Painting an Old Brick Fireplace

This post was originally published in December 2009 and​ with fireplace season here I thought it would be a great time to re-share with everyone.

Decorating your fireplace mantel is one thing, but what if your brick fireplace is distressed, cracked or just an eye-sore? With economic times being tight, most don’t have extra cash to hire a professional mason to repair damaged brick and crumbled mortar.

One solution is to simply paint over old, dingy brick. Painting bricks white like in this living room from young house love, creates a clean and contemporary look.

Of course I wouldn’t think of painting an antique fireplace like the one shown above, but would consider it if constructed in the 1960s or 1980s, which is when the majority of masonry fireplaces in the United States were built.

Because I have never had to restore a brick fireplace, I assumed that just any old semi-gloss paint and technique would due. After looking into it further, I found that it is difficult to keep the brick’s look and texture when simply using standard paint. In addition, standard paint is not designed to be heat resistant and will blister and peel if it gets too hot.

Here is a before {above} and after image of a red brick fireplace that was restored with a new coat of paint from Brick-Anew – a kit designed for you to change your brick’s color while keeping the texture. I haven’t used the product, but the transformation as you can see is impressive.

In addition to painting the bricks, the homeowner removed the built-in stair-step brick shelves using a chisel. A simple mantel was added to finish off the look. What an improvement, don’t you think?

*images courtesy of Coastal Living, Young House Love and Brick-Anew

**disclosure – Brick-Anew is a Simplified Bee affiliate partner

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15 Responses to Painting an Old Brick Fireplace

  1. Jen April 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    I love the change, but what kind of paint was used for the tile hearth? It was an ugly red when they started, but it was transformed as well. I can't imagine it was the same type of paint? We're moving into a house that has two old brick fireplaces, and I want to change them, but I want to make sure I do it right!

  2. design_aholic December 15, 2009 at 6:01 am #

    we've got a horrifically 70's fireplace- one of those “H” fireplaces, where the brick goes all the way up the ceiling! I would love to get rid of it!

    At least in these Christmas photos, it's a bit disguised. Perhaps I could paint it?! 🙂


  3. Bromeliad December 14, 2009 at 3:18 am #

    Great improvement.

  4. Sherry Petersik December 12, 2009 at 2:12 am #

    Thanks so much for the shout out! We're loving your blog and are both so flattered to be included.

    Sherry (& John)

  5. thelennoxx December 10, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

    Oh, thats a masjor improvement! Doesn't even look like the same one!

    I didn't realise you were on bloglovin, and now I am officialy one of your lovers, lol!

  6. VictoriaArt December 10, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    What cool transformations, love them!
    PS: I handed you the Honest Scrap Award! Please come on over and see! 10 things about you and 7 bloggers you like to know more about!


  7. Lindsey Conrad - Nabors December 10, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    I love that look! Wish I had an old brick fireplace to paint!!!

  8. Struggler December 10, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    Hugely relevant post to me, thank you!
    Our (brick) fireplace had already been painted renters-beige before we moved in, and although it's technically OK, it's pretty soul-less. I will look at Brick Anew, that sounds interesting!

  9. fourwallsandaroof December 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    It always takes courage to paint over a brick fireplace, but I've never seen an example that wasn't a huge improvement. It always looks much brighter, cleaner and more stylish. I've not seen anyone try to paint the bricks a color other than white though – wonder how that would work.

  10. DesignTies December 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    Wow, that fireplace makeover is fabulous!!

    Paint is a great way to improve the look of not-so-impressive brick. For the price of a can of paint, a roller, and a brush, you can really work some magic!! Although like you said, good quality brick should be restored if possible.

    Great pics, and good info 🙂


  11. Heather December 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    That's a great idea! I didn't know they made that type of paint, but it's definitely the type of project you need to research and “picture” before you start!

  12. Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your Life December 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    I def. agree with painting those 1970s eye sores!!! Love the pics above!

  13. anhesty December 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm #

    o i wish i had a before and after of my old fireplace. i did the same. i painted white and it makes such a big diff. great post!

  14. Mélanie December 10, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    Inspring post ! i love the before and after , it changes the room a lot !!

  15. LENORENEVERMORE December 10, 2009 at 5:54 am #

    wow so much brighter!
    adore before & after pictures~