In partnership withKILZ®

Here’s How to Paint a Brick Wall Like a Pro

published Apr 26, 2021
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Credit: Ana Hard

Have a brick fireplace in your home? Lucky you! Even if your fireplace isn’t working or feels a little dated at the moment, it can live up to its potential as a room’s defining feature. All you need is some paint to give it new life (and KILZ® Primer to do it right). Here’s how to transform it from outdated to outstanding!

What You’ll Need

  • KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer
  • Heat Resistant Latex Paint
  • Stiff Bristle Paint Brush, Heavy Nap Roller & Roller Handle
  • Roller Pan
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Cleaning Supplies: Stiff Brush, Spray Bottle & Degreasing Soap
  • Plastic Gloves, Face Mask & Eye Protection
  • Dropcloth
Credit: Ana Hard

1. Clean your brick and tape off the edges.

Cleaning may not be the most fun, but it’s the most important step to make sure your primer and paint roll on properly. Put down a dropcloth to catch the mess and use a stiff brush to wipe off loose dirt, then vacuum up any dust. Mix a degreasing soap with water to make a soapy mix, then spray it onto your fireplace and scrub to remove grease and dirt, working from top to bottom.

For mildew, you can use a 1/3 bleach and 2/3 water solution. In instances where soap’s not strong enough, you can try a TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water solution (following instructions and safety precautions). Never use acid cleaning solutions, since they can affect the primer and paint.

Do one final pass with water and a stiff brush, then let your fireplace dry. (It may take a day or two — which is fine because you’ve earned a break!) Once it’s dry, tape off any areas that you don’t want to be painted, such as walls, floors, the mantel, and the firebox.

Credit: Ana Hard

2. Brush and roll on KILZ 2 All-Purpose Primer.

Primer blocks stains (including water and grease) and helps to prep the porous brick surface, so color goes on more easily and stays on longer. KILZ 2 All-Purpose Primer is water-based and fast-drying, and it ensures a truer color from your topcoat paint.

To apply it to your brick, start from back to front and top to bottom. Use a stiff paint brush to cut paint into the grooves and mortar lines. For a smooth finish, follow up using a roller with a 1/2” nap. Let it dry completely.

Note that the metal parts of your fireplace require heat-resistant paint, so avoid putting primer on any metal areas, such as the firebox or metal surrounds.

Credit: Ana Hard

3. Once the primer is dry, paint the brick.

Now that your fireplace is primed for an easier finish, you can start the painting process with a large-nap roller made for textured surfaces. Paint your fireplace with an indoor, heat-resistant latex brick paint. (We love a matte finish.) Avoid the firebox and metal areas, which require a special, high-heat-resistant paint. Follow-up with a brush to fill in any crevices and smooth out any drips. Let it dry completely.

Since you primed, you’ll probably only need one coat of paint, but you can follow up with a second if you feel it’s necessary. Once the paint is fully dry, remove the painter’s tape and tarps.

Credit: Ana Hard

Step back, admire your work, and start thinking about what to paint next—now that you’re a pro!