Painting the Inside of a Fireplace

Painting the inside of a fireplace can help freshen up the look of an outdated fireplace and make it look clean and new again. However, special considerations need to be taken when painting inside a fireplace since normal paints are not designed to withstand the high heat conditions.

Painting the Inside of a Fireplace

Should You Paint the Inside of a Fireplace?

There are a few factors to consider when deciding if you should paint the inside of your fireplace:

Improving Appearance

  • Painting the interior brick, metal, or stone can give a dated fireplace a quick makeover. Especially if the inside of the fireplace is covered in soot or looking dingy, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders.
  • Painting the fireplace a lighter color like white or off-white can help reflect more light and make a darker fireplace appear brighter.

Covering Up Imperfections

  • If the inside of your fireplace has cracks, chips, discoloration or other flaws in the brick or stone, paint can provide an easy way to cover up these imperfections.
  • Painting a fireplace black can help hide soot stains that are difficult to remove completely.

Changing the Color Scheme

  • If you want to update your living room with a new color palette, painting the fireplace is an easy way to make it match.
  • You may wish to paint the fireplace white or a lighter neutral if your room colors are changing to darker, richer shades.
  • Accent colors like bold reds, blues or greens can be used inside the fireplace for a pop of color.

What Kind of Paint is Safe to Use Inside a Fireplace?

Using regular indoor paints inside a fireplace is not safe, as standard paints are not designed to withstand high temperatures. Once the fireplace is in use, regular paint will inevitably peel, crack, or flake off.

Specialty high heat paints are formulated specifically for the high temperature conditions inside fireplaces and stoves. Look for the following features when choosing the right fireplace paint:

High Temperature Ratings

  • Opt for paints specially rated for high heat up to 1200°F or higher.
  • Many regular paints are only rated up to 200°F and start to break down above that.
  • High temperature paint will be able to resist heat, allowing for a long-lasting finish.

Heat-Resistant Binders and Pigments

  • Quality high heat paints are formulated with special binding agents and pigments that can withstand repeated heating and cooling cycles.
  • Silicone binders are commonly used for their ability to resist high temperatures.
  • Iron oxide pigments provide durable color that won’t fade under heat exposure.

Brands Such as Rustoleum High Heat

  • Trusted brands like Rustoleum, Forrest, Rutland and Stove Bright offer paints specifically rated for the extreme conditions inside fireplaces.
  • Rustoleum High Heat spray paint can handle up to 1200°F.

Matte or Flat Finishes

  • For fireplace interiors, only use flat, matte or eggshell high temperature paint finishes.
  • Glossy finishes can reflect excess light and cause unwanted glare.
  • Matte finishes don’t show marks as easily, creating a nicer look.

Can You Paint the Inside of Your Fireplace White?

White paint can be an excellent color choice for freshening up the interior of a fireplace. The light color helps reflect luminescence to make the fireplace appear brighter and more open.

When selecting white high heat paint for a fireplace interior, opt for a flat, matte or eggshell finish. High gloss white paint will showcase imperfections and can cause annoying glare when the fireplace is in use.

Semi-gloss, satin or aluminum heat resistant paints are also options that provide a bit of sheen while avoiding excessive glare.

Be aware that no white paint will stay bright white for long once exposed to fireplace conditions. Expect the paint to take on a toasted or aged look with use. Touches ups in high heat areas may be needed.

Can You Paint the Metal Inside a Fireplace?

Metal elements like the firebox, damper, steel doors and metal smoke chambers can all be painted using specially formulated high temperature metal paints:

  • Clean Metal Properly First – Remove all rust, soot and grease residue prior to painting metal fireplace parts.
  • Primer – Use a high heat metal primer specifically rated for temperatures exceeding 500°F. Allow primer to fully cure.
  • Metal Paint – Apply two coats of rust-inhibiting high heat stove, grill or bbq paint rated for 1200°F or above.
  • Allow proper drying time between coats. High heat spray paints simplify application on metal.
  • Matte Finish – Opt for a flat or matte finish paint rated for higher temperatures. High gloss can cause drips from radiant heat.
  • Re-painting – Expect to have to reapply high heat metal paint periodically as the paint can wear faster under extreme fireplace conditions.

Properly prepping and priming the metal first will allow the high heat paint to adhere best for longer-lasting results.

How to Prepare a Fireplace for Painting

Proper prep work before painting a fireplace interior is crucial for getting a long-lasting finish. Follow these steps:

Clean Surface Thoroughly

  • Remove all soot, grease residue, cobwebs and grime from the fireplace interior using TSP cleaner, a degreaser or diluted bleach solution.
  • For stone or brick, a stiff wire brush helps scrub away any deposit buildup.
  • Clean all dust and debris with a vacuum and damp cloths. Let surface dry completely.

Scrape Off Any Loose Paint

  • If the fireplace surface was painted before, scrape and sand away any loose, cracked or peeling sections.
  • Feather out edges of existing paint. Wipe away sanding residue.

Repair Major Flaws

  • Use high heat caulk rated for over 500°F to patch cracks or gaps.
  • Fill indentations with high temp mortar or patching compound. Let repairs cure fully.
  • A high heat primer/sealer can help cover repaired spots and uneven areas.

Mask Off Areas Not Being Painted

  • Use painter’s tape to mask off any portions you don’t want painted such as fronts, doors or screens.
  • Mask the termination points of the new paint so transitions are straight.
  • Place drop cloths to protect nearby floors and surfaces.

Thorough prep removes any barriers to the paint adhering well. Taking time to properly prep leads to a more uniform, longer-lasting finish.

