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 It was more like an outdated disaster.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.

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

 

I called in sick to work and get set to work.  Here how I transformed it:

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:

I didn’t post a far-away pic of my family room because the rest of the room is a hot mess :). I’ve been doing 30-day makeovers on the rest of my house (see pics below), but I haven’t gotten to this room yet. That’s why I haven’t shown you the whole room :). If you want a pic of the whole room, just email me and I’ll hook you up :).

And of course, just doing a BEFORE and AFTER shot isn’t enough. 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

Here’s a close-up of the finished fireplace. Seriously, it such an improvement! The layering of the paint in a faux finish really created the look of brick. So hubby is happy because it still looks like brick, and I am happy because now I don’t have to live in a cave. Win, win! :)
Thrift Diving How to Paint an Old Fireplace
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! 😉

 

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About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 37-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 (59)

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  1. Jason says:

    Thank you for posting this video. The fireplace looks great. Aside from the base color, were colors 1, 2 or 3 or the glaze used on the mortar joints or only the bricks?

  2. Serena says:

    Thanks, Jason! Yep, base color was applied to everything. As for Colors 1,2,3 and the glaze, I applied them only to the bricks. My mortar was a bit inset, so it was easy to only stick to the bricks. But some people’s fireplaces may have more even brick and mortar, so you’d have to be diligent to stay on just the bricks. Are you considering painting your fireplace?

  3. Jason says:

    Yes, I’d like to paint my fireplace but I’m hesitant. Like yours, my brick fireplace covers one entire wall but my mortar joints are black not gray. I don’t recall from your video, but did you use the Twilight Taupe color?

  4. Serena says:

    Jason,
    Don’t be afraid to paint it! You will LOVE it! The black mortor won’t matter, because (if you use this painting kit), you would be painting the whole brick and mortor with the base coat. It covers well, but you will need more than what comes in the kit. It comes with 2 bottles of base coat, but if you recall from the video, those 2 bottles only covered half of my fireplace. I ended up going to Home Depot and got a color match of the base coat. You could do the same, too. The difference is so slight you can’t tell. And then when you do Colors 1,2,3, just do it on the brick. It will look soooo much nicer. And yes, I cuded Twilight Taupe. Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions! :)

  5. Jason says:

    What did you end up buying from Home Depot? A latex, oil, or a tinted Kilz? Also, did you use Brick-Anew’s spray brick cleaner to clean the fireplace prior to painting?

    • Serena says:

      HI, Jason,
      I’m sorry, did I end up getting back to you about the paint that I bought from Home Depot?? If I didn’t, totally sorry! Do you still need help? And if not, how did your fireplace turn out?

      • Jason says:

        No, haven’t done my fireplace yet. It was supposed to be my big winter project, before yard work calls in the spring. :) Still have a few more months though, and I just want to be confident about my color choice and the amount of paint I’ll need.

        I did find a BBB bureau report on the BrickAnew folks:
        http://www.bbb.org/atlanta/business-reviews/fireplace-equipment-retail/intercept-sales-in-marietta-ga-27271392

        A few complaints listed there but still an A+ rating.

        • Serena says:

          Jason, I haven’t seen that report. In my own experience, they had pretty good customer service. At first, I was going to return the kit, even after I had painted part of the wall, because I just felt like, “I paid $200 for THIS??!!” The customer service woman was like, “Yeah, we’ll give you a refund if you really want it, but promise me you’ll at least TRY to finish all the colors, or at least do a test, and see if you like it.” So I took her advice and finished it, and I DID love it, so of course, I never returned it.
          Let me know when you’ve done your fireplace! I would really love to see a pic :) Happy painting!

  6. Randy B. says:

    I think this turned out great. Do you think you could have done this with material all from a Home Depot/Lowes/Menards paint line knowing what you know now or do you think that the Brick A New has some coats in which can not be replicated. I enjoyed the depth in which things were put in order and it makes sense because some people just choose to paint their fireplace and it’s just a solid color and it does not look brick anymore; this does?

    If it could be bought locally, could you possibly tell exactly what products are needed to buy and how much one may save. I agree 200 is steep but you do have a great looking wall!

