How to Paint a Stone Fireplace

A natural stone fireplace can be a compelling, rustic centerpiece for a room. However, if you’re looking to blend the fireplace with a different aesthetic when moving into a new home or you are simply looking for an update, try painting the fireplace to merge it with your room’s new look.

Step 1: Prepare for Painting

Prepping the stone fireplace for painting is probably the most important part of doing the job right. Remove everything from the fireplace and from around the work area, such as fireplace screens and tools, and any decorative items. Use painter’s tape to mask around the mantle or any adjacent area that you want to remain paint-free. Protect the floor around the fireplace, using drop cloths secured in place with painter’s tape.

Clean the fireplace surface with water, an all-purpose cleaner and a wire scrub brush. Let it dry completely. Look for any substantial cracks in the stones or the mortar around them. Small, hairline cracks can be painted over, but anything larger needs to be repaired before painting. Use a paintable acrylic latex caulk to fill the cracks. Let the caulk set and dry before painting.

Step 2: Choose the Right Paint

Pick a paint that is ideal for using on stone. It is recommended that you use latex paint, which is more durable on stone, and sports better fade resistance, flexibility, and adhesion. To get the best results when you’re painting stone, brick or other “rough” surfaces, first prime the surface with True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer, then paint with True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Exterior Masonry/Stucco Paint.

Step 3: Prime and Paint the Fireplace

To paint a stone fireplace, you need to use paint applicators applicable to the job. Paint rollers make excellent priming and painting tools, especially on walls made of rough exteriors such as brick or stone, which can be difficult to cover completely. When painting a smooth surface such as a wall, most roller covers would work. However, with an uneven, rough surface such as stone, a roller cover with a nap of at least one inch is necessary. In addition, use a heavy duty, 5-wire roller frame for maximum strength. Plastic roller frames can bend or break from the extra force you will apply to get paint into all crevices and pores. For brushwork, use professional-grade paintbrushes with wood handles and synthetic bristles. These provide the best results when using latex paint. Purchase different sizes of brushes for the job. Choose a small (1″) angled brush for small, tight crevices; a medium-size, angled brush (2″) for cutting in; and a large-size brush (3″+) for general painting.

Helpful Tip

When using a paintbrush, don’t use excess paint to get into pores and crevices. Wiggle the brush up and down and back and forth to push the paint in.

Before painting, apply True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Exterior Primer/Sealer. This seals porous surface material so the topcoat won’t soak in and dry unevenly. It also helps prevent peeling, rusting and bleed-through. Pour primer into a paint tray and coat your roller. Follow the top-down rule—work from the top to the bottom to get the most even coverage. Use brushes for cutting in and getting into tight spaces. Let the primer dry completely before starting to paint.

When you’re ready to paint, pour True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Exterior Masonry/Stucco Paint into a paint tray and coat your roller. Again, follow the top-down rule. Use brushes where you can’t use a roller. When you’re done, go over the paint surface with a roller to balance coverage. Use two coats for optimal results.

Step 4: Clean Up

You’re almost done; you just need to clean up your workspace. Close up your paint cans and dispose of used cans appropriately. Cleaning paintbrushes and other tools can be made easy with warm, soapy water. Thoroughly rinse your roller covers and brushes in water until the water runs clear. Pick up drop cloths carefully, making sure you don’t spread around any paint that may have gotten on them. Next, remove painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid removing any fresh paint. Remember that the longer it stays on, the harder it is to remove.

All done! You’ve updated your stone fireplace with a little sweat and a whole lot of color.

Project Shopping List

Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.