A fireplace can be the star of a room which is why people look to decorate it! There are all kinds of things you can do to the space around your fireplace. But can you paint inside the fireplace?

Painting inside a fireplace should be completed with special heat-resistant paint. Without this, paint will crack and peel quickly when the fireplace is used. Latex paint will work well only if the fireplace is unused. Be sure to properly clean, dry, and prime the fireplace before beginning to paint.

Read on to find out more!

What kind of paint is safe to use inside a fireplace?

Most heat-resistant paint is safe to use inside of a fireplace if it is actively used. For a fireplace that is never in use, you can use latex or oil-based paint.

Basic, flat black fireplace paint is the simplest option for inside a fireplace. This dark colour hides soot and fire damage. Plus, black paint looks good in most fireplaces. The special formula of this fireplace paint will also stop it from cracking and breaking off. But, if it did, it would be harder to tell because of the colour.

Semi-gloss paints like enamels can be another good choice with more options. But they do need cleaning more often to maintain a good look. Any paint you decide on will need a few coats and can need to be reapplied multiple times.

There are quite a few paint options for you to use inside a fireplace. The most important thing is that you make sure it is fireplace friendly. This is why it is recommended to find a heat-resistant paint that you like.

Do you need heat resistant paint for a fireplace?

Heat-resistant paint is recommended for painting inside a fireplace but isn’t the only option. Heat-resistant paint will last longer than others though. It will be able to handle the heat of the fire without coming apart. This will keep your desired paint look for much longer. But, with time, it will still need to be recoated.

Any non-heat resistant paint you use inside a fireplace will crack and peel sooner. This is because it isn’t designed to withstand fire heat. In the same way you need certain bricks for a firepit, you need certain paint for a fireplace. This is because of how the fire affects the materials. The heat expands the paint particles, but they can only stretch so far before they peel apart. Using paint that isn’t heat resistant inside your fireplace will require more regular care and maintenance. It will also need to be recoated more often. But, if you are happy to put in the work and care, you can use these paints. Enamels, oil, and latex paint are the best non-heat resistant options.

No matter what paint you use, preparing the inside of your fireplace before painting is a key step! Let’s look at how to get your fireplace ready for painting.

Preparing the inside of a fireplace for painting

It’s important to properly prepare inside your fireplace before painting, which starts with a thorough clean. Use a stonemason wire brush and warm soapy water to give the inside bricks a good scrub. This will help remove soot and dirt from the brick pores, allowing primer and paint to attach to the brick easier. For tough to clean areas, use a trisodium phosphate and water solution. This should loosen up the dirt and grime, helping you clean it out.

You need to be sure to clean every inch of your fireplace interiors before trying to paint. This helps you to have the best outcome and a lasting paint job. If the dirt isn’t cleaned out, it will clump under the paint and cause cracks.

Once you have cleaned the inside of your fireplace properly, you need to let it dry completely before trying to paint it. This can take 24 hours – sometimes more. After the inside of your fireplace is dry, you can add primer as a last step of preparation before painting. Aim to apply at least two layers of primer and let it dry. Then your fireplace will be ready to be painted on the inside!

How do you clean the inside of a fireplace before painting?

The steps to cleaning your fireplace before painting can be different depending on how dirty it is. If there is a lot of soot inside your fireplace, start by doing your best to sweep it all out. You might find it easier to wet the inside of the fireplace which will clump the soot on the base. This makes it easier to scoop and sweep out dirt, dust and soot. It also helps prevent you from inhaling lots of dust. You can use a 200-300mm scraper to get the clumps out of the fireplace.

Properly clean a fireplace before painting inside itOnce you have scooped out as much soot as possible, follow the steps we touched on earlier. Scrub the fireplace bricks with a wire brush and warm soapy water, getting rid of the rest of the dirt. This will take a lot of time but is worth it to have a great fireplace paint job. It is recommended to start cleaning from the top of the bricks. This way you won’t accidentally make already cleaned areas dirty again.

Some spots might be harder to clean. For these areas, use trisodium phosphate and water to get rid of the mess.

Wear protective goggles and a mask when cleaning your fireplace and especially when using trisodium phosphate. This chemical is harsh which is why it cleans well, but you need to be careful around it and wear safety gear.

After cleaning the fireplace, letting it dry properly is extremely important, as we mentioned. So, while the fireplace dries over 24-hours, make sure you give your cleaning materials and clothes a really good wash.

Should I prime before painting a brick fireplace?

It is definitely recommended to prime the inside of a fireplace before painting. The primer acts as a layer of protection to the wall and paint from the fire heat. You should prime the fireplace brick with multiple coats for the best effect. It can help provide a smoother surface for the paint, increasing your paint appearance. Primer will also stop any potential leftover dirt from impacting the paint. It will also help keep the paint inside your fireplace intact for longer. Masonry primer is the best option for this task.

While you’re considering painting your fireplace, have you thought about tiling it too? We can tell you what tile adhesive to use for a fireplace! During your fireplace renovation, check out Paragon Tools for quality bricklaying and masonry tools. Or take a look at our resources to get more renovation ideas like adding a bathroom to a house!

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