Painting a Fire Pit

A fire pit is a great addition to any outdoor space. Not only does it provide warmth and ambiance, but it also serves as a gathering place for family and friends. However, after years of use, a fire pit can start to show signs of wear and look dingy or rusted. Applying a fresh coat of paint is an easy and inexpensive way to restore your fire pit to its former glory.

Painting a Fire Pit

Can You Paint a Fire Pit?

Yes, you can paint a fire pit to restore or change its appearance. However, you can’t use just any ordinary paint. In order to withstand the high temperatures, you need to use a high heat spray paint that is specifically rated for temperatures up to 600°F or higher.

Standard household paints and enamels are prone to peeling, cracking, or burning off when exposed to the intense heat generated by a fire pit. High temperature paints are formulated with heat-resistant pigments and binders that can withstand repeated heating and cooling cycles without breaking down.

Steps for Preparing a Fire Pit for Painting

Proper preparation is crucial for achieving great results when painting a fire pit. Here are the key steps:

Clean the Surface Thoroughly

Start by cleaning the entire surface of the fire pit with soap and water. This removes any dirt, soot, ashes, oil or grease that could interfere with paint adhesion. For stubborn debris, use a wire brush to scrub the surface.

Be sure to remove any loose flakes of old paint or rust. Wipe down with alcohol to eliminate any remaining oils. The surface needs to be clean and dull for the primer and paint to stick properly.

Sand Away Rough Areas

Use 100-120 grit sandpaper to scuff up any remaining glossy areas, bumps or surface irregularities. This helps the paint grip better. Smooth, slick surfaces can cause the paint to peel off.

Spot Prime Rusty Areas

For fire pits with rust spots, first prime just the rusted areas with a rust-inhibiting primer. Allow this to dry fully before applying the high heat spray paint. This prevents future rust from bleeding through the topcoat.

Mask Off Necessary Areas

Before painting, use painter’s tape and plastic sheeting to mask off any areas you don’t want painted. This includes ventilation holes where flames pass through as well as the inner surface directly exposed to the fire.

Only paint the external decorative portions of the fire pit. Any areas with direct fire contact should be left unpainted to avoid potential fire hazards or toxicity concerns.

Choosing a High Heat Spray Paint

Once prepped, you need to select an appropriate high temperature coating rated for fire pit use. The best high heat spray paint options include:

  • Rust-Oleum High Heat – Offers superior coverage, durability and color retention up to 1200°F. Good for metal, wood, concrete and masonry.
  • Krylon High Heat – Dries fast with excellent adhesion. Withstands temperatures up to 1000°F. Low odor formula.
  • VHT FlameProof – High heat and corrosion resistant coating. Withstands temperatures up to 1000°F. Available in many colors.

No matter which brand you choose, look for the following features:

  • Temperature rating of 1200°F or higher – This ensures it can withstand the hottest fire pit temperatures over time.
  • Made for high heat applications – Formulated specifically for use on grills, fire pits, wood stoves, etc. Not just standard spray paint.
  • Bright, lasting colors – Does not fade, yellow or chalk even after repeated heating cycles.
  • Prevents rust/corrosion – Contains rust inhibitors to prevent future rust and corrosion damage.
  • Fast drying – Recoat in less than an hour for efficient application.

How to Paint a Fire Pit

Once you have prepped the surface and selected an appropriate high heat spray paint, follow these tips for best results:

1. Position Fire Pit Horizontally

For easier painting, place the fire pit on supports so it lays horizontally. This allows you to reach all sides fully.

2. Apply Primer

For the most durable finish, use a primer even if the manufacturer states it is not required. For metal fire pits, a rust-inhibiting primer is best.

3. Light Coats Work Best

Apply several lighter coats rather than one thick coat. Thick coats are prone to cracking or peeling when heated. Let each coat fully dry before the next application.

4. Follow Recommended Dry Times

Most high heat spray paints can be recoated within 1 hour. Follow the specific product directions for proper dry time between coats. Rushing the process can ruin the paint job.

5. Start and End Strokes Off the Piece

When spraying, start the stroke off the fire pit, over the paint into the middle, and end the stroke off the piece again. This prevents paint build up on the edges.

6. Maintain Even Coverage

Keep the can about 8 inches from the surface and use smooth, even strokes to ensure consistent coverage. Avoid drips by not applying too heavily.

7. Spray from Multiple Angles

Rotate the fire pit and spray from different angles to reach all crevices and create an even coat all the way around.

8. Allow Proper Cure Time

Let the paint cure for several days or the full recommended recoat time before burning a fire. This prevents cracking as the paint fully dries.

9. Gradually Increase Fire Sizes

When using for the first time after painting, slowly increase fire sizes over several uses. This properly cures the paint with gradual temperature increases versus sudden shock.