How to Paint a Fireplace Interior

Follow these tips when applying high temperature paint:

Only Use High Heat Paint

  • Do not use regular paints or they will inevitably peel – stick to paints rated for 300°F minimum, ideally 500-1200°F.
  • Water-based latex high heat paints are preferred as oil-based can be a fire hazard.

Apply in Thin Coats

  • High heat paints are thicker than regular paints. Applying too thick of a coat can lead to drips, unevenness and poor adhesion.
  • Use a high density foam roller and apply multiple thin coats for a smooth finish.
  • Let each coat fully dry before adding another coat. 3-4 thin coats are ideal.

Follow Safety Precautions

  • Turn off pilot lights and allow components to cool before painting near gas fireplaces.
  • Wear a safety mask to avoid inhaling paint fumes.
  • Have proper ventilation in the painting area.
  • Keep an eye on the clock – some high heat paints have short working times.

Expect to Reapply Periodically

  • While high quality high temp paint should outperform regular paint, periodic touch ups may still be needed as paint can gradually break down from extreme heat.

Heat Resistant Paint Color Options

While lighter whites and off-whites are popular choices, today’s high temperature paints offer a range of colors:


  • High heat black paint can disguise soot stains on brick or stone.
  • Use a matte finish to avoid glare.
  • Can provide an elegant, sophisticated look.


  • Light airy grays help enlarge a space visually.
  • Dark charcoal grays provide contrast on light brick.
  • Look for grays without blue/green undertones.


  • Work well with brick fireplaces to enhance the existing red hues.
  • Avoid bright reds and stick with muted earthy tones.


  • From light sky blue to bold navy, blue creates a cool, breezy feel.
  • Ensure paint has a high heat rating as blue pigments can fade.


  • Sage, olive and forest greens complement natural materials.
  • Avoid primary greens, which can discolor from heat. Muted greens withstand heat better.


  • Warm shades like yellow, gold and orange bring brightness.
  • Use as an accent or limit to small doses, as warm shades advance visually.

Metallic Paints

  • Specialty high heat metallic paints add a contemporary, sleek look.
  • Silver, gold, copper and brass tones create flair.
  • Prone to scratching, so use with care.

How Long Does Fireplace Paint Last?

On average, fireplace paints last 1-3 years before needing touch ups or reapplication. However, longevity depends on:

  • Quality of paint – better high heat paints last longer. Cheap paints won’t endure.
  • Frequency/intensity of fires – occasional low fires mean less paint degradation.
  • Placement of paint – paint closer to direct flames wears faster.
  • Surface prep – proper prep leads to better adhesion and durability.
  • Color choice – lighter colors reflect heat better than darker hues.

With proper prep and using the best quality high temp paint, results can potentially last 5+ years in low-use fireplaces. More frequent repainting is needed for heavily used fireplaces.

Can You Use High Heat Spray Paint?

High heat spray paint is a good option for painting fireplace interiors, providing convenience and an even application:

Ease of Use

  • Spray paint is simpler than applying high temp paint by brush. The sprayer does the work!
  • Gets into crevices and coats uneven surfaces evenly. Ideal for textured brick or stone.

Dries Quickly

  • High heat spray paint dries in 15 minutes or less between coats.
  • Allows for multiple coats in a short time period.

Provides Smooth Finish

  • Spraying creates a more uniform look without the brush marks of rolled paint.
  • Results in a clean, professional finish.

Temperature Resistant Formulas

  • Look for high heat spray paints rated for 1200°F or higher temperatures.
  • Rustoleum, Krylon and Stove Bright offer heat resistant spray paint.


  • Avoid using spray paint near any source of ignition like gas fireplaces.
  • Wear an approved respirator mask to prevent inhaling spray fumes.

Tips for Maintaining Paint Inside a Fireplace

To make your high temperature fireplace paint last as long as possible:

  • Let paint fully cure for at least 72 hours before using fireplace.
  • Avoid big, roaring fires at first – slowly increase heat exposure to cure paint.
  • Keep fires smaller and don’t let them directly contact painted surfaces.
  • Have your chimney cleaned regularly to reduce creosote buildup which stains walls.
  • Use metal grates or tempered glass screens to shield walls from embers.
  • Gently dust walls with a soft brush instead of harsh scrubbing.
  • Apply fresh coats as soon as any bubbling or peeling appears, to prevent damage.

Proper paint maintenance keeps your fireplace looking freshly painted for as long as possible.

Safety Tips for Painting a Fireplace

Painting a fireplace involves health considerations and fire hazards. Keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Turn off any pilot light and allow the fireplace to fully cool before painting.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Wear protective equipment like a respirator mask, gloves, and goggles.
  • Avoid any ignition sources like cigarettes near paints and solvents.
  • Purchase the smallest quantity of paint needed to limit leftovers. Properly store and dispose of paints.
  • Check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper usage, drying times, and any age or ventilation restrictions.
  • Be aware of the emergency steps if a high heat paint does catch fire. Have an extinguisher on hand.

With vigilance and care, painting your fireplace can renew its appearance while still allowing for safe fireplace operation.

Summary of Painting a Fireplace Interior

  • Use high temperature paints rated for 500°F+ temperatures
  • Prep surface thoroughly – clean, scrape, sand, repair, prime
  • Opt for flat finishes to avoid glare
  • Apply multiple thin coats of latex acrylic paint for best adhesion
  • Expect to reapply paint periodically as high heat degrades it faster
  • Allow proper drying time before use
  • Slowly increase heat exposure to cure paint initially
  • Take appropriate safety precautions for fire and fumes

Painting the inside of a fireplace takes some extra consideration but is a worthwhile project for refreshing the space. With the right high quality heat resistant paint and proper preparation, you can give your fireplace interior a makeover while still using it safely for cozy fires.

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