Author Topic: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?  (Read 2626 times)

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Offline mannyrock

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Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« on: June 30, 2013, 07:29:14 AM »
Dear Guys,


   Now that you have all helped me to get my roof fixed, I am turning my attention to my indoor problems.


  I have a ranch style house, that is only 24 feet wide.  An interior load bearing wall runs right down the center of it.  On one side of this wall is a 3 foot hall way.  On the other side of this wall, the fireplace sits, with the rear of the fireplace against the wall, and front of the fireplace and hearth facing outward into my "living room." 


    Because the fireplace is four feet wide (along its sides) and there is a brick hearth sticking out 18 inches in front of the face of the fireplace, the fireplace and hearth jut out five and a half feet into my living room.  Since the living room was only  thirteen and a half feet wide to begin with (being the distance between the front of the load bearing wall and the inside face of the front wall of the house itself), this leaves barely eight feet of width to my living room.


   The fireplace and hearth are a nice red brick, mixed colors, and nicely tucked.  But they stick out right there in the living room like a big red elephant in your lap.   The floors are beautifully finished yellow pine, random width, high gloss.  People often remark, after looking at my living room, that my house looks more like a cabin than a house.  (Not the look I'm really going for.)


     Another factor is that the prior owners had lots of big time fires in the fireplace, with a very cheap brass front and glass.  As a result, there is an area of about a foot above the fireplace opening, where the red brick is stained with soot and scorch marks.


   I am thinking that maybe, I should just yank out the old fireplace insert, take a wire brush and scrub the top layer of the soot and scorch marks off the face of the bricks, and them paint the whole fireplace and hearth white, or off-white.   This would make the thing blend backwards, more like part of the wall, and not dominate the small living room.  I would then install one of the fake electric fireplace units, that has the fake flames.  No more real fires.


   Has anybody ever painted a fireplace before?   Is there a special paint?  Any big do's and don'ts?  I guess I'll have to cap off the flues at the top of the chimney with sheet aluminum, so that no more rain or moisture comes down the chimney and leeches through the face of the brick?


   I know that once its painted, its forever and that I can never go back to the red brick.  But that is OK. 


  I am trying to go for an "English Country House" look, with small rooms, colonial colors, and chair-railing. Not a weekend cabin look.


  As always, thanks for all comments and advice.


Mannyrock


   






Offline Oldshooter

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Re: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2013, 07:56:52 AM »
Hey Manny, if you plan to use that fireplace again "white" is not a color I would use. You just thought you had soot and scorch stain before! Every fireplace I have ever seen that had light color stone or brick had the stains and scorch marks evident. I'm sure the brick can be painted but I wouldn't go light if it were mine. I'm guessing loosing the fireplace is not an option.
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Offline mannyrock

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Re: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2013, 08:03:46 AM »
  Yes, those scorch marks need some real attention.  A couple of sources I've consulted said they must be removed 100% before priming.   Start with soap and water and scrub brush, them move to white vinegar and scrub brush.  Never tried this before, but hoping for any extra tips on this.


  Once painted, there will be no further fires, so not worried about future scorch marks.


  Thanks, Mannyrock

Offline geezerbiker

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Re: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2013, 02:31:58 PM »
Have you considered a natural gas or propane insert?  It would give you more heat for less money than electric...

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Offline FPH

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Re: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2013, 03:09:28 PM »
I would start out cleaning with warm soap and water.  I would finish with a mild myreatic acid solution.  Then  a coat of Kilz followed by two coats of an elastic paint.

Offline Old Syko

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Re: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2013, 03:37:02 PM »
Have a guy here that specializes in soda blasting.  He seals the area up solid and leaves no mess.  When he's done the fireplace looks like new or better.  I have no idea the cost but have seen the end result and it's fantastic.  To paint once he's done would be cake.

Offline Bugflipper

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Re: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2013, 04:14:38 PM »
Manny if you need a harsher cleaner than vinegar, ammonia is good for soot. If that's not strong enough folks reccomend TSP. I've never used it so I can't comment on it. The way of approaching it is to look at it like you need a degreaser but you don't want residue of a degreaser left over because you're going to paint.

I painted my mom's fireplace. It was similar to yours, out in the room instead of on a wall. We used a couple of coats of kilz then flat white interior. I can't remeber how many gallons it took but it just kept on sucking paint up. I think that elastic paint FPH suggested would be good. On theirs they put the satelite receiver in the brass insert part and a flat screen on the chimney. The flat white paint was a bad idea because cobwebs cling to that really good. Gloss would have been a whole lot easier to clean. Theirs was a rock chimney with a whole lot of mortar so brick may not give as much surface area for cobwebs.
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Offline hunt-m-up

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Re: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2013, 06:38:30 PM »
Start with soap and water, but don't be afraid to go with the muriatic acid. It's been awhile since I've used it, but if I remember right it can really stink the place up so do it with the windows open. The acid will also etch the surface so the primer will bond better. I'd use one of the stain-hiding primers and let it sit for a day to see if any stains show through, prime it again if necessary. I've used exterior paint on interior walls that take a lot of abuse, seems to work for me. I agree you're going to want to seal the chimney tight on top, attach some steel or aluminum over the top with tap-cons into the mortar. I can understand why you want to go with a lighter color to also make the room seem bigger.
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Offline mannyrock

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Re: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2013, 04:57:35 AM »
  Thanks for all of the great advice.


  On the issue of sealing shut the chimney tops, I have read that you should form a cover out of heavy sheet aluminum, and epoxy it down on three sides.  The forth side, though, should not have the metal lip come down tight over the edge like a shoe box.  Instead, the metal should lay flat down on the top edge, and that metal edge should not be epoxied down onto the chimney. 


   The point of this seam is to allow a place for humidity and vapor to evaporate up and out of the inside of the chimney, so that it isn't trapped inside and forced to leach out through the brick.  The vast majority of the brick work of the chimney is in my attic, very very humid in summer, and in the basement, very humid when washer dryer is running.  So, humidity will be leaching from these outside areas into the brick and into the inside of the chimney.  The moisture will need a way to escape, thus the top slit vent on the flu stack.




  All comments, criticisms and observations about this are welcome.


  Thanks,


Mannyrock
 

Offline keith44

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Re: Thoughts and advice on painting fireplace and hearth?
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2013, 06:00:56 AM »
not quite the same as prepping a hearth for paint, but years ago we had a guy loose control of his car and run down the side of our bedford stone house, leaving paint, rubber marks, and scrapes all down the side of the house.  Hired a guy to soda blast it, and it looked good as new when done. 


Instead of paint you could also put in an over lay of light colored brick veneer and if you or future owners ever wanted to use the fireplace again you'd be a step ahead.
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