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What kind of paint to use on the inside of a fireplace

Updated February 21, 2017

There is comfort in the glow of a warm fire on a cold winter's night. The flames are even brighter against a contrasting black background. To enhance the experience, apply a coat of paint to the firebox every two years. This process requires a special paint formulated to be heat-resistant and nontoxic.

Brick-Lined Wood-Burning Fireplaces

The firebox of a wood-burning fireplace is usually brick-lined. In this type of application, a paint must be capable of concealing creosote and soot stains and of withstanding extreme temperatures without peeling, blistering or cracking. Brick-anew.com recommends a flat black, heat-resistant paint that will withstand temperatures up to 649 degrees Celsius. Such paints may contain silicone resins.

The Metal-Lined Wood Burning Fireplace

Some newer fireboxes that burn wood are metal-lined. This type of fireplace requires a heat-resistant paint with a high adhesion capability designed to stick to metal surfaces with various substrates. There are some coatings that require too much equipment and protective gear for the do-it-yourselfer to use safely. Finishing.com recommends stove paint, is often used on wood burning stoves. This product is best suited to the amateur and does not require special tools for application.

The Gas Fireplace

Creosote and ash are not present in gas fireplaces. Most of these metal-lined appliances suffer paint loss due to repeated use and require touch-ups to regain the pristine black found in a new firebox. A gas appliance touch-up paint has the proper formula for this application and is available at retailers selling gas fireplaces and inserts.

Other Fireplace Products

Other fireplace products are available to keep the outside of your fireplace looking new. Look in stores featuring fireplace equipment for brick patching compound, hearth cleaner, formulations for the cleaning of fireplace grates as well as paste and liquid polishes to enhance the shine on fireplace doors.

Safety First

Whatever the product used, the homeowner must be aware of the hazards involved in fireplace restoration. Paint should never be applied to a warm surface. The woodbox area should be free of ash and stone cold before any product is applied. Reading the label and respecting the hazard symbols on the can will ensure that the proper product is safely applied. Rubber gloves, a face mask and protective clothing will prevent the inhalation of or contact with soot, ash or creosote that may remain in the chimney flue.

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About the Author

Kevin Ann Reinhart, a retired teacher-librarian, has written professionally since 1976. Reinhart first published in "Writers' Undercover" Cambridge Writers Collective II. She has a bachelor's degree in English and religious studies from the University of Waterloo and a librarian specialist certificate from Queen's University and the University of Toronto.