    Thanks for taking time to make a video; much appreciated

    • Serena says:

      Hi, Randy! Hmm…good question. I think I probably could have, maybe if I had known what I was ordering before I actually ordered it. LOL. I was up at 2 a.m. and just happened to be searching painting fireplaces, and stumbled onto Brick Anew. It was a splurge purchase, without any knowledge of what I was buying. I was a little dismayed to find that I had spend $200 on…um…PAINT in small bottles! LOL What you’re paying for is the particular COLORS they’ve pre-mixed for you. If you could figure out what colors you’d need to do a faux finish, which is what this is, then you’d be all set. Do some research on faux finishes and see what you come up with.
      As for saving, you could get a can of regular brick mason paint for about $20. A WHOLE CAN, versus one of those small bottles. That’s huge savings!!
      Let me look in to seeing if I can try to replicate it. I don’t want to infringe on their licensing or anything! Lord knows I don’t need a lawsuit. LOL

      • Randy B. says:

        Thank you for the reply; I agree the color scheme should not be too hard to find for some faux diy finishes that some people have experimented. I guess besides the brick mason paint is there any other special paints. I understand Brick a new is going to be cryptic and not boldly say this is just brick mason paint from lowes with our label on it with our own color tint we made up. Thanks again for responding and I am glad you showed us hope in what our fireplaces could look like and not so “Old” . Great job!

        • Serena says:

          Definitely! I think the most important thing is to start with a basecoat that’s a few shades darker, and then work in a couple lighter colors, while working in random pattern to “faux” it on :) As for special paints, there is one step that they call the “Glaze” step. I don’t know how “special” it is, though. I don’t know if it was really a glaze at all. I’ll take a closer look at it and see if I can determine if it’s a more watery glaze or something. But oh—I think I forgot to reply earlier that yes, it still has a “brick” look to it, which is what drew me to the product to begin with. Hubby wanted to keep it its original brick (!!!! Heck no!!!!). So I thought this was a good compromise: paint it, but make it still look like brick. I’m totally satified with it! So even if you bought it, you would NOT be dissatisfied! It really does work, and takes the guess-work out of which colors to choose to make it look the best.

  7. Rita says:

    Hi Serena,
    Love, Love, love your brick wall!! It’s so updated and fresh looking! I have a “faux brick” wall in my kitchen that is definitely going to get a make-over. I’d love to achieve this look and was wondering how you feel about white-washing the faux brick? It would still look like brick, but with a nice whitish wash. I’d love to hear your opinion and perhaps suggestions.
    Thanks bunches:)

  8. Sarah says:

    Love the way your fireplace turned out. Looks just like mine right down to the brass doors! I am about to order the kit and I noticed that you can buy additional base coat. My question is what size of area did you paint? Do you think one more container would have been enough for you to finish? My area is 11’x13′. I work odd hours so any chance I have of hitting Home Depot is slim to none anytime soon ( I am the 2am project kind of gal) advice would be great!

    • Hey there, Sarah! Thanks for the compliment! My fireplace is about that same size. The kit comes with 2 bottles of base coat. It took me both bottles, and I was only able to finish the top portion of my fireplace. It also depends on how porous your fireplace is. Mine is VERY porous! If your is porous, I would count on needing 2 more bottles to coat the whole thing. If you’d like, you could probably just order 1 additional bottle, and then if you need it, order another. Not sure how much shipping would be, but it would be cheaper than buying another bottle and then finding that you don’t need it, you know? Their website says that a kit will cover 100 sq ft. Yours, from your dimensions, is about 143 sq ft. Try one extra bottle and go from there. Good luck!! You’ll love the results!

  9. Susan Paparella says:

    I got the same look for $20.00. Cleaned the fireplace, mixed 2 parts water with one part white, latex paint. Slowly painted one brick at a time, dabbing and rubbing in with a clean rag, as I went, I was careful not to get it in the grout. Looks fabulous!

    • Mel says:

      Hi. Can you post a photo of it?

      • Susan Paparella says:

        Hi, yes, I have a photo of the result. My husband loved it! I do not know how to post it here. Tried to copy and paste it into the comment box, but it didn’t work. I am happy to try again, if anyone can tel me how I can post it here or happy to attach it in an e-mail to you! It is such an improvement! The fireplace had sickly looking, 60’s peach brick. Now it’s SO much better!

  10. Steve says:

    When you bought the extra paint at Home Depot, what exactly did you buy? I am trying to find what color and finish and also if you bought a gallon or quart extra. Moving to a new house and along with painting many many walls, we have this listed to do. It’d be much easier for me to hit Home Depot for extra then wiat for a shipment.

