This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!
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 travels 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.
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 It was more like an outdated disaster.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.
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.
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace with BEFORE and AFTER Pictures
- Brick Anew Painting Kit
- Extra paint for large fireplaces
- trisodium phosphate (TSP) or soap and water with a 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 the 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 (see the video tutorial below).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
STEP 7: Use a sealer (if you want to).
Honestly, I didn’t use a sealer and had no problems with the paint. EDITED: October 2017, there is one small area that chipped where my kids have thrown down their Xbox controllers. The color has lasted, otherwise, and looks great. Brick Anew does make a matte finish sealer, which I would recommend if you’re planning to store things on the hearth. Just be sure to buy enough for your fireplace.
When you’re done and it’s all dry, this is what it will look like:
5 Years Later: Watch My Interview With The Owner of Brick Anew!
Updated October 2017: It’s been 5 years since I painted my fireplace and wanted to interview the owner of Brick Anew, Sam Wilhoit, to talk about fireplace painting!
Watch our 30-minute interview on my YouTube channel!
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)
UPDATED POST – OCTOBER 2016
In 2015, I made over my family room, removed a huge tree from the backyard that was blocking the light, and this is what my family room looked like afterward! It’s now October 2016 and I’m happy to report that the fireplace still looks amazing! I haven’t had any peeling paint or chipped paint, either!
As you can see, the brick still looks amazing!
As of October 2016, it’s been 4 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.
Close-up of the brick (Halloween 2016)
I actually posted a video on how to paint a brick fireplace. Please feel free to watch it below!
How to Paint a Brick Fireplace – Video Tutorial
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.
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.
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.
Ready to Buy Brick Anew?
I understand your hesitation because it’s a lot of money. But remember, they have a 30-day money back guarantee. Just try it out and see if you like it. If you don’t, just send it back. 🙂 I’m really glad that I painted mine and would have no doubts about doing it. Exposed brick, in the right setting, can look fabulous! But it can also border on “dated” if it’s too dark and it can suck the light out of living spaces.
So do you have an old brick fireplace that is driving you crazy? Leave a comment below and share your horror story! 😉