Tips How to Tackle Painting Your Fireplace

Warmer weather is here, and I doubt you are using your fire place much these days. Now however is the perfect time to give your fireplace a face lift by painting it. I got these tips from recently launched magazine called HOLMES: The Magazine to Make it Right, from their May 2011 Issue. The magazine is the most recent project of America’s Most Trusted Contractor, Mike Holmes, star of Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection as you might seen on HGTV. Painting your fireplace is relatively easy way to freshen up your home, and also a great tip to modernize your home when you are staging it for sale. Tackle the painting during summer, so you have a brand new fire place look for the fall. Mike Holmes warns you though – this is not your average paint job, and you should know a few tips from the pros before you get started.

Safety First – Pick the Right Kind of Paint

When it comes to fireplaces, even the non–functioning kind, it’s critical to think about safety before you start painting. Some paints are combustible (products that cannot handle high temperatures), so look for non–combustible paints for your fireplace and ask your paint supplier for proper application techniques.

Prepping Your Fireplace for Painting

Is your fireplace made of stone? Has it been stuccoed? What type of finish does your fireplace have? For brick and natural stone, it can be tricky to remove finishes because these surfaces are absorbent. You’ll likely need to sandblast to get rid of an applied coating, but it’s best to hire a professional to do this as it requires special tools and can cause major damage if done incorrectly. In the case of a wood fireplace, simply sand with a lightweight sandpaper and wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any loose dust particles. If you have a metal fireplace, using a coarse metal brush and some de–greaser, scrub it down and then rinse it with wet cloths and allow time to dry.

Prime it well!

Priming is key for a few reasons: It hides previous color, increases paint coverage and topcoat adhesion, and helps maintain sheen and give an even finish. Look for the appropriate products for the type of fireplace you have. For all types of fireplaces you will need a primer that comes in a high–heat formula, such as oil– or silicone–based primers (remember the tip 1 – these need to be safe for fireplaces too). Latex paints or primers are not suitable for metal fireplaces in particular because they resist heat poorly. You can find spray and brush–on formulas for all types of fireplaces, but it’s important to allow proper drying time to get the best results of paint on primer adhesion, otherwise you might get chipping of paint, lack of shine or uneven finish. Bonus: If you’re painting a metal fireplace, you can use the same materials on your fireplace screen and andiron.

Painting your Fireplace

When it comes to color, the choice is yours. You can either look to the other colors used in your home—drapery, upholstery, cushions, a favorite piece of artwork—and go with complementary colours for a seamless approach, or you can make your fireplace the centerpiece that pops with a contrasting color. For example white fireplace would look great with blue walls. No–gloss or flat paints are popular, but whatever your preference, be sure to pick up a heat–resistant oil– or silicone– based paint that can stand up the heat. You can read more tips in the HOLMES: The Magazine to Make it Right magazine’s article “How To Paint Your Fireplace,” it has great information regarding safety, prepping, priming and painting your fireplace.

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