Painting Tile Around A Fireplace: 11 Do’s and Don’ts

A fireplace can be nice and cozy, especially on those cold nights. However, with spring on its way, perhaps it’s time you finally painted your fireplace a new color. It can be good to know what to do and what not to do when it comes to a remodel such as this. So let’s find out how to best change what you want to change.


Let’s begin with what are some good things to do when painting the tile around your fireplace a new color. These are some of the most important steps to go through in ensuring the success of your project and having a nice clean finish that will last for a while.

1: Clean Your Tiles

Sometimes to take a step forward you have to take a couple of steps backward. In this case, it may seem like a step backward but it is going to end up cleaning the tiles so there isn’t any residual debris.

A fireplace can produce a lot of smoke stains and cause a lot of other dirt to build upon the tile face and in the grout itself. By cleaning this off you can prepare the tile for a good face for the paint to stick to.

Even if you have an electric fireplace it can still get dirty from other factors as well. It is important for the overall project to step back and make sure that the tile is clean and ready for the transformation to occur.

Just remember to let the tile dry before any further step is taken. Most likely water was used to clean the tile, and if it is still wet as you try to continue the project, you may run into problems.

2: Tape Area Off

The next important thing that must be done is to tap off the area that you are wanting to paint. This is a big step in any paint job and can create nice lines that don’t go onto any surface that you don’t want to be painted.

The tape prevents any paint from going where you don’t want it. It may take some time that you don’t want to take, but it will make it easier to paint that tight corner later on in your project.

A good tape to use is scotch blue, used and made specifically for painting. This tape is recommended by professionals and will be easy to take off later on.

3: Prime The Tile

Now that the tape is applied to the nice clean surface that you want to paint, you need to prime the tile itself. This can be easy enough, but you should take your time on it. A good primed job leads to an even cleaner finished project.

Priming is needed so that the paint itself will stick better to the tile and all your hard work will last for years to come. The primer needs to be put on in a thin layer and can be important to move quickly enough due to the drying capabilities of the primer.

A good primer to use is any that deals with stain and acts as a sealer. This is a good reason why letting the tiles dry after cleaning them is important. If a sealant primer is placed over wet tiles, the moisture won’t be able to escape.

4: Let The Primer Dry

Now that the primer is applied and on, it needs to dry. The primer will seem to dry quickly, but it is suggested that you let it dry for 24 hours. This gives the primer the ability to stick to the tile and prepare the surface to have the actual paint put over it.

When the primer isn’t properly dried, there will be problems with the paint mixing the primer into the finished project and that can lead to multiple problems.

The first problem being the aesthetic appeal of the fireplace. It will not look as well done as it could have been done, perhaps even putting chunks of primer into the surface.

Secondly, it will create spaces in which there is no primer on the surface of the tile and this can cause problems with the adhesion of the paint. There can be uneven sections that will degrade faster than the rest of the finished project.

5: Paint The Tiles

With the primer dry and ready for paint to be added you are nearly completed with your renovation. Now comes the time to add the paint. This is basically just as simple as adding the primer to the original project.

It is important to remember that you will need at least two coats of paint for a nice finished project on the tile. This will give the tile a more durable coat to last longer.

Also, a good idea for the application is to use a paint roller for the larger sections. This will ensure that no brushstrokes are left visible so that the paint is smooth. A small brush can be used to get the tighter corners and edges for precision, but a roller is good for the main face of the tile itself.

Also, don’t worry too much about the grout of the tile itself. You can paint over it without a problem and if you want to paint over it later that is an option.

6: Optional: Paint The Grout

As just stated, it is optional to paint over the grout. This would give a finish to the tile that will look clean, professional, and well done. It can take time to do this by hand, but that is the best way to do it.


After reading through the things that should be done to complete your finished project it is good to know the things that shouldn’t be done. This list is of course suggestions that others have found to be problematic and helpful to know about.

7: Repainting Primer

This article briefly mentioned the idea of painting over half dry or not fully dry primer and the problems that occur because of that. But this section is actually speaking about going back over the primer with more primer within the moment that you are priming the tile.

This is due to the ability of the primer to dry quickly. The primer will become semi-sticky when it is drying and create problems if you go back to a section in this state. It will peel your primer from the tile face and create spots of blank primer and create a mess of quickly solidifying primer in the process.

To avoid this, simply make sure to prime an area well, and then move on and don’t go back to that section. This way the primer is kept fresh and will dry fully to prepare for the paint.

8: Latex Paint

It is important to use latex paint. This paint has heat resistance up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than typical in-home fireplaces get. If you are concerned about the paint around your fireplace you might consider more heat-resistant paints.

I would suggest staying away from oil-based paints as their heat resistance is not as good. Having the right paint for the job is going to give a more professional look to the fireplace as well as give it durability.

9: Rushed Paint Job

Painting is a delicate art that when done correctly can beautify and create wonders for the eyes to see. But not great paint job was done quickly. Paint needs to be applied evenly and slowly for application to be done correctly.

Rushing a paint job will leave unwanted streaks in the paint, or perhaps even missed spots that don’t look good. So, slow down and take your time on the project; you didn’t go through the trouble of changing your fireplace for it to look bad.

10: Choose The Wrong Color

An important thing to remember is to color coordinate the project so that it looks good. No matter how well you paint over the tile if it is a color that doesn’t match the fireplace appeal or the rest of the house in general then you won’t be happy with it.

Choosing the right colors gives the project the aesthetic visage that it needs to look good and blend into the home as a whole. It should be appreciated, but not stand out because of how odd it looks.

11: Painting Grout

It seemed fitting to end both sections with a part on grout and how to deal with it, as well as ways not to deal with it.

Grout can be left the same color as the rest of the paint job, but it can be nice to add that accent in. But the problem may arise when the grout color is too different from the new color of the tiles. This may not seem like too much of a problem, but let me explain why.

Putting a contrastable difference in color can appeal to the overall feel of the project and the home, but it will be arduous and difficult to make it look good unless you have an amazing freehand.

When a different color is used, it becomes apparent if the line painted is not straight. It can look unprofessional and have an overall unpleasant look to the finished fireplace. So, use colors that can hide any obvious mistakes with the rest of the color of the tiles.

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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