Outdated brick can be updated by adding paint and glaze to a fireplace—a much cheaper option than remodeling. Fireplaces can be changed from fire engine red to a linen white, and glazed for an additional primitive look. Change the look of an entire room by updating the overall coloration of a fireplace's brick. Always remove all dirt and debris from the brick prior to painting to ensure proper paint adhesion.
Decide what color to paint the brick. Flip through magazines or use fabrics in the room for inspiration. Purchase the paint in a satin or gloss sheen. Use oil-based paint if the fireplace will be used throughout the year or water based paint if only used occasionally. Remember that 400 square feet of surface can be covered with 1 gallon of paint.
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all dirt, dust and debris from the surface. Use a wire bristle brush to get rid of any loose grout or mortar pieces. Fill a bucket with water and a small amount of soap to clean soot and additional dirt from the surface. Allow to dry 24 to 48 hours. If the brick feels cool to the touch, it has not dried; wait an additional 24 hours.
Fill in cracks or holes using latex paintable caulk. Add the caulk into the crevices to seal the areas. Allow to dry 24 hours.
Mask-off all areas that paint should not touch, including flooring, adjoining walls and mantle. Use 1-inch painter's tape. Burnish the edge of the tape by firmly rubbing with a plastic putty knife or fingernail. Place a drop cloth or plastic sheeting on the floor for additional protection. Ensure the drop cloth is smooth to avoid tripping.
Paint the fireplace using a miniroller. Apply the paint evenly, ensuring it is covering the entire surface. Use an old chip brush to dab paint into any areas difficult for the roller to reach. Apply a second coat if needed. Allow the newly painted surface to dry for 24 hours.
Mix together one part paint and four parts glaze. Use dark brown or black latex paint for an antiquing stain. Brush on the glaze using an old chip brush. Work in a 2-foot by 2-foot section. Wipe the glaze off with a clean rag; allow a small amount of the glaze to remain in the grout crevices and texture of the brick. Pouncing, dabbing and stippling the glaze are other ways the glaze can be manipulated. Use different tools such as sea sponges, plastic bags or crumpled up newspaper for different glazing effects. Allow to dry 24 hours.