  11. Vicki says:

    FINALLY a painted brick fireplace I can LOVE. For 13 YES THIRTEEN YEARS I have wanted to and searched for a a way to paint this cave looking brick to no avail.
    THANK YOU FOR SHOWING US THIS!!!!
    We will FINALLY be doing something about what we consider the only flawed area of our family room.

    Keep up the teaching..I’m learning

    • Hey there, Vicki! Oh man, 13 years?! :) Well, I’m glad you’re not going to have to live with it much longer! I just can’t believe that someone back in 1973 thought this red brick would be a good idea. LOL! :)

  12. Randy Str says:

    Serena,

    Thanks for the video. I found BrickAnew while looking for a way to remove the painted from my already painted brick. Being the skeptic that I am, I started looking at all the blogs and video I could find and there was not much. I don’t think I would have moved forward with the BrickAnew without your video. I thought it was a great concept, but I really didn’t want to waste $200 for the kit to find out it was not.

    Regards,
    Randy

    • YAY!! Thanks, Randy! Glad I was able to help you!!! :) I’m all about trying to give people as much as they can so they can have the confidence to try things without the fear. Hope my post helped! :)

  13. Ashley 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 :)

    • Hi Ashley! Yeah, it’s really not hard at all. Since hubby wanted to make it still look like brick, this was the best option :). Have you gotten started? Let me know if you have questions!

  14. Reyhana says:

    Hi Serena,

    Happy New Year! I just came across your website while researching fire place painting. I absolutely love your new updates fire place. I really don’t want to spend the $200 for the paint supplies from the vendor that you used. Is it possible that I can obtain the same look by using items for Home Depot? I’m ready to take on my first DIY project. A bit nervous, but still excited.

    Thanks for any advice that you can offer; and apologies if this is a repeated question.

    Regards,
    Reyhana

  15. Lisanne Canal says:

    Do you know what alternative colors that can be used for Brick painting like yours? The glaze and all…
    thanks

    embarrassed to ask but money is money and lord knows we don’t have much…

    cheers,
    thanks for your time
    Lisanne Canal

  16. carl says:

    Apparently Serena has left the building. No posts since last March.

  17. carl says:

    I’m referring to the lack of your replies to the many questions asked since March, although I do see that you did respond to Cindy today after I had posted my comment.

  18. Renetta Fierro says:

    Thanks for posting this I thought of refacing with rock then decided I didn’t want to spend to much so I was looking for alternatives I am so excited to see how good this came out then the screen cover I didn’t think of painting it I was gonna get a new one I really love the outcome great job I was intimidated to start this but now I’m ready!

  19. steve says:

    Fantastic video and job. Seeing that massive brick face makes me feel so much more confidentabout attempting mine and leavig it in the 70s;)
    Thanks again!

  20. Aston_B says:

    Hey Serena, Thanks for sharing such a pleasant experience of renovating fireplace. You are lucky that your hard work ( or smart work) resulted well. We went for a fireplace renovation last year and spent almost double the amount but the result is just not done. It is terrible; even though the outer appearance is acceptable but am just not sure about the quality of product used! I think it’s time when I should actually try something new and innovating. Thanks for the suggestion ( and also motivation) :)

    • Aston, no problem!! The Brick Anew is really easy to use. Again, you can make your own DIY version, but you can also buy it if you don’t want to have to figure out the paint colors and stuff! Good luck, and send me a pic when you’re done!

  21. Holly says:

    Thanks! I have painted my fireplace white (16 years ago) and dark gray (last year) and just have never loved it. Going to try for the middle ground and more “brick look” after your inspiring video. Like you, I found brick anew at 2 am… but I didn’t buy it until I found your info. Wish me luck. :) Loved your video!

  22. Angelica says:

    Would you mind posting or emailing me a pic of the fireplace from across the room? I have exactly the same fireplace even screen but would like to see it in relation to the floors, walls etc. Thanks. Beautiful work by the way!

    • Hi Angelica! Sorry for the late response! I can snap a pic of it when I get home. I’m at work right now. Email me and I’ll forward it to you! You’ll have to forgive the other messy furnishings! LOL My email is THRIFTDIVING at GMAIL dot COM.

  23. Lisa says:

    Hi Serena, approximately how long did this take you with all the different steps? How long did the coats have to dry in between? It looks awesome.

    • Thanks, Lisa! I remember getting it done in 1 day. I took a day off from work to get it done. I would say maybe 6 hours total? The dry time wasn’t an issue because the size of it, by the time I got to the other end, the other side was already drying! :)

  24. 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.

  25. 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

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