Painting Interior Brick

How to sell your home and make a faster, more profitable sale

White washed brick gives you that wonderful updated farmhouse look.

Painting interior brick is a popular decor trend at this time and a great way to give your home a quick facelift.

If you have a house for sale but don't have the means to replace an outdated fireplace, painting the brick may be the solution for you.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to painting interior brick:

First, there are the brick “purists” who believe you should maintain the integrity of brick by leaving it alone no matter what.

Than there are those who believe that the red brick look is outdated and should be covered with paint, sheetrock, or tile. 



Painting interior brick is also a great way to lighten a massive brick wall or camouflage a hideous fireplace, like the one featured in the picture to the right. 

Really ugly brick fireplacePainting an ugly fireplace and adjacent walls the same color will minimize its presence.

Painting this fireplace the same neutral color as the walls next to it, (not the yellow in the picture!) will make the fireplace appear to recede, or blend into the walls. 

This is a home staging trick that fools the eye into seeing the brick fireplace diminish in prominence, in the same way that camouflage works.

Or you could just paint the brick portion that fans down the wall on each side the same color as the wall. Either method will greatly reduce the unattractiveness of this fireplace.

The same can be done with a brick wall that is less than perfect. It can be toned down if painted in a light neutral color. The neutral color will create a perfect backdrop for groupings of artwork.

Painted navy brick fireplace. Painting interior brick.Black paint gives this room a fresh, modern look! Photo by brightgreendoor.com.

If you are preparing your home to sell and are considering painting a brick wall or fireplace, you may want to use light neutral paint colors.

If you're not concerned about your room looking dark or small, paint your fireplace black or navy for a fun, contemporary look.

Painting interior brick

Painted brick fireplace interior design picturesThis painted brick fireplace is a stunning focal point. Pinterest.

Clean the brick before painting

Brick cleaning supplies:

  • wire brush and nylon bristle scrub brush
  • Johnson Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner (to remove soot)
  • Soap or TSP (trisodium phosphate)
  • caulking
  • drop cloth

Step 1:  Protect the fireplace surround with a drop cloth or piece of heavy plastic. Tape off any areas with plastic you don’t want painted, like fireplace inserts and walls.

Step 2:  With a wire brush, scrape away loose mortar and efflorescence, if any. Efflorescence is that white stuff that leaches out of brick— deposits of salt buildup. Vacuum up the mess before moving on to the next step.

NOTE: If your fireplace has efflorescence, wait to see if it comes back after cleaning. If so, you probably shouldn’t paint over the brick, as the efflorescence could be caused by moisture inside the brick.

Step 3:  Next, using a nylon bristled scrub brush, clean the surface of soot and dirt with mild soap and warm water, or spray the fireplace with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar and wipe off with a rag. 

To remove cigarette smoke residue, use TSP, (trisodium phosphate). Mix 1/2 of TSP to 2 gallons of water. Be sure to wear goggles and gloves for protection when working with TSP.

For stubborn soot, spray with “Johnson Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner” and leave on for about 5 minutes. This product works really well on soot! Repeat, if necessary. Johnson Scrubbing Bubbles will also get rid of mildew on the fireplace.

If you plan on painting the inside of the fireplace, be sure to clean it, as well. 

After cleaning, let the brick and mortar dry completely for up to 24 hours. The brick may feel dry on the surface but could still be damp inside, so give it plenty of time just to be safe. 



How to paint a brick fireplace or wall

NOTE: Wait at least one year before painting brand new brick to give the brick time to dry completely.

Brick painting supplies:

  • Drop cloth Stain-blocking, oil-based or acrylic primer for masonry
  • Latex paint, in a semi-gloss finish
  • A heat resistant paint for the firebox 
  • 2 Paint rollers with long naps(heavy textures)
  • 2 small paintbrushes
  • Paint roller tray with extra inserts
White painted fireplace. Painting interior brick.White paint gives this living room a fresh new cottage look.

Don’t be cheap when buying paint for brick surfaces. A high-quality paint is crucial to achieving a superior finish on the brick. 

Select masonry paint products specifically made for brick, from primer to finish coat, that let the brick “breath.”

For the final coat, select a 100 percent acrylic paint with a semi-gloss finish if you want to highlight the brick texture. A flat paint will have more of a matte finish.

Sherwin-Williams makes a great breathable latex paint, called “SuperPaint Acrylic Latex. Or if you want to try the popular white-washed look, Home Depot has the white-wash paint you need for the ever popular rustic farmhouse look.

Step 1:  You’re ready to prime! With the paint roller, start painting from the top of the fireplace or wall and work your way down.

Next, using the small brush, work the paint into the cracks and crevices. Let it dry completely before painting a second coat of primer.

Step 2:  Repeat the process with the latex paint. Be sure that the paint is rated to withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees F. Apply additional coats as needed.

Don't use this paint on the interior of the fireplace. The firebox will require a more heat-resistant paint.

For a video demonstration on painting a brick fireplace, watch below. Thank you Buildipedia for this instructive video!

Return from painting interior brick to depersonalizing your home

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