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How to Paint Fireplace Doors and Vents

Yup, I painted the fireplace (yay!) – but today I’m only going to show you how to paint fireplace doors and vents.  I wanted to break this fireplace tutorial into two parts because I’m so excited about how I updated the gold fireplace doors and the vents, which are part of the system to circulate heat that would otherwise be lost up the chimney.   The vents, in particular, were awfully ugly.  And cemented in place.  This accomplishment needs to be celebrated! 

Upgrade Your Fireplace on a Budget! Learn How to Paint Fireplace Doors and Vents

How to Paint Fireplace Doors and Vents

How to Paint Fireplace Doors

Painting the fireplace doors was easy.  I removed the screws holding them in place and lugged them out to the garage where I first gave them a thorough clean.  Once they were dry, I gave the metal frames and wood handles a light sand.  I wiped everything down with a damp cloth (just to get the sanding dust off) and let the doors dry a few moments before taping off the glass and covering parts I wanted to protect from overspray with newspapers.  I laid the doors flat on a covered surface.  Then I just sprayed on a few thin coats of Rust-oleum high heat enamel spray paint.  It comes in a can or spray can – and also comes in copper (which we used on our DIY welded fire pit).  Following the manufacturer’s instructions, I applied a few thin coats within the span of a few minutes.  The surface was dry to the touch in 1/2 an hour and was ready to be handled within 2 hours.

What it doesn’t say on the can is that this paint is magic.  At one point the newspapers I had laid down to protect the garage floor blew up with a gust of wind and smudged the paint.  Panicked, I applied more paint but that only made it looked worse.  Discouraged, I decided to let it dry and figured I’d sand it down the next day and start fresh.  Overnight though, the paint leveled itself into a super smooth finish.  It didn’t do this when I sprayed on a vertical surface but on any horizontal surface, no matter how much I bunged it up, it came out super smooth and even.  I’ve since gone spray paint crazy and painted a ton of other things around the townhouse with this paint.

Before

And that’s how to paint fireplace doors!  Goodbye brass…

Upgrade Your Fireplace on a Budget! Learn How to Paint Fireplace Doors and Vents

How to Paint Fireplace Vents

Painting the fireplace vents was another story.  They had been cemented in place by the former owner and refused to budge, no matter how much we chipped at them.

I could have brushed on paint, but I didn’t want the look of brush marks or drips on the louvers.  Undeterred (and buoyed by the magic paint), my Mom and I rigged up a spray painting booth with a cardboard box and some plastic drop cloths that she held in place while I shimmied under and spray painted the vents in place.  I didn’t cover the faux stone to protect it from overspray because the next step was painting it a dark grey anyway (oooo, ahhhhh).

I didn’t take any photos of the process because I just can’t, in good conscience, show anyone how to do it at home.  Even using a mask and eye protection, it was not a good idea for me to spray paint in an unventilated area (I was cleaning paint out of my ears for days).  I hope that anyone else who is making over their fireplace and has these same vents can just remove the screws, as I should have been able to, and avoid the problem altogether. So that’s how to paint fireplace doors and vents!  You just need a little prep work and the right product but otherwise it’s easy.  If you want to see the rest of the fireplace makeover, click here to see my painted fireplace stone and check out this post for a round up of dark grey and black fireplaces – and read all about why dark grey is a great choice! 

UPDATE 2019: This project has continued to hold up and looks amazing!  See really recent photos (before my fireplace hack to hang a TV where those pesky vents are) right here!

Upgrade Your Fireplace on a Budget! Learn How to Paint Fireplace Doors and Vents

I partnered with Rustoleum to paint the fireplace vents and doors but I was not prompted or encouraged to provide a positive review of Rustoleum high heat enamel spray paint. 

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19 Comments

  1. midcentuymadam
    October 18, 2013 / 4:07 pm

    What a difference a spray makes…..can't wait to see the fireplace! I love what I can see of the gray brick! Wow!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 19, 2013 / 2:05 pm

      The brick turned out so, so pretty. I just have to touch up some spots where I blobbed paint on the freshly painted ceiling (oops) but then I'm ready to show it off šŸ™‚ But the grey brick still would have looked blah without the matte black vents and doors. Now it looks like a totally different fireplace.

  2. Lets just build a house!
    October 18, 2013 / 4:09 pm

    looks SO much cleaner. great job. And I can only imagine the work you had to do to shimmy around under tarps and cardboard. your hard work was worth it!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 19, 2013 / 2:06 pm

      Oh man, did I ever get sweaty, too! My Mom was so worried about me, but I just could not live with the gold. Worth it!

  3. Amelia @ House Pretty
    October 18, 2013 / 6:02 pm

    That's a pretty awesome transformation – I can't wait to see the whole thing!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 19, 2013 / 2:06 pm

      Thanks, I'm so excited about it.

  4. MJ
    October 18, 2013 / 6:59 pm

    Looking great! Can't wait for the full reveal–it looks like you maintained depth and texture while adding a ton of class. I'm impressed and inspired.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 19, 2013 / 2:07 pm

      Awww, thanks!! Wait until you see the whole thing – it has so much more life to it now.

  5. Dana@Mid2Mod
    October 19, 2013 / 6:26 am

    The brick looks great! Painting it and the door and vents makes all the difference in the world.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 19, 2013 / 2:07 pm

      Thanks Dana!

  6. cred
    October 19, 2013 / 9:01 pm

    The doors and vents looks so good- impressed with how well it covered. I can't wait to see the whole thing. And the details of the paint you used. The sneak peeks that can be seen look great.

  7. Sarah Joynt
    May 30, 2014 / 8:17 pm

    Fabulous Job, love it! Thanks for sharing been torturing myself over acid or paint on some outdoor brick now I'm convinced to paint šŸ™‚

  8. Teresa Leary
    July 2, 2015 / 1:57 am

    Every little update is one more off the list (and saving $ is a bonus!) That is a great tip on the spraying directions too. We replaced our main floor vents with wrought iron covers but did some spraying on a bunch of mismatched vents when the basement suite was renovated.

  9. Vineta
    August 27, 2015 / 5:35 pm

    I've started researching how to spray paint our gold fireplace doors, and it looks like I came to the right place! Yours looks great and I can't wait to get started on mine.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 28, 2015 / 5:42 am

      I'm happy to help! I hope your painting goes smoothly šŸ™‚ Good luck!

  10. Sharon Mcdermott
    October 5, 2015 / 4:15 pm

    Hi there…looks great! What color spray paint did you use? How about for the brick? Thanks!

  11. Sharon Mcdermott
    November 13, 2015 / 9:19 pm

    Hi there, you said you painted the vents with basic matte black, but it almost matches the grey. I used the same brand in matte black, and it looks black! Just wondering if you could enlighten me…thanks!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 13, 2015 / 10:47 pm

      Hi Sharon! Yes, I did use the matte black and in my home it reads like black, but sometimes it does look like a dark charcoal grey with the light. The fireplace is painted a very dark grey, almost black, making the difference between the two slight. Sometimes my camera – or perhaps even your monitor, although most likely my camera – makes these colors look different; a bit lighter. As well, to the left of my fireplace is a 13 foot tall wall of windows, which makes everything seem more washed out. Long story short, yes it's black.

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