Marble fireplaces give living spaces a classic aesthetic. However, over time, a marble fireplace can lose its glossy sheen, looking dingy and worn. If your marble fireplace has lost its luster, you can restore the room's style with a sleek, contemporary paint job. A bold accent color can transform the dull, old marble fireplace into a fresh focal point for the room. To achieve a stylish result, you just need to follow a few basic steps for painting the marble.
Lay a drop cloth or tarp around the fireplace's base, as recommended by Monster Guide, to protect your floor. It's important to lay down the protective cloth or tarp right away, long before you begin painting, because soot and ash can sometimes fall onto the floor as you sand and clean the marble fireplace.
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Sand the fireplace's exterior surfaces. This is especially important for marble fireplaces, since marble is usually coated in slick gloss, making painting difficult. You need to scuff up the surface with heavy 36-grit sandpaper. You'll only need to scuff up the exterior surfaces of the fireplace and the mantel. It isn't advisable or necessary to paint the fireplace's interior unless the fireplace is unused. If you use your fireplace, the marble's glossy coating will actually help extend the life of the fireplace's interior. Furthermore, the interior generally becomes blackened over time, and the interior color is immaterial.
Clean the fireplace's exterior surfaces using soap, water and a rag. Even if the marble looks clean, chances are there is hidden ash, dirt, soot and sanding dust on some areas.
Dry the surface with a clean towel.
Apply painter's tape to the edges of the fireplace, protecting the wall from accidental paint splatter.
Apply general purpose primer to the marble surface using a regular-bristled paintbrush.
Wait at least 1 hour for the primer to dry.
Paint the surface using latex paint and a paintbrush.
Apply a second coat of latex paint after 15 minutes.
Wait at least a full 24 hours before removing the painter's tape and using the fireplace.