High Heat Paint Color Options

When choosing a color for painting your fire pit, darker muted tones work best:

  • Black – A popular classic choice that hides smoke stains. Looks great on any finish.
  • Dark brown – Rich and natural looking on brick or stone fire pits. Helps conceal soot.
  • Dark gray – Modern neutral that complements both warm and cool palettes.
  • Deep red – Makes a bold statement and has a warm, inviting look.
  • Metallic finishes – Adds a touch of shine. Popular choices include bronze, copper, gold, silver.

For extra visual interest, consider a two-tone look with a dark base coat and lighter accent coat. Or use alternating high contrast colors on brick or stone pieces.

Best High Heat Spray Paint for a Fire Pit

If you want a top-quality paint that looks great and will last season after season, Rust-Oleum High Heat spray paint is a leading choice for fire pits and other high temperature applications.

Here’s why it stands out above the rest:

  • It withstands temperatures up to 1200°F and offers the highest heat resistance available in a spray can.
  • Prevents rust and corrosion – Contains rust inhibitors to prevent future rust damage even under extreme heat.
  • Excellent durability – Provides long-lasting protection and color retention even after repeated fire pit use.
  • Superior adhesion – Sticks to metal, concrete, masonry and more with fewer coats needed.
  • Applies easily – High quality nozzle makes spraying smooth and easy for anyone.
  • Fast drying – Recoat in less than an hour. Fully dries in 24 hours.
  • Excellent coverage – Covers fully and evenly in fewer coats compared to other brands.

For long-lasting protection and vibrant colors that pop, Rust-Oleum High Heat is the best spray paint for fire pits. It will restore yours to look like new again.

What Causes Paint to Peel Off a Fire Pit?

Nothing detracts from the look of a newly painted fire pit faster than paint that starts cracking and peeling soon after application. To prevent this frustrating issue, it helps to understand the potential causes:

  • Insufficient surface prep – Grease, dirt and lack of sanding can impede adhesion. Always start with a clean, lightly sanded surface.
  • Applying paint too thick – Thick coats are prone to expanding and contracting at different rates, causing the paint to crack and peel away. Keep coats thin.
  • Not fully curing paint – Building a fire too soon after painting doesn’t allow the paint to cure fully, leading to compromised durability.
  • Using the wrong paint – Household paints can’t withstand fire pit heat levels. Only use high heat spray paints designed for this application.
  • Exposure to moisture – If stored outdoors, moisture getting under the paint over time can make it peel. Store fire pits covered or bring indoors when not in use.

Proper prep work, correct product selection, suitable dry times and protected storage will help you avoid the frustrations of peeling paint on future fire pit projects.

How to Paint a Metal Fire Pit

Metal fire pits and chimineas can develop rust, discoloration and scratches over time. Restore yours with a fresh coat of high heat spray paint made specifically for metals. Here are some tips for success:

Remove Rust and Sand Away Flakes

Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any loose rust flakes or damaged paint down to the bare metal. Wipe clean.

Apply Rust-Inhibiting Primer

Even if the can states primer is “not required,” take this extra step for better corrosion resistance. Allow to dry per directions fully.

Use Thin, Even Coats of Paint

Metals can show imperfections easily. Use a smooth back-and-forth motion to prevent drips. Several thin coats look better than one thick coat.

Start/Stop Spray Off the Piece

To prevent paint build up on edges, start/end the spray stroke off the fire pit. Release spray as you reach the middle.

Allow Proper Cure Time

Most high heat spray paints for metals allow recoating within 1 hour. But let it cure 24-48 hours before first use to harden the paint fully.

Gradually Break In the New Paint

Build small fires at first, increasing to larger fires over several uses. Shocking the paint with high heat right away can cause issues.

Rust-Oleum High Heat works excellently for metal fire pits. It adheres tightly, fully cures fast, and offers the highest level of rust prevention.

How to Paint a Concrete Fire Pit

Like metal, concrete fire pits are highly prone to damage from high temperatures. Restore yours with a fresh coat of protective paint formulated specifically for concrete and masonry:

Clean and Remove Any Loose Material

Pressure wash if needed, then scrub away any oil, soot or other residues with soap, water and a stiff brush.

Sand Down Slick Areas

For paint to adhere properly, the concrete needs to have a roughened, textured surface. Sand smooth areas with 80-100 grit sandpaper.

Apply Concrete Primer

Priming concrete before painting is crucial for proper adhesion and preventing peeling. Use an alkali-resistant primer made for masonry.

Use Masonry Paint

Regular paints don’t flex well with the expansion and contraction of concrete. Use a high-quality masonry paint designed for durability.

Consider a Satin or Eggshell Finish

These finishes offer protection with minimal gloss that can yellow over time when exposed to heat.

Rust-Oleum High Heat spray paint works excellent on concrete fire pits. The durable acrylic enamel finish resists cracking, peeling and fading even under high heat.

Can You Use Regular Spray Paint on a Fire Pit?

It may seem easier to grab a can of ordinary spray paint from the hardware store instead of ordering a specialty high-heat paint online. However, regular spray paint is not formulated to withstand the extreme temperatures of a fire pit.

