Painting Interior Brick

An easy way to put new life into a dingy fireplace or brick wall is by using paint. Painting interior brick is an easy project requiring a little patience and a few materials.

These ideas can be used to add a little pizazz to all interior brick surfaces, including painting a brick fire place. The particular steps you use will depend on the cleanliness and condition of the brick and mortar.

Steps Needed for Painting Interior Brick

Brick fireplace painted along with a wood mantle and shelve.The first step involved when painting brick is cleanliness and evaluating the condition of the brick and mortar. A basic cleaning can be removing any dust or washing. Also, the condition of the brick or mortar can affect the amount or type of cleaning that is necessary.

Most interior brick surfaces I run into are in good shape and have only collected dust. A vacuum can be used to remove heavy deposits of dust or you can use a stiff duster brush while checking the mortar for cracks or large holes that can’t be filled with primer and paint.

Clean Before Painting Interior Brick

TSP is the best cleaner but requires extensive rinsing. Allow the brick to dry for a minimum of 12 hours before priming.

  • Soot from a Fireplace – Small amounts of soot isn’t a problem and can be sealed with a good primer. Heavier deposits of soot will need to be removed by using mild soap or TSP, trisodium phosphate, and water.
  • Powdery Deposits – Efflorescent deposits will need a little washing before continuing to the next step. Light amounts of powder can be sealed with the primer but washing is a good way of making sure the primer has a firm foundation. Don’t be surprised if a little efflorescent residue still remains. This is OK; the primer will take care of it.

Brick and Mortar Repair

After cleaning, the mortar can be repaired and all holes or cracks filled. There are various products that can be used; they include light weight spackling paste for small holes, regular caulking for small to medium cracks or textured caulking that simulates mortar for large repairs. Finish all of the needed repairs before continuing to the next step.

Priming and Painting Interior Brick

Priming interior brick-cut in with brush.Priming and painting interior brick is really straight forward, although a little intensive. First is your choice of primer and paint. A 100% acrylic universal primer is a good choice.

Pick one that dries fast and allows quick application of the finish paint. Many dry to recoat within 1 hour with favorable drying conditions.

Next is the type of paint to use. You have a large amount of paint types and sheens to choose from. Painting interior brick will take more time and effort than an ordinary wall. Plus, you will be in close proximity to the paint and its fumes.
Fireplace brick being primed.For these reasons water based paint should be used. Quality interior 100% acrylic paint will be the easiest to use and has a low odor. Oil based paint can be used, but it will not provide any real benefits over a good acrylic.

The amount of primer and paint needed to paint brick is a bit higher than a normal wall.

Figure about 250 sq/ft per gallon. The actual amount needed is affected by the condition of the brick and mortar, its porosity, plus the actual color and the possibility that a second coat may be needed.

For dark or intense paint colors, have the primer tinted to 50% of the final finish color. Some primer manufactures have deep tone bases that allow their primer to be tinted too a wide variety of colors.

The Application of The Primer and Paint Is The Same

Now you have primer and paint, but how do you use it? Personally, I think painting interior brick is best done with a brush and roller, save the sprayer for other projects. A 2-1/2 inch brush and a 3/4 inch lamb’s wool roller will work great. Choose a roller length or size that is easy for you to use, 6 or 9 inch or even a weenie roller.

  • Work in sections from the top down. Choose a section size that is comfortable for you. Don’t try to do too much to fast. Paying attention to your work in more important than speed.
  • Use the roller first. Work the primer or paint in all directions trying to cover as much brick and mortar as possible. The roller can push the primer or paint into large pores or small holes on the face of the brick but can’t adequately fill all of the mortar.
  • Use the brush to fill in the mortar and to pick up any runs or drips. Pay attention to the corners of the brick, this is where most runs will occur.


Painting interior brick is easy but it’s also tedious. Working with sections will let you glance back at previously painted areas and catch any drips that have developed plus quickly touch-up any thin areas.

If you have an article that you would like to publish, then you may submit an article and it will be listed on this site.


  1. Chris

    Really need some advice! I’ve painted the inside of my brick porch with white emulsion but now a few days on, it smells really bad. I’ve no idea why or how

    • Open up any windows and air out the porch for a few days. This extra curing time might help. Did the paint used smell off, rotten or musty? If the smell doesn’t go away in a few days then repainting might be needed, this time a odor/stain blocking primer then different paint.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>