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Take steps to lighten dark brick fireplace

By Heidi Baker and Eden Jarrin Published: November 8, 2007
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.

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