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How to Paint a Tile Fireplace

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I couldn’t stand the beige color of our tile fireplace so I learned how to paint a tile fireplace. The transformation was worth it!

Original fireplace on the left and an updated black and white fireplace on the right

This fireplace just wasn’t my style. I wanted something that was much more classic and understated. But we definitely don’t have the money to redo the whole fireplace.

fireplace with a beige tile surround

The fireplace has three sides, as it juts out into the middle of the walkway. Adding anything over the existing tile wasn’t going to work.

So I turned to paint. If you don’t know the magical transformational power of paint yet, you will after this post!

How to Paint a Tile Fireplace

There are very few things that you can’t transform with a new coat of paint. This fireplace cost me about $50 in paint, and I had enough left over to paint my bathroom too!

What You Need:

Tools Needed:

  • Paint Brush

Supplies Needed:

  • Paint in color of choice
  • Kilz Primer

How to Prep the Tile for Paint

I just don’t like the beige tile and wanted it gone! I used Kilz primer to paint over the tile. The important part here is prep!

fireplace with a beige tile surround

To prep the tile, I cleaned it really wall with warm water and a little bit of dawn dish soap. Then made sure to rinse it really well with plenty of warm water.

This tile is already really porous and rough, so I didn’t feel the need to sand it at all. But if you have smooth tile, a light sanding may be necessary to help the paint adhere.

Once the tile was dry, I taped off around the fireplace insert and where the fireplace tile met the flooring. Then, I used a paint brush to apply the primer. I found it easiest to paint the tile one by one.

fireplace with a beige tile surround, had blue tape around the fireplace and tile on the floor

Can a Roller be Used to Paint Tile?

No, a paint brush really works best. I tried to use a roller, but this tile is really rough and there were spots I had to go over with a brush. So it just made more sