my friend, it just screamed “This house was built in the 70’s!!!”

It was time to do something about that.

How to Paint an Old Brick Fireplace

There was nothing attractive or “rustic” about it our fireplace. It leaked air in the colder months (well, um, it still does). And the brick screamed for attention in a room that I wanted to feel light-hearted and neutral.

This, my friends, wasn’t neutral. It was more like an outdated disaster.

 

 

Hubby actually LIKED the brick, but he’s a man, and men are crazy about red brick. I don’t understand that. LOL. But I at least wanted to honor his desire to keep it looking like brick (although if you like the look of white painted brick, Gail from My Repurposed Life has a great brick fireplace makeover in white!).

So one night I was scanning online at 2 a.m. and I found a fireplace painting kit from (from Brick Anew). I couldn’t find any reviews on it, and honestly, didn’t know if it would work. But considering they had a money-back guarantee, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least try it.

It did hurt my pockets, though. At $199, it wasn’t cheap. But calling in a contractor to bust out the wall and put up drywall–sorry–that wasn’t going to happen on our “we-just-bought-a-house-and-we-are-dirt-poor-now” budget.

 

brick-anew-fireplace-paint-kit

 

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace with BEFORE and AFTER Pictures

Materials Needed:

  • Brick Anew Painting Kit
  • Extra paint for large fireplaces
  • TSP (or soap and water with scrub brush) for cleaning fireplace
  • Drop cloth
  • Spray paint (if you’re actively using your fireplace, don’t use spray paint for the surround, which isn’t made for high heat).
  • Optional: Black firebox paint to freshen up the inside

STEP 1: Clean the fireplace.

I had ordered the fireplace cleaner from Brick Anew. But really, you could use TSP, which will work just as well.

It comes with an instructional DVD. I ended up recording the whole process myself for anyone who’s reading this that need that extra help in doing it (watch my video: How to Paint an Old Brick Fireplace Using Brick Anew).

 

STEP 2: Cover your fireplace in a base color.

The Brick Anew kit comes with a quart of a base coat. If your fireplace is as large as mine (spans the whole wall), plan on getting a second container. I ran out halfway through the project!

Use a paint brush to cover the entire fireplace in the base coat. It’s your choice whether to do the grout, too. I went ahead and painted mine. It will be all one color.

How to paint a brick fireplace - cover fireplace in a basecoat

STEP 3: Paint the fireplace surround.

(FYI: you might want to do this first before using the base coat). I just used black spray paint on mine, but be careful here. If you use your fireplace, it could be dangerous if the heat touches the spray paint. Don’t spray paint INSIDE of the fireplace. Use a black firebox paint that’s specially made for the inside of your fireplace to make it look new again.

How to paint a brick fireplace - spray paint

STEP 4: Apply the highlights.

Using “Step 2” of the painting kit is basically like applying a highlight to the brick. You know how natural bricks have lighter and darker colors mixed in? That’s sort of what the highlight color will do. If you notice here, you’ll see that the bricks behind me have sections where I just painted on a lighter color.

How to paint a brick fireplace - highlight color

 

STEP 5: Apply the glaze.

The glaze is just a slightly darker color, to give it some variation in color. I’m applying this right over sections of the highlighted color.

How to paint a brick fireplace - adding glaze

STEP 6: Use an even lighter highlight color.

For the painting kit system, color #3 is an even lighter color. If you look closely, I chose random bricks to dab on the lighter color, to highlight them. Using all these colors together creates a layered look that resembles brick. So you get your painted fireplace that looks like brick, but you kick that ugly red stuff to the curb. Woot!

How to paint a brick fireplace - lighter highlight color

STEP 7: Use a sealer (if you want to).

Honestly, I didn’t use a sealer and had no problems with the paint (at the time of this edit May 2015, it’s been two years since I did my fireplace). The color has lasted, hasn’t chipped, and still looks the same way as the day I did it. Brick Anew does make a matte finish sealer, however, if you want to use it. Just be sure to buy enough for your fireplace.

The Results

When you’re done and it’s all dry, this is what it will look like:

 

Thrift Diving How to Paint an Old Fireplace

 

BEFORE & AFTER: Painting a Brick Fireplace

Let me remind you of what my family room looked like when we moved in. It’s a very long room (about 24 feet), full of dark paneling and dark brick.

Once we had a contractor replace the paneling with drywall, and then painted the fireplace, the room looked like this for several years:

BEFORE (December 2010)

fireplace_BEFORE

 

IN PROGRESS… (September 2015)

The room was still in need of a makeover, but at least the fireplace wasn’t so dark anymore.

 

Family Room Makeover Room Challenge - Thrift Diving7639

 

 

I recently made over my family room, removed a huge tree from the backyard that was blocking the light, and this is what my family room looks like now!

AFTER!

Cozy Family Room Makeover - Thrift Diving Blog - 8688

 

 

As you can see, the brick looks amazing!

As of December 2015, it’s been 3 years since I painted this fireplace, and it still looks gorgeous and brightens up our family room!

Painting it was the best decision ever! And it still looks like brick, which is what we wanted.

I highly recommend the Brick Anew painting kit. I think it was the best money spent (including getting that tree removed, right!! LOL)

 

 

 

 

Cozy Family Room Makeover - Thrift Diving Blog - 8639

 

I actually shot a video on how to paint a brick fireplace. Please feel free to check it out and share! (And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel).

