How to paint a wood fireplace surround

In this post, I am going to share how to paint a wood fireplace surround. I originally painted my wooden fireplace surround in 2015, and I recently changed up my living room and gave it a fresh lick of paint.

My living room used to be so dull until I tackled the job of painting the fireplace. I updated this old blog post, and I re-edited to add in some new photos. I left in the old ones for you to have a look at the before pics.

The fireplace is the focal point of my living room. So, when it was pine, it made the room look small and dull. It took me about two days to complete the paint job. It is over six years since I painted it and I can happily report that it is still perfect and I have had no chips or flakes. You can scroll below for how I have done it.

How to paint your fireplace

Before I Painted My Pine Fire Surround 

As you can see, it was an orange pine colour. However, the fireplace itself was in fantastic condition so, it would have been a shame not to save it.

I recently gave my living room an update by adding in Ikea bookcases to my alcoves. I refreshed my painted fireplace with a new shade so, it would match the Ikea cabinets.


How to paint a wood fireplace surround

Please note: These steps are for painting your fire surround and not the inside of your fireplace. 

Prep! Clean. I use a degreaser to clean my surface before painting. The paint will not stick to dirt, so always clean your project first. You can use sugar soap, Krud Kutter or a 50/50 mix of methylated spirits and water to clean your surface.

 Lightly sand. You do not need to sand your fireplace surround back bare. You only need to scuff the surface to create small scratches, as this will give the paint something to grip. A sanding block is perfect.

Prime. Apply one coat of primer. I used Colourtrend Prime 2 to prime my fireplace surround. If you have a pine fireplace surround, you will have to use a stain-blocking primer to stop the knots from bleeding. Zinnser B-I-N is a shellac-based primer that will stop knots from bleeding.

Primer gives your topcoat the perfect base to stick. If you skip this step, your paint job will not last as long and will chip. Believe me, when I say, I am speaking from experience. 

Apply your topcoat – For your topcoat, choose an indoor, heat-resistant paint, latex paint. Choose a paint that is rated to withstand temperatures generated by the fireplace (generally about 200°F). You can use satin, eggshell or a gloss finish. I used Colourtrend Cherished White, as my topcoat, and I applied two coats.

Allow enough time between coats for each coat to completely dry. Make sure to let your fireplace fully dry and cure before styling it, as you do not want your perfect paint job to chip or lift on you. 

The paint I mentioned above is for an external wooden fireplace surround and not for the interior firebox. To paint the interior of your fire or stove, you will need a specialist paint. Click here for examples. 

Living Room Wicker Log basket
How to paint a fireplace

How to paint A wood fireplace surround, FAQ’s

Can I paint my fireplace surround?

Yes, by following some simple steps and choosing the right materials and paint you can. Choose indoor, heat-resistant paint, latex paint. Choose paint that is rated to withstand temperatures generated by the fireplace (generally about 200°F). Depending on what look you want your fireplace surround to have, you can use satin, eggshell or a gloss finish. 

Do you have to prime a fireplace before painting?

Yes, there are many benefits to priming a surface before painting. Primer gives your topcoat a great base to adhere. It will also block stains from bleeding through, especially on pine surfaces. It will stop your paint job from chipping or peeling.

What kind of paint do you use on a fireplace?

Choose indoor, heat-resistant paint, latex paint for your fire surround. If you want to paint the inside of your firebox or stove, you will need a specialist paint that can withstand heat. Click here for an example. If you are unsure whether a paint can withstand heat, contact the manufacturer directly.

Can I use chalky paint on my wooden fireplace surround?

When using chalk paint, although marketed as not needing primer, you have to apply a wax or varnish to seal your chalky paint. I am not a fan of chalky paint, as it is hard to remove and paint over. However, reach out to the chalky paint manufacturer and enquire about the paint, as each paint brand and product is different.

Painted pine fireplace surround.

I hope you found this post useful, do let me know if you plan to paint your fireplace. Or, if you have already painted your fireplace, please share your pics with me over on Facebook or Instagram.