While standard spray paint may initially look fine, it will soon start to chip, peel, crack or burn off when exposed to heat due to the following limitations:

  • Not designed for temperatures above 200°F
  • Binders soften and expand when heated
  • Pigments fade, discolor or burn off
  • Does not flex well through heating/cooling cycles
  • Does not offer rust or corrosion resistance

Save yourself time, frustration and money in the long run by using only a high-quality, high-heat spray paint made specifically for fire pits and similar applications. The small upfront investment will pay off for years to come.

How to Paint Fire Pit Bricks or Stones

Painting the brick, concrete masonry or stone units of a fire pit adds color while also helping protect the masonry from heat damage over time. For best results:

Clean and Remove Soot

Pressure wash bricks if needed to remove dirt, soot and residue from between crevices. Let bricks fully dry before painting.

Apply Masonry Primer

Priming is crucial to paint properly adhering to the textured, porous surface of masonry. Choose an alkali-resistant primer.

Use Masonry Paint

Specialty masonry paints withstand expansion, contraction and moisture better than standard paints. Use a high quality brand.

Consider a Satin Finish

Higher gloss paints can discolor and look streaky on uneven brick. Satin offers protection without heavy shine.

Paint Similar Sections the Same Color

Painting all bricks one color looks most natural. If using multiple colors, paint in uniform sections versus random bricks.

Expect to Reapply More Often

The heat exposure and porous nature of masonry means paint may need reapplication yearly. Proper prep helps extend durability.

Can You Use Rustoleum or Hammerite on a Fire Pit?

Yes, Rustoleum and Hammerite brands both offer spray paints formulated specifically for high heat applications like BBQ grills, fire pits, radiators, engine parts and more.

Key things to look for when selecting their paint for a fire pit:

  • High heat rating – Ensure the product description states it is rated for temperatures up to at least 600°F or higher.
  • For grills/fire pits – Confirm the paint is designed for high heat surfaces like grills, stoves, fire pits, etc. Not all their paints are.
  • Bright finish – Pick a gloss or satin finish for maximum durability and color pop. Avoid flat/matte.
  • Rust prevention – Seek out options offering rust and corrosion inhibition for metals.

Both Rustoleum High Heat and Hammerite Barbecue & Stove Paints check all these boxes and produce long-lasting results on fire pits. Make sure to follow their specific preparation and application instructions for success.

Is Spray Painting a Fire Pit Difficult?

One of the biggest benefits of using a high heat spray paint on a fire pit is ease of application. Spray painting with a paint gun allows you to quickly and evenly coat all surfaces of a fire pit without the hassle of brushes or rollers.

Here are some key advantages to spray painting versus brush painting a fire pit:

  • Faster – No dipping brushes or cleaning rollers. Just point, spray and move on.
  • More even coverage – The fine spray mist coats evenly and gets into crevices.
  • Easier for intricate designs – Spraying makes it simpler to create designs, banding, sections in different colors.
  • Minimal brush marks or imperfections – The uniform spray pattern leaves a cleaner finish.
  • Less thinning required – Spray paints are pre-formulated for the right consistency.

Just remember to use light, multiple coats for best results. Overall, spray painting is much easier than brushing for most fire pit projects.

Can You Paint Metal, Concrete and Brick Fire Pits?

One common question is whether all fire pit materials can be painted or only certain types. The good news is that with proper preparation and the right paint, you can paint fire pits made of:

  • Metal – Including steel, iron, copper, aluminum. Remove rust first.
  • Concrete – Clean and roughen surface before priming and painting.
  • Stone or brick – Porous masonry materials absorb paint well when properly primed first.
  • Ceramic tile – Use primer and paint specially formulated for slick, non-porous tile.

The key is to always start by following the manufacturer’s surface prep recommendations. Certain materials like plastic, resin or fiberglass may have limitations or require special prep. Then apply a compatible primer before the topcoat for maximum durability.

How Should You Prepare a Rusted Fire Pit Before Painting?

Over time, metal fire pits exposed to weather conditions can start developing rust spots, flakes or a layer of oxidation. Here are some must-do steps when preparing rusted metal for painting:

  • Remove loose rust – Use a wire brush, sandpaper or rust removal solutions to get down to bare metal.
  • Clean grease and oils – Degrease any oily areas. Clean thoroughly before priming.
  • Apply rust inhibiting primer – Even if spraying a top coat over rust, prime first to prevent future rust bleed-through.
  • Fill small holes/pits if needed – Dab filler over deeper imperfections so the finish looks smooth.
  • Sand lightly – Smooth any remaining glossy or rough areas to ensure the paint can properly adhere.
  • Wipe away dust – Use a tack cloth after sanding to remove all dust before painting.

With proper prep to remove current rust and prevent future rust, even a heavily rusted fire pit can be restored to look like new again with fresh paint. Be patient – don’t skip steps or the paint won’t last.


Painting a fire pit can extend its lifespan, hide damage, and allow you to change the color anytime. With the proper high-heat spray paint and preparation steps, you can paint metal, brick, concrete, and other fire pit materials for long-lasting results.

Scroll to Top