Thursday, February 19, 2009

Painting Brick Fireplaces


Almost everyone agrees, brick fireplaces are beautiful pieces of any home. But sometimes they stand out for the wrong reasons. Many great fireplaces are left neglected by their owners and are left in a degrading state due to poor and improper care. Now while usually the state the brick fireplaces are in, require professional help to clean and fix them up. However, one of the best things anyone can do at home and with little skill or money to spruce their fireplace up is to simply paint it back into splendor.

5 Tips to Remember While Painting Fireplaces

1.) Paint thinly
  • Due to the heat being exhibited from the fireplace, the thicker your layer of paint, the more likely it is to split, blister and crack. Apply the paint lightly to create a thin layer overtop of the bricks porus surface.
2.) Scrub the bricks before painting
  • Use some sandpaper and cloth to smooth out any irregularities you find on the bricks. You can also use soapy water and clean the fireplace with a scrubbing brush but make sure to rinse the soap off once your done and let it dry. This is important to remove any paint that was applied from previous owners or times.
3.) Apply a primer
  • You can get specialized primers specifically for bricks and fireplaces. A latex primer would be a good bet as they are hardier and better suited for porus materials such as bricks then other paints. Allow the primer to dry. Usually only one thin layer is enough to get the job done.
4.) Make sure the color you choose is the color you want
  • Removing paint applied to bricks is a very difficult and potentially expensive venture and once it is removed, the bricks will never look the same again. Choose that color carefully and wisely. Painted brick fireplaces have been known to actually reduce property values due to the wear they will go under.
5.) Use a high quality primer and paint
  • Brands such as Behr and Benj may cost a bit more then the average can of paint but they do the job much better then generic brands. Also try to use a spray can rather then a roller as the roller will not infiltrate all the nooks and crannies of the brick but rather glide over the top of it. You need about a gallon of paint and primer for the average brick fireplace.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Brick Fireplace

Calming, cheering, warming and exquisite, all properties of a beautiful brick fireplace. One of the oldest and best methods of warming your house on a cold winters day, it is still the mainset of any great home and if you don't have one yet, maybe you should think about it.

Naturally ancient fireplaces were not made from brick but rather were carved from wood in stone dwellings. These crude designs sadly brought all the smoke right back into the room and the chimney was quite a later design. It wasn't until the 1700's that we started to see brick fireplaces like the ones we are used to today.

While now a days you can get a fantastic furnace that will warm up your whole living room in minutes and not cost you a bundle but it will never have the same effect a brick fireplace would. They add a setting to the room that's not available with any other piece of furniture or decoration. A brick fireplace will add warmth and a social comfort that you just can't get with anything else.

While much more costly then other options the allure of a fireplace will increase the value of your home much more then any other option then possibly central air. It brings a family together in the living room, is quiet, safe and adds a comfortable setting to the room. Another thing to note is that the majority of people looking for a home want a fireplace in their living room. Your brick fireplace will easily offset it's initial cost.

Fireplace Safety and Legality

If your planning on installing a new fireplace into your home you must contact your local officials and know your city bylaws and state/provincial laws. This is especially important if you wish to install an Outdoor Fireplace Make sure you have a certified chimney installer with plenty of experience. Also look at your state/provinces energy conservation website (almost all have one) and see if you can get a rebate by installing a certain type of fireplace as many times you can.

Now as for safety, by following these simple rules you can make your brick fireplace into one of the most safest parts of your home:

  • Have a professional chimney sweeper sweep your chimney regularly.
  • Clean out any ashes that have been deposited for a while.
  • Only burn dry clean wood.
  • Do not start your fire with any accelerant like gasoline or alcohol.
  • Keep a regularly maintained fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Make sure you have smoke detectors and their regularly maintained.
  • Keep combustibles well away from the flames or glass window.
  • If you have a glass window, make sure never to touch it as it will instantly burn you.
  • Install the fireplace away from foot traffic as to lessen the number of stubbed toes and danger from contact to the glass or flames.
  • Consider an edge guard for the base of the fireplace if you have any small children.
  • Install a gate to separate people from the glass/flames.

By following these simple tips, you'll enjoy your brick fireplace for years to come. For some examples of brick fireplaces, come see these pictures of brick fireplaces.