Can I paint a gray stone fireplace?

Updated February 21, 2017

Your den or family room's fireplace has seen better days. The fireplace is full of soot and just plain unattractive. You have been wondering whether you can paint the grey stone fireplace. Yes, you can. Like other surfaces in your home, some preparation must be done first -- cleaning the fireplace and priming the stone. Once the preparation is complete, latex paint or a tinted masonry sealer can be applied.


Before painting your grey stone fireplace, clear off any accessories from the mantel and remove any racks, wood and other objects from inside. Then wipe down the stone with a clean rag or towel to remove any loose dirt or dust. Wear rubber gloves and a face mask. Next, wash the fireplace with trisodium phosphate or a solution of ammonia and water to remove any soot. Do not use an abrasive scrub pad or rag -- this will cause scratches to appear on the stone. Rinse the grey stone with clean water at least twice.

Let the stone fireplace dry for two days. Then wipe the stone with a dry cloth or towel to remove any remaining residue.

Applying a Masonry Primer & Paint

After the fireplace is dry, apply three coats of masonry primer to the stone. Masonry primer is found at hardware and home improvement stores. Follow any and all directions and recommendations on the primer's container. After the primer has dried, apply two coats of latex paint or a tinted masonry sealer to the grey stone fireplace.

Be aware that latex paint can withstand temperatures of up to 93.3 degrees Celsius, so this paint can be applied only to the outside of the fireplace.

Do not paint inside of the fireplace with latex paint or a tinted masonry sealer. The heat will dissolve it. If you do want to paint the inside of your fireplace, buy a paint that can withstand high temperatures. This paint will be expensive, and time-consuming to apply.


If your grey stone fireplace contains any caked-on paint or substances, use a dull putty knife to scrape it off. Work slowly so you don't scratch the stone. If the fireplace has been previously painted, use a liquid paint stripper to remove the old paint. Do not use flame tools or a acid to remove the paint from the stone. If using a liquid stripper, work in sections and make sure you wear goggles and follow the directions and recommendations on the paint stripper's container.

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About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.