How to paint a fireplace surround

Updated February 21, 2017

If you want to paint a fireplace surround, consider a few important factors before starting. Because most fireplace surrounds are ill-suited for adhesion, they require special preparation. Since all surrounds are not composed of the same materials, each requires a slightly different preparation strategy. You also must choose the proper base coat, depending on the nature of the surround, or you'll end up with a finish that eventually sheds and peels.

Cover surfaces beneath the fireplace surround with fabric dust sheets.

Apply low-tack blue painter's tape to areas on and adjacent to the fireplace surround that you do not want painted.

Scour previously painted and bare fibreglass or marble fireplace surrounds with 220-grit sandpaper to encourage adhesion. Sand the surround until it feels gritty. Skip this step if the fireplace surround is bare metal, stone, concrete or wood.

Coat the fireplace surround with an acrylic latex primer, using a 7- to 10-cm (3- to 4-inch) paintbrush intended for use with water-based coatings. Apply a galvanised metal etching primer if the fireplace surround is made of metal. Wait four hours for the primed fireplace surround to dry.

Wash your brush with water.

Coat the primed fireplace surround with a semigloss or gloss acrylic latex paint. Apply paint to the fireplace surround just as you did the primer. Wait two hours for the painted fireplace surround to dry. Add another coat if you can still see the primer.


You may use a flat or satin acrylic latex paint to coat a fireplace surround. However, these paints are not as resilient to smoke stains.


Do not paint a bare fireplace surround, or the finish will peel. Do not paint over unsanded previously painted, bare fibreglass or marble fireplace surrounds, or the primer will peel.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheets
  • Blue painter's tape
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Acrylic latex primer
  • Galvanised metal etching primer
  • 7- to 10-cm (3- to 4-inch) latex paintbrush
  • Semi-gloss or gloss acrylic latex paint
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.