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Pros & Cons of Painting Your Brick Fireplace

April 5th, 2024 | 5 min read

By Kaylea Kuhlman

Living room with large brick fireplace and white walls.

Painting a brick fireplace can be just the right update you need to refresh it. However, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons before making this decision so you don’t make any mistakes. 

We paint countless interior surfaces at Brush & Roll Painting in Omaha, NE. With our extensive prep work process and use of high-quality products, interior painting projects are guaranteed to look flawless for years. 

In this article, we will dive into the pros and cons of a brick or stone fireplace makeover. By reading this article, you can make an informed decision on if painting your brick fireplace is the best option for you. 

Pros of Painting a Brick Fireplace

Fireplace and golden oak bookshelves before being painted.Living room with a dark accent wall and a white fireplace and a grey couch.

1. Enhanced Aesthetics of Your Space

Painting your brick or stone fireplace opens up a world of possibilities to truly make it a focal point in your space. Whether you want to create a bold statement with a vibrant color or opt for a more subtle , neutral shade that seamlessly blends with your interior design, the choice is yours.

By customizing the look of your fireplace, you can add a touch of personality and style to your home, making it a reflection of your unique taste and aesthetic preferences. 

2. Modernization of Your Brick Fireplace

If your brick fireplace looks outdated or clashes with your home's aesthetic, painting it can modernize the space and give it a fresh, updated feel. Many homeowners opt for a solid black or white shade to paint their fireplace, but any shade is do-able. 

3. Cost-Effective Makeover

White brick fireplace in the middle of a wall in a living room.

Painting a brick fireplace is a cost-effective way to give your space a fresh and updated look without the hefty price tag of completely replacing or removing the fireplace.

Whether you prefer a bold statement color or a subtle hue, painting your brick fireplace can be a budget-friendly option that provides a new and modern feel to your home.

4. Brick & Stone Imperfections

Over time, brick or stone fireplaces can become marred by the accumulation of soot, stubborn stains, or unsightly discoloration. Painting offers a transformative solution, effectively concealing these imperfections and providing the fireplace with a fresh, clean, and uniform appearance.

By having a few coats of paint applied, you can rejuvenate your brick fireplace, giving it a renewed sense of beauty that complements your interior decor. Whether you choose a bold, vibrant color to make a statement or a subtle, neutral hue to blend seamlessly with your surroundings, painting your brick fireplace can truly enhance the aesthetic appeal of your space.

5. Versatility of Brick Fireplaces

Light living room with a white brick fireplace and walls and a light wooden floor.

Painting offers versatility in design. You can opt for a solid color, like white or black which are popular shades for painted brick fireplaces. Or you can create a faux finish to mimic other materials like stone or marble.

Another option is lime washing. Lime washing is a traditional technique that has been used for centuries to beautify and protect various surfaces, including brick, stone, plaster, and wood. 

Lime washing involves applying a slacked lime mixture (water and hydrated lime). Unlike paint, which forms a solid film over the surface, lime wash embeds into the material, allowing it to breathe and age gracefully over time

One of the key benefits of lime washing is its ability to enhance the natural texture. Limewash brings out the inherent beauty of the material, highlighting its unique imperfections and variations. So the texture of your brick fireplace will still appear like brick, just a different color. 

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, lime wash offers practical advantages as well. It is a breathable finish, allowing moisture to evaporate from the surface, which can help prevent mold and mildew growth. Lime wash also has natural antibacterial properties, making it a hygienic choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and other high-traffic areas.

Another advantage of lime washing is its eco-friendliness. Unlike many modern paint products that contain synthetic chemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds), lime wash is made from natural, renewable materials. It is biodegradable, non-toxic, and emits no harmful fumes, making it safe for homeowners, painters, and the environment.

Additionally, lime wash can be easily removed from surfaces, allowing for future renovations or changes in design without generating hazardous waste.

6. Ease of Maintenance

Maintaining a painted brick or stone fireplace is a breeze compared to its unpainted fireplace. A simple wipe down with a damp cloth is all it takes to keep the surface looking fresh and clean.

