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How do I paint my brass fireplace?
By Ciber from WA
Before painting, clean the area with rubbing alcohol!
You'll need to use a High Temperature paint. You can either buy a paint made to paint car motors or you can buy a special paint that's made for wood stoves. I would use spray-paint. The high-temperature spray paint is not hard to find. It's sold with all the other spray paints at Home Depot and other stores. You may find a larger selection of high-temp pain at auto-parts stores.
If you buy "regular" paint that is not made to get hot, it may easily bubble-up, crack or chip-off from the heat of the fire.
To paint over something shiny and metallic, you'll want an OIL-based paint or Enamel, not "water-based"!
* Prep Work:
To paint brass, you'll need to first give it some "tooth" by roughing it up a little with sand paper or steel wool, then prime (high temperature) then paint (high temperature). Sometimes you can find a paint/primer mix.
Some high-temp paints don't "set-up" until they are heated. Read the directions on the can thoroughly.
After sanding, remove any dust, then wipe-down the whole area with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. Sanding may sound like a hassle, but it has to be done! (unless you are using Hammerite paint)
* Other High Temperature:
Don't accidentally buy "stove black" the cream wood stove paints (that look like canned shoe-polish). They are made for painting cast-iron or steel wood stoves. These creamy paints usually come in matte-black, rarely can you get them in other colors (like brown, hunter and navy). I have used this kind of wood stove paint many times and they are simply wonderful. They can make an old rusty wood stove look like brand-new again! But they can't be used over metal or glossy areas (like yours). Buy high-temp spray pain instead.
If you have glass doors, take wet newspaper or wet computer paper and stick this wet paper to the glass. Be sure to use blue masking tape to cover anyplace you don't want painted. If you need to mask-off bricks, sometimes tin-foil works best, because you can easily make the foil adhere to the bricks by running a cloth or your hand along the foil until it conforms to the shape of the bricks and temporarily sticks to them. Also, put newspaper under the painting area.
If you want a hammered metallic finish, you can buy Hammerite spray paint. Hammerite looks amazing and comes in many metallic colors and there is no need for primer.
Be sure to open your windows because it is a stinky oil-based paint. I don't know if Hammerite is a high-temp paint, so if the fireplace is for more than "show" and you actually use it, check the back of the can or ask the Home Depot paint person.
If you use Hammerite, you won't first need to sand the area. Hammerite comes in many colors including an antique brass and a pewter look. It's a wonderful, durable brand!
Hammerite usually has a "hammered" texture, but it also comes in a smooth satin or gloss finish. Another nice thing about Hammerite is you can paint right over rust.
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How do you paint fireplace doors that are brass? I am contemplating taking on this as a project and am not sure where to start? What type of primer should be used? What type of paint is recommended? Any advice would be appreciated.
Sherri from Arlington, TX
I too am in the process of taking this project on. I was told to use an oven cleaner first to get any fire residue off, lightly sand with steel wool, wipe down with mineral spirits and then use the spray paint for BBQ grills which is sold at Wal-Mart in the regular paint section.
Mine are so ugly we are going to replace them if this doesn't work. (05/15/2007)
Brass usually has a lacquer coating on it to keep the shine. That will have to sanded off with fine sandpaper. As for the painting part I would go to a paint store like Sherwin Williams or the paint department at Loew's or Home Depot and get their recommendations. After all they deal with these questions all the time. (05/15/2007)
The experts at painting metal are the chain auto painting places. If you can, take it to them for a quote. If not, ask them for advice.
Another place that knows how to do this stuff is the specialty hobby stores, like model trains, cars, and boats. (05/15/2007)
I am currently working on repainting the brass trim on my fireplace doors, as well. So far, everything has worked well and I am very happy with results. I am not finished yet, but I have been doing this whenever I get an hour or so of free time and haven't been in any rush to get done.
This is what I have done/used:
I purchased a bag of steel wool (the finest grit) and sanded the brass trim very well. The brass color didn't even come close to coming off, but it did roughen that finish so the paint would adhere better. I did a lot of sanding. I probably could have cut down on my sanding time if I had just used a rougher grit and then used the finest grit to finish, but I was scared of scratching it up too badly so I just went ahead with finest grit from the beginning.
I will try to take some pictures and post them in the next couple days so you can see what the finished product looks like. I am very happy with the way the project is going/looking and I'm glad I took on this project.
Good luck. (10/20/2008)
We are getting the house ready to sell, and I've been told that when today's buyers see shiny brass (faucets, door knobs, light fixtures, etc.) in a house for sale, they say, "ooh, yuck, 80s". And we used to think brass looked so classy.
So, goodbye to the shiny brass fireplace doors. For a wider selection of paint colors, look at engine paint colors at your local auto parts store. (10/19/2009)