A little paint can transform a drab concrete hearth into a colorful and stylish focal point. The addition of a clear finish will extend the life of your handiwork and protect the paint from the ash and residue generated while using the fireplace. Consult a professional before attempting to paint if the hearth is damaged. Paint may not adhere to the concrete surface properly if your hearth is cracked, pitted or has a very rough and uneven texture, and you could end up with mottled and unattractive results.
Sweep the hearth thoroughly to remove any dirt or ash. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and use this mixture to scrub the hearth. The vinegar will break down and remove any greasy residue that may have built up on the hearth. Allow the area to dry completely before moving onto the next step.
Apply a layer of primer suitable for concrete with a brush or roller. Look at the back of the primer can to see if it specifically states that the primer is intended for use on concrete. Let the primer dry according to the directions on the can.
Paint the hearth with concrete-safe paint in the desired color. Allow the paint to dry completely and then apply a second coat of paint to the hearth.
Choose a clear finish that suits your personal style and decor. Clear finish is available in satin, semi-gloss and high gloss varieties. Apply three coats of finish with a paint brush, allowing each layer to dry completely between applications.