The smooth finish of the paint makes it easy to remove any dust, dirt, or soot that may accumulate over time. This low-maintenance feature of painted brick fireplaces allows you to enjoy the beauty of your updated fireplace without the hassle of extensive cleaning routines.

Cons of Painting a Brick Fireplace

Living room with golden oak trim and woodwork around stone or brick fireplace.

1. Permanent Change

Once you paint a brick fireplace, it's challenging to reverse the decision to its original form. Removing paint from brick is labor-intensive and may damage the bricks, requiring extensive restoration, let alone, a waste of your investment. 

Luckily, if you simply do not like the color, it can be repainted to a different shade. 

2. Loss of Brick or Stone Texture

Living room with dark walls and a light beige stone fireplace.

While painting brick or stone can offer a fresh and modern look to your fireplace, it's important to consider that this process will cover up the natural texture of the bricks. Some homeowners find the raw, rustic charm of exposed brick to be appealing, as it adds character and warmth to a space.

If you appreciate the unique texture and history that exposed brick provides, painting it may not be the best choice for you. Maintaining the authenticity of the brick's natural texture can help preserve the original character of your fireplace and enhance the overall aesthetic of your home.

3. Risk of Chipping and Peeling Paint

Over time, painted brick can chip or peel, especially in high-heat areas like near the firebox. This can necessitate touch-ups or repainting to maintain the appearance. It's important to choose a high-quality, heat-resistant paint specifically designed for use in areas exposed to extreme temperatures.

Additionally, applying a clear sealant over the painted surface can help protect it from heat and prevent chipping or peeling. Regular maintenance, such as checking for any signs of wear and tear and addressing them promptly, will ensure your painted brick fireplace stays looking fresh and vibrant for years to come.

4. Painting Walls or Woodwork

Living room with sage green walls and golden oak trim and brick fireplace along side corner wall.

If you have reservations about painting your brick or stone fireplace, there are alternative options to refresh the look of your space.

Consider painting the walls, woodwork, or fireplace mantle surrounding the fireplace instead. By focusing on these elements, you can introduce a new color scheme or design aesthetic without altering the natural texture of the brick or stone.

This approach allows you to update your space while preserving the original charm and character of your fireplace. Whether you opt for a bold accent color on the walls or a subtle hue on the woodwork, painting these areas can enhance the overall ambiance of your room.

Plus, it provides a versatile and cost-effective way to transform your space without committing to a permanent change. So, if painting the fireplace itself isn't your preference, explore the option of painting the surrounding elements to achieve a fresh and updated look.

5. Preparation and Maintenance

Properly preparing the brick surface for painting is crucial to ensure adhesion and longevity. This may involve cleaning, priming, and applying multiple coats of paint, which can be time-consuming. If you are planning to hire a professional painter, it's important to find a company that you trust to do the project right.

6. Heat Resistance

When considering painting a brick fireplace, it is crucial to choose the right type of paint that can withstand high heat environments. Using the wrong paint can not only result in unsightly discoloration and bubbling but also pose serious fire hazards.

It's essential to select a high-quality, heat-resistant paint specifically designed for use near fireplaces to ensure the safety and longevity of your painted brick surface.

Additionally, applying a clear sealant over the painted area can provide an extra layer of protection against heat and help prevent any potential issues such as chipping or peeling. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the aesthetic benefits of a painted fireplace while ensuring the safety and durability of your home's focal point.

Painting Your Brick Fireplace

Deciding whether to paint your brick fireplace involves considering the balance between aesthetics, maintenance, and long-term implications. While painting offers a cost-effective way to update your fireplace's look, weighing the potential drawbacks, such as loss of texture and reduced resale value, is essential. 

Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal preferences and how it fits into your overall home design vision. If you're unsure, consulting with a professional painter or designer can provide valuable insight to help you make an informed decision for your fireplace.

At Brush & Roll Painting in Omaha, we have been helping homeowners transform their brick fireplaces into a surface they love. Our expertise dates back to 1996, with the growth of our knowledge and skills, our prep work and use of high-quality products, we can gauruntee a durable finish.

To help you feel confident through each step of your fireplace painting project, download the interior painting project checklist.

Get Your Interior Project Checklist

Kaylea Kuhlman

Kaylea is the Brush & Roll Painting Content Manager.