I would also love if you could share this post with someone who would enjoy it. You can add the images above to your Pinterest.
Thanks for reading, Chat soon, Catherine.

How to paint a wooden fireplace surround
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  1. Leah Monaghan
    April 1, 2021 / 3:49 pm

    Hey Catherine, thanks so much for your response, I really appreciate it! Yep it’s the surround, I will probably have to do the black part as well after but I will defo use the specialist paint you mentioned above to do that. I’m so excited to finally do it, thanks for all your YT vids and blog posts 🙂

  2. daintydressdiaries
    April 1, 2021 / 9:16 am

    Hi Leah! Best of luck with your painting this weekend. Yes, both of those paints would go well together. You can also use Zinnser, which is more expensive but a really popular primer, especially if you have knots in the wood. It is shellac-based, but I have used this with satin/eggshell and it’s given great adhesion. I haven’t used Fleetwood paints before, so I am not sure about the quality, but I am sure it would be okay for a fire surround. You ca always test an area before painting, check for bubbling and peeling after the fire has been lit. Also, it is a fire surround and not the fire?

  3. Leah
    March 31, 2021 / 3:15 pm

    Going to follow these steps over the long weekend. Thanks so much for all the information 🙂 If using a water based primer (Dulux Primer Undercoat Water Based) must I pair it with a Water Based paint E.G. the Fleetwood Water Based Eggshell in brilliant white? I can’t seem to find latex based paint. Colourtrend Cherished White seems to be water based. Finding paint that specifies heat resistant seems difficult also. I’m a complete novice, sorry if they are ridiculous questions. Thanks again for all your blogposts, they’re so helpful!

  4. daintydressdiaries
    January 14, 2021 / 5:11 pm

    Yes, they are new, I have a YouTube video and new blog post going live at 7pm sharing the new bookcases ❤️
    Thanks for reading!

  5. January 14, 2021 / 4:58 pm

    The ikea bookcases look amazing as well for display, I think you had a wall display for the tea cups before right? Either looks fab! 🥰

  6. Bryony
    December 30, 2018 / 11:35 pm

    This looks amazing! So glad I found your page as you've enthused me to do mine over the new year.

  7. Unknown
    October 18, 2018 / 10:00 pm

    Hi I have the same fireplace and thinking of painting it I have bolts in mine which are black not sure what colour to put on them going to use designer white on the rest what would you suggest thanks

  8. Unknown
    September 17, 2018 / 1:23 pm

    Could I use wood filler in the cracks of Mexican pine before I paint it?

  9. Unknown
    April 4, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    Hi….what primer would I use when painting my fireplace??

  10. Avril Delaney
    March 28, 2017 / 12:16 pm

    Hi Can I just ask you where you got all the lovely house candle holders? Thanks Avril

  11. Rae Lou B
    March 12, 2017 / 6:23 pm

    I would love to do this to my pine fireplace but the previous owner waxed it. Which is seemingly impossible to get off. X

  12. Catherine Carton
    January 18, 2017 / 9:12 am

    Thanks for reading Orla x

  13. Orla McCarthy
    January 18, 2017 / 9:03 am

    Love it….and love this page!

  14. Catherine Carton
    January 17, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    Good luck with yours! its gonna be fab and will make a huge difference to the room. Can't wait to see it x

  15. Tara Faulkner
    January 17, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    Thanks for reposting this!!! Great tips

  16. The dainty dress diaries
    December 30, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    Aw Tessa thank you so much that so sweet of you x

  17. a writing place
    December 30, 2015 / 2:43 pm

    What you did to your fireplace, is simply fantastic. Love it!!!!Tessa on IGIn Blog Land…

  18. Carry Scanlon
    December 14, 2015 / 8:25 am

    I recently asked my husband to fix the mantle on our chimney too. Rather than buy all new accessories to showcase the location, you would be surprised how many awesome candle holders, vases, and knick-knacks you can find at year sales. A fresh coat of paint and my fireplace and mantle are the focal point of the room as a result.Carry Scanlon @ Chim Chimney

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