How to seal a brick hearth

Updated April 17, 2017

A brick fireplace hearth can give your room a stylish and rustic look, but you’ll need to maintain the bricks to keep them looking smart. Household bricks are porous and quickly absorb water and other liquids. A spilled glass of wine or cup of coffee will therefore seep into the brick and badly stain your hearth. You can protect your hearth from spillages by treating the bricks with a deep-penetrating acrylic-based interior brick sealant. This dries to form a protective barrier that repels water and other liquids so that you can easily clean spillages from the surface of the brick and avoid staining.

Remove all dust and ash from the brick hearth with a dustpan and stiff brush.

Wipe over the brickwork with a damp, clean cloth. Don’t use too much water because this can produce watermark stains on the bricks. Wait for the brickwork to dry properly.

Open all windows in the room to provide adequate ventilation while you’re applying the sealant. This removes fumes and also helps the sealant to dry.

Put on the protective wear suggested by the sealant manufacturer. This usually includes protective gloves, eyewear and a face mask, but check the sealant’s user safety instructions before you start the job.

Pour the brick sealant from the container into a paint can or suitable plastic pot. Test a small amount of the sealant on an unobtrusive area of the hearth to ensure that it doesn't stain or damage the brick.

Apply the sealant to the bricks, carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions. In most cases, you can apply the sealant with a standard 50-ml/2-inch paintbrush or medium-nap paint roller. Use a stippling action on rough brick surfaces to ensure that you get the sealant into all crevices and cracks. Wait for the first coat of sealant to dry. Depending on the type of sealant, you might need to apply a second or third coat. Again, check the manufacturer’s instructions for details.


Select a “same day” sealant if you want the treatment to dry quickly. You can choose from brick sealants that provide a range of finishes, from plain matte to high gloss.


Always check the manufacturer’s instructions and user guide before applying sealant to any surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Dustpan and stiff brush
  • Clean cloth
  • Protective clothing
  • Brick sealant
  • Paintbrush or paint roller
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About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.