Do you have an interior brick wall or bricks around your fireplace that are making your home look dated? Or maybe your style is more modern and your current brickwork is too traditional? Giving those bricks a fresh coat of paint will dramatically change the look and feel of your room, but doing it the right way is important. Read on to learn the steps to brick painted perfection.

As with any paint job, the first step is to clean the surface you’ll be painting. With brick, there can be lots of dust and other particles stuck in the rough surface. Use a wire brush and warm, soapy water to scrub the wall down and allow ample dry time. If your bricks have streaks or other buildup, you can use trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water to remove them. Be careful as this is a harsh chemical and you’ll need to wear safety goggles and gloves.

Step two is to apply a primer. You can use a sprayer or brushes and rollers designed for rough surfaces. Using primer will prevent the paint from deteriorating and give a smoother finish. If your bricks are near a heat source, like a fireplace, use heat-resistant primer and paint.

When you’re ready to put on the paint, make sure it is a latex or masonry paint – check with the paint or hardware store to make sure you’ve got the right type. Apply the paint in thick coats, ensuring that all crevices are filled in. You may need to use two or even three coats to achieve full coverage and a smooth finish.

Note, if you’re going to paint the inside of the fireplace (called the firebox), you’ll need to use a specific type of paint designed for this purpose.