How to paint brass trim for a fireplace

ancient decorative fireplace image by Aleksandr Lobanov from

Brass trim was once the standard choice in homes for everything from light fixtures to fireplace trim. Today's home builders install the more popular nickel or bronze fixtures and hardware, so brass is no longer considered as stylish as it once was.

Homeowners can easily replace most outdated brass fixtures in existing homes, but fireplace trim is difficult to remove and replace. But it can still be updated with the application of a special heatproof spray paint for a modern appearance.

Mix the trisodium phosphate solution according to the label's directions. Wipe the brass trim clean to remove any dirt and soot. Dry with a clean cloth.

Sand the brass trim to roughen the outer surface so the paint will adhere. Brass trim often has a shiny outer coating that makes paint adhesion difficult if not sanded. Wipe the trim with a slightly damp cloth to remove all traces of sanding dust. Wipe dry with a separate lint-free cloth.

Apply the self-adhering plastic dust sheets to all surrounding areas. Self-adhering dust sheets have painter's tape on one or more edges, but use additional painter's tape to help hold the plastic dust sheets in place, especially on vertical surfaces. Use as many self-adhering plastic drop clothes as needed to thoroughly cover the floor, the fireplace mantel and even walls where necessary.

Put on the dust mask. Spray-paints are easily inhaled because of the paint mist that drifts during application.

Apply the heatproof spray primer according to the manufacturer's instructions and allow to dry for the time specified on the label.

Follow all directions on the heatproof spray-paint, including shaking the can for the amount of time for proper mixing. Spray a light coat of paint on the brass trim. Several thin coats of paint give better results than one or two thick coats of spray-paint. Let each coat dry before applying the next. Remove the painter's tape and dust sheets after the final coat of paint.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for curing the paint. The curing process sometimes involves heating the paint for a specified amount of time.