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace – Video Tutorial

I get emailed often about the details of this project, and here are some of my most frequently asked questions:
Yes, it is possible to paint a brick fireplace.

 

FAQ:

 

Q. Can I buy Brick Anew at Home Depot?

Nope…..Sorry, unfortunately they only sell from their own website, as far as I know. (I bought the Twilight Taupe, but there are a couple other color choices). The shipping is free, I believe, which is good.

 

Q. How much does it cost?

It’s a whopping $199.50, to be exact. I know…. I think it’s a bit overpriced for paint. But the beauty of it is that you don’t have to do any guesswork in trying to come up with your own color combinations to try to fake the same look. You can try if you’d like. I know that a few people have emailed me and said they did their own faux finish, and it turned out! You can also just buy the kit. Brick Anew offers a money-back guarantee, which is awesome, because if you try it and find that you don’t like it, there’s no regret. Since making this video, I have worked with Wendy and Sam, the husband and wife owners of the company, and they’re super sweet people who will answer any questions you have about the kit.

 

How to paint a brick fireplace with brick anew

Q: How much Brick Anew paint will I need?

If your fireplace is huge like mine, you will probably need to order more than the kit offers. The website says it covers about an 8′ x 10′ fireplace. If you see my video and pics above, one kit covered just the top half. Order according to your fireplace size. Use mine as a gauge.

 

BEFORE

fireplace_BEFORE

 

Before You Go…

Working on an older house is….draining….exciting….and expensive, even when you’re DIY’ing the heck out of it. When we bought this house, every room needed updating, including this family room. I’ve not gotten to all the rooms yet, but here’s what my sweat and crocodile tears have afforded me so far! 🙂 Feel free to check out these other projects, or to sign up for my 30-Day Makeover series, where my readers and I work on our houses together.

 

 

So do you have an old brick fireplace that is driving you crazy? Leave a comment below and share your horror story! 😉

 

SIGNATURE

Tags:

About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 38-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (71)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. MIA says:

    It is always best to have the pros do the work. We have seen many customers doing DIY but you need to be trained to do this work. As even the slightest of gas leak or in-correct installation can be fatal. Some great points covered.

  2. Connie says:

    Our home was built in the 60’s and had wood paneling in the kitchen and family room. I decided it was time to ‘lighten’ up. I have just finished painting the kitchen white. It is fantastic – was a lot of work, setting nails in paneling, sanding and cleaning the wood, then painting. But it really turned out well. I am now ready to do the same thing in the family room – which has a red brick fireplace- not quite as large as yours. I had already decided to paint it white, cream or beige, I was going to determine that after the walls are painted. I was looking on internet at painted fireplaces when I came across your website and the technique and colors used – and that is it. No more thinking about it, I plan to make mine look like (or very similar to) yours. The color(s) are perfect (combination of all the colors I was thinking of). Neutral and light, but still with definition and movement, showing all the lines of the bricks and mortar. Love it. Hope mine turns out as well. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Hey there, Connie! Sorry so late with responding, but I’m so glad you found this post!! It really is a good look for the brick so that it still has some texture to it. Please send me a picture and let me know how your fireplace turns out. I’m so happy for you to have been inspired! 🙂

  3. Athena says:

    Thank you for a great video tutorial! We just closed on a farmhouse built in 1930. It has an ugly partial brick wall that needs updated. I have heard horror stories of painting brick but you make it look so effortless!! I can’t wait to start painting mine 🙂

  4. Amanda Reed says:

    We are new homeowners and our ‘new’ home was built in the 70;s as well…complete with a red brick fire place that covers the WHOLE wall. Ours is a bit longer than yours. i have been searching for ways to decorate it to try and ‘cover’ the dark red and the fact that it is our whole wall but…It’s impossible. lol So I am looking into painting it now. My husband loves the red,men….. lol. Thank you for this. Will def look into this paint!

    • Yeah, these men!! LOL Can’t get them to see past the red, into the pretty beige colors that GO WITH EVERYTHING ;). I’m glad you found my site! I hope that I can inspire you to paint it, in that case! 🙂 Good luck! Keep me posted on how it turns out!

  5. this looks fantastic! great job

  6. Kayla says:

    Thank you soooo much for sharing this!! We are remodeling our house to get it ready to put on the market. We are doing all of the work ourselves! We’ve been back and forth on this fireplace! I love natural exposed brick and we planned on keeping it as is…..until we redid our floors … now it just does not go! I have yet to touch it with paint because I’m terrified that its just not going to look good. After reading your article, I am pretty confident that I can do this!! I’m a great painter but I’ve never painted brick. I can’t wait to buy my Brick Anew kit, watch your video and get started! Very excited for the end result! Thanks so much for your advice!

    • You are definitely welcome, Kayla!! So glad that my video helped you! You’ll love it. It’s been 2 years now and mine has held up nicely and doesn’t look like the eyesore that it once did! 🙂

      Serena

  7. Jason says:

    Love the tutorial Serena! Keep it up!

    Do you mind sending me the color code that you used for your base color, I’d really appreciate it. I can’t afford the Brick-anew system right now but at less than $50 for Mason Paint, I’m willing to give that a shot.

    Thanks a million ahead of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to my newsletter!