Making our fireplace brick red again

by Kari
The brick fireplace in our home has been painted several times. Without sandblasting or stripping how can I bring it to the classic brick red again? And, if repainting is the answer then what colors do I use?
  7 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 22, 2016
    The only way to restore your fireplace back to original is to sand blast or use a paint stripper. There is a product called Citristrip Gel which is suppose to be a lot safer for indoor use. This is available at Home Depot should you want to attempt this.
  • A.L. Chynoweth A.L. Chynoweth on Feb 22, 2016

    Dumond Chemicals is a maker/distributor of some stuff that I used more than 30 years ago to remove gunked on, caked on 1/4" thick and thicker layers of old paint from ornate hardwood carvings and trim. They have a TON of information on their website to help you figure out which formulation will best fit your needs. The only thing they probably don't supply is elbow grease, and if you're going to remove all that paint, you're going to need a barrel of it. :) There also used to be a product that was painted on what you wanted to strip, then had a fibrous pad pressed into it and left for X number of hours. When the pad was pulled off, the paint came with it. It was great stuff for detail work and would remove beau coup paint layers in a comparative hurry. I've tried my Google-foo to find it, and have failed. Maybe your "foo" is better than mine. On the other hand, painting that brick to look like brick again is probably going to involve an INCREDIBLE amount of fussy, time consuming detail painting. It will also probably not give you the look you're hoping for. I don't think I'd want to sandblast inside of a house, especially if I was going to have to live in the structure while it was being done. If sanding drywall/plaster and spraying paint on interior walls leaves a ton of microfine powder EVERYWHERE to hopefully sweep or vacuum up, picking sandblasting grit out of everything doesn't sound like a lot of fun, either. Any way you look at it, this isn't going to be a fast, fun "house hack". I'd look at it from the point of view of "will it be GORGEOUS when I'm done", and opt for stripping the paint.

  • The Redesign Habit The Redesign Habit on Feb 22, 2016
    What color is it now? You might be able to use a red brick paint and then use a darker gaze over that (rubbing it on like stain) and just keep kind of going back and forth between a darker red and a little lighter color to get that brick look again. Obviously it won't be the same as stripping it down but that can be a tough job for sure. Look at some brick for inspiration on color tones to use and see what you think. Going a little darker around the edges and in between will help it look more realistic. If I were you, I would try a small section and see what you think. If you don't like it, you may just have to go ahead and strip the whole thing down to the original brick. If you do like it, you could just move forward. If I were you I would also play around a little with some sample paint colors of brick red, deep orange, and maybe a yellow and mix and match trying out different combos by layering them until you find the color you like. Also adding the glaze over the top will give it more dimension and keep it from just looking painted again...good luck.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 22, 2016
    I know nothing about using chemicals to get the paint off the brick, but I will just say that it would be best not to use them in the winter when the house is so closed up. At least wait until summer when you can open windows and doors and even use a fan to blow the fumes out. Also, make sure there are no gas pilot lights near that area...don't forget the stove, oven and hot water heater! Many of these chemicals are so very harmful!
  • Maidena Maidena on Feb 22, 2016
    Faux finishing the brick with paint is the easiest way to restore brick to it's natural look. Look at a brick you like and start with the base color and work your way out with a sponge painting technique until you reach the desired effect. I've done it many times! People couldn't tell it wasn't the real deal!
  • Heather Heather on Feb 23, 2016
    While i love and use Citristrip all the time in makeovers for clients... i feel that using it on brick is almost an impossible job.. or any stripper for that matter. I would either focus on the colors you want to re-impose on the brick, and use a sponge and stippling method as mentioned above to build your textures and imitate the brick you want... or look at covering it with a panel of faux brick (available at most home improvement stores, i know Home Depot carries it for a great price). You could measure your fireplace and then have them cut it to size at the store for you. I would attach it with screws (they make screws that will drill through brick...just ask at the home improvement store) and liquid nails. If it doesn't achieve the texture you are looking for after installed, you can go through with caulk (yes caulk) and add more dimension to the "brick and grout" on the panels. it's amazing what a little extra can do to make something feel authentic! Hope that helps!!
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Mar 19, 2022

    Use a Masonary Paint or an emulsion or a Chalk paint. Base coat first in main colour then add outher colours randamly with a sponge to mimic the brick. If you want the mortar colour between bricks. use an Art brush and a Stone colour paint or whatever colour you want your mortar to be.