Painting Fireplace Brick

by grillrepair on March 26, 2013

custom outdoor gas fireplace

we painted the red brick liners to this textured taupe that matched the outdoor room better.

Looking at a site about home and garden repair I came across a headline that read: “Handyman on call: do not paint fireplace bricks unless you like eternal flames”.  Without reading the article I thought somebody’s handyman was telling them paint in a fireplace is flammable so I clicked through to see the article.  It is a pet-peeve of mine that the internet allows so-called-experts to publish bad information, incorrect “facts” and really awful advise and because a few decades working with gas, wood and charcoal appliances has left me with some experience on the subject I usually answer questions with reliable and educated replies based on experience.

Rather than an answer about painting a fireplace the handyman said masonry bricks hold a nostalgic beauty and that they believe there is a special hell reserved for people who paint over bricks.  Obviously the title was designed to be misleading because very few people go searching for a handyman’s opinion about whether something is beautiful but many people may be looking for advise about changing the inner brick liners of a fireplace.  Another pet peeve about the internet is that many supposedly helpful sites are deliberately misleading.

About painting fireplace brick.  The image at the top of this article is a picture of a

gas fire box for vent free installation, ventless gas fireplace

This is the same vent free gas firebox we used in the outdoor fireplace with the original red brick refractory liners.

custom propane fireplace we designed and built next to a huge custom outdoor kitchen and bar in an outdoor room a few years ago.  The fire box we built into the fireplace looked like this one and the brick liners were a mixture of red tavern brick with smokey accents made to look like the bricks had been in a wood burning fireplace for many years through many fires.

Fireboxes come in a lot of sizes, shapes and various designs and there are a lot of inner liners that can be selected or changed.  Unfortunately we built this custom fireplace after the homeowner selected the firebox and then she hated the colors — and this particular firebox did not have the ability to change the liner to the “coffee creamer” colored brick that is also popular.  We removed the gas burner and logs and the inner liners were held in place with small metal clips that are easily removed.  We used a high-heat spray paint and sprayed a light coat that changed the color but still allowed the variations in the colors on the original liners to show through so we had a textured taupe instead of a boring flat solid color.

Painting the fireplace was not a problem and did not pose any safety issues.  Because of the contemporary design of this room we used a vent-free gas log fireplace and ventless firebox which allowed us to focus on the design instead of the logistics of venting the fumes.  Florida has a lot of wind and outdoor fireplaces can be made very safe and effective without spending a thousand dollars on a hole in the roof.  If we were indoors without a chimney I probably would have done more research on the high-heat limits of the paint and the materials of the liner to determine if there was a danger but painting the fireplace did not create a noticeable fumes and was a lot less costly than replacing the liners.

Building a custom fireplace is almost always done with a pre-fabricated firebox because the standardized sizes allow the spark arrestor curtain, heat vent, decorative trim and doors to be changed or added at a later date.  Also the insulation and certified safety features are ready-made for the fireplace and all the access panels for adding electricity or a fan or a remote box or changing the direction of the gas line are already built into the box.  Sometimes the fire box will have refractory liners made from extremely dense brick molds and sometimes from very light weight ceramic fiber boards that are weather and fire-proof but either way they are going to resist heat conduction and will safely hold a coat of paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Previous post:

Next post: