Guess Who’s Back with a Brand New Hearth

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I think I tried to tackle too much in one post and simply got overwhelmed. But I’m back and have some fun AND informative posts planned to fill you in on what I’ve been up to in my beautiful, yet humble abode.

The fireplace hearth is an area of my house I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do anything about. I thought I’d be stuck with maroon tiles in my living room for the duration of my tenure at this house, but I found a way!

Since I completed this project during the warm months, I haven’t tested its compatibility with the fireplace. Only time will tell, and I’ll be sure to post an update here once I’ve experimented some.

Now let’s get to it! When I first moved in, my fireplace looked something like this.

Fireplace before painting hearth.

Not terrible. But it certainly didn’t fit the vision I had for my living room space. So I decided since I had a gas fireplace, I could paint the bricks on the side. No wood burning=no soot to worry about.

I used leftover trim paint (Behr Premium Plus Semi-Gloss in a custom-matched color) to cover the bricks in two coats after I applied a stain-blocking primer to conceal the red.

Originally I thought that since the hearth tile was level with the hardwood, aka on the floor, I couldn’t paint it because of the foot traffic. But after about a year of living with the painted bricks and maroon hearth, I realized that no one would actually step on the hearth unless he or she were hugging the fireplace. It is a pretty awesome fireplace, but I’ve never felt inclined to hug it. So I don’t think any of my visitors would feel the need either.

Moving on to how it actually went down…

I cleaned it as best I could using a rag and some degreaser. Which reminds me of another reason I wanted to paint it. I could never get it clean! I even tried steaming it, but it still looked like it had a dirty film on it.

After it dried, I applied painter’s tape on the hardwood around the perimeter of the hearth. I didn’t want to take a chance on getting anything on my still-new-to-me floors!

Painter's tape around fireplace hearth.

Then came the primer. I used the B-I-N I had in my shed, which is the best stain-blocking primer I’ve come across. Since it’s shellac-based, it requires more than soap and water to clean the brush when you’re done.

Paint, primer, and brush to paint hearth.
I painted a few square tiles at a time, starting with the grout and then using straight, long strokes to blend in the brush marks on the face of the tile.

Half of fireplace hearth primed.

Slowly making my way across, I finished by running the brush over the entire surface from left to right.

Fireplace hearth primed.

Once the primer was dry (about an hour), I got out my trusty Titebond painter’s caulk to touch up any voids.

Titebond painter's caulk.

There was one particularly large space where the brick met the hearth on the right side. I pumped and pumped caulk in there to fill it up good. I also filled any divots in the tile to try and make everything an even surface. After the caulk dried, I added another layer to the bigger voids and let that dry.

The best part about this little after-work project? I was babysitting my little fur-brother! He was such a good boy and didn’t leave any paw prints on my freshly-painted piece of art.

Dog on rug.

Next, I got the paint brush out again and added two coats of the same semi-gloss latex I used on the bricks. Using the same method as the primer (grout first then tiles), I waited a full 24 hours before proceeding to the finishing touch—several coats of clear finish.

Here I used a water-based protective finish from Minwax.

Can of Minwax Polycrylic finish.

Most other types of varnish can cause the white to yellow. And I certainly didn’t want anything to ruin my good time! Especially after waiting so long to start this project.

I layered the finish on in three coats to be extra cautious, letting it dry 24 hours between each coat. After the third coat had been on for an hour or so, I pulled up the painter’s tape.

Removing painter's tape around hearth.

There was a little paint that had seeped through onto the hardwood, but it came off easily with a little nail scratching.

Finished painted fireplace hearth.

Then I stepped back and admired my handiwork and sighed a sigh of relief and joy. Now that’s a fireplace! It looks so much more refreshing and happy. Yes, a fireplace can look happy!

Painted fireplace and hearth.

Has anyone dared to paint their fireplace? How’d it go? Did anything go wrong? Post in the comments below!

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Chelsea Lipford Wolf is a born-and-raised home enthusiast, adding her crafty skills and passion for DIY to Today’s Homeowner Media as co-host of the top-rated, nationally syndicated “Today’s Homeowner” TV Show. In addition, Chelsea maintains her own home lifestyle and décor blog and award-winning web-series, Chelsea Lipford Wolf is a born-and-raised home enthusiast, adding her crafty skills and passion for DIY to Today’s Homeowner Media as co-host of the top-rated, nationally syndicated “Today’s Homeowner” TV Show. In addition, Chelsea maintains her own home lifestyle and décor blog and award-winning web-series, ”Checking In With Chelsea.”


  1. I’m wondering if you can comment now on the durability of the painted hearth surface?

    We just converted our wood burning fireplace to gas and had a gas insert installed. I’m contemplating painting the tile surface of the hearth, but have some concerns about the heat from the insert. I realize you won’t have the same issues (our insert is designed to heat the better part of our house, has a blower that pushes heat into the room. Minimum clearance allowed to our wood mantel above is 15″ and the hearth is about 12″ below the insert flame floor.

    In some instances I’ve noticed the tiles do get quite warm/hot to the touch. I’m not concerned about combustion of the paint on tile, but about durability under these conditions.

    Any light you can shed from experience with yours would be appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Marta!

      I have not had ANY issues with the paint durability due to heat from the gas fireplace. The only very minor issue I’ve had is on the floor where there were some existing bumps on the tile before I painted. The bump has been knocked off and now there is a void in the paint. But that’s painter error! Keep me posted on how your project turns out! Thanks, Chelsea

    • Hi Debby,

      I did not use steel wool or any sandpaper to the best of my recollection. But if you wanted to do so, I’d recommend 220-grit sandpaper to knock down any layer of gloss or grime before applying a quality primer. Hope that helps your project! ~Chelsea

  2. HI! I am a couple years behind this post! I have concrete ‘blocks’- look like stepping stones almost- adhered to the top of my brick hearth . My hearth is not flat like yours on the floor, but one of the built up ones. I still wanted something to look similar to stone on top of the brick. My fireplace is gas as well. The only place it gets really hot is right in the middle, so that part of the concrete stone gets hot. Do you think the products you used will be ok? Yours looks amazing by the way! Thank you!

    • Hi, Marti Jo,
      We’re glad you enjoyed this project, and great question!
      We have forwarded it to the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show’s producer.
      He will contact you soon to discuss featuring it during an upcoming show.
      Take care!

  3. Hi – Im late to this party too. Our home has gas logs and we want to paint the stone surround and raised hearth/ledge. We are concerned about combustability. Certainly don’t want to burn down our 1 year old home. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi, Karen,
      That’s an interesting issue, and hasn’t covered it.
      Would you like it to be considered as a question for our radio show?
      Take care!

  4. Hi. I have the same exact question as Karen. Can you please forward my question to the Todays Homeowners producer too. Thank you !!!

    • Hi, Darcy,
      It’s best to get advice directly from Danny and Joe on The Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.
      Would you like your question to be considered as a question for our radio show?
      We would just need to confirm availability when we record the show. 🙂

  5. Luv the creative idea u had with singing the hearth of ur fireplace! I ordered natural stalked veneer stone panel to be installed over the intact old brick that’s currently around my gas fireplace insert. My first question is, can in adhere the stone panels directly over the existing brick, OR should I put hard cement board over the bricks then adhere my new stone panels over the cement board?
    My second question is, I was thinking of painting my 11 foot hearth (with a 3 inch width lip) to match one of the light gray colors in the stone Panel. Then to tie everything together, I was going to cut/fit pieces of the the natural stone panel (same stone that’s around fireplace), and install those fitted pieces along the 3 inch lip that extends the 11 foot length of the hearth. Do u think by painting the top of hearth, it’ll cheapen the look? If so, the other option may be to put a blue stone or tile over the hearth—and I could still put the new stone veneer over the 3 inch lip to tie it in w/ fireplace🤔. I welcome all the help & feedback I can get!


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