Q:I would like to paint my dark-brown brick fireplace. It was probably installed in mid-1930s, and we don't really use it, but it would be nice to spruce it up for the holidays. A:Painting brick is actually easy. As with any painting project, the key to a successful outcome is preparation. So, before you get started, you'll want to tape around the fireplace and put plastic down to avoid getting paint on the walls or the flooring around it. If the brick has been painted previously, we recommend you begin by using TSP (trisodium phosphate ) to clean it. This product will take off any residue that would make it more difficult to get the new coat of paint to attach to it. It will also de-gloss the paint, allowing for better adhesion. The only thing we can't say enough is to make sure that you rinse it off very well. The oddest thing about TSP is that it helps the paint adhere, but if it leaves a residue, the paint will not stay on. If the brick hasn't been painted, skip the previous step. Start by sweeping and/or vacuuming the brick. From this point, you will want to wear gloves, protective eyewear and a covering for your hair. The last thing you want is ecru highlights! The way to prepare the brick for painting is to first apply a coat of primer. Follow the instructions on the can as to drying time between coats. Also, make sure you have adequate ventilation, as primers and paints can create harmful fumes. Once the primer is dry, apply your first coat of paint. Since you are painting brick, we recommend you pick up a satin or a semi-gloss paint sheen. Since the fireplace is dark brown now and you want to paint it a lighter color, it is safe to assume it will take a minimum of two coats to fully cover the brick. For application, you may want to use a roller for the front of the fireplace and a brush to get in to the crevices. For a little different look, there are products you can paint onto your brick that will make it look like new, lightly colored bricks instead of painted brick. If you think this is something that interests you, ask for it at a local home-improvement store or search on the Internet. Heidi Baker and Eden Jarrin are co-founders of BeJane.com, an online community and resource for women's home improvement.
Painting a fireplace's dark bricks can provide a fresh look. Provided