Here's the deal, you either love painted brick or you don't. You can love raw brick & painted brick but nobody ever seems to be on the fence about painted brick, the majority of people I meet don't like it. I love it! My husband....not so much, so I waited for him to go away & got to work.
I did a lot of research on this subject. Searched the internet for hours, talked to the guy at Lowe's until I was blue in the face & he was sick of me, I even took a picture of the fireplace & uploaded it into Photoshop CS5 & did a little "what it would look like" preview for my eyes. I was ready!
You will need:
mild dish soap
1 gallon of an OIL-based primer paint in white
1 gallon of ACRYLIC flat paint in color of your choice
2" or 3" thick nap paint roller
drop-cloths or plastic
Fill up your bucket with some hot water, add a few drops of the dish soap & swish it around. There is no need to have the rag or brick soaking wet when you are doing this., brick is porous & you must give it time to dry before painting it. A damp cloth will get the dust, dirt & cobwebs off & that is good enough. I did these 2 steps before I wen to bed & finished the next day, but I suggest you give the brick at least 2 hours to dry.
Get out that thick, nappy roller....coat it really well & get to work. I wasn't sure what the reasoning was behind the 3" nap roller but I get it now. Having it that thick leaves a nice texture on your brick, it makes it look "naturally painted" - if that makes sense. I liked this roller because is reminded me of sheep fur....which reminded me of yarn....which made me want to go knot....but I controlled the urge & painted on.
I made a big mistake! I ignored one huge "rule of thumb" in the painting world. WORK FROM THE TOP DOWN! NOT FROM THE BOTTOM UP :-)
This made it a little harder for me to work on the top part & I had to wait for the paint to dry a little on the bottom before I continued on.
After you roll the entire fireplace, get the brush out & dig into the grout....this is time consuming & boring but the finished product is well worth it. I found that angling the brush & dabbing worked great. Also, coat that thick with paint, it goes faster.
Not gloss or semi-gloss, you'll regret that.
It is a Velspar Acrylic paint & about $20 a can. When I first put the paint on I didn't notice a huge difference in the color of the primer & the color of the paint but as it dried I realized the primer had a "bluish" tint to it.
IMPORTANT TIP: after applying the paint in he grout with the brush you will end up with "brushstrokes" on your brick, go back over the brick with the roller to make them disappear while the paint & the roller are still sticky. You won't want those "brushstrokes" on he brick.
Was my husband happy? No, not really, he freaked a bit, we had a spat but I think it's growing on him. He's over it....like I told him, I spend 80% of my time in the kitchen.....I'm the only one that has to like it.
Final Cost: $80 for paint & supplies + $60 for some new decorations for the mantle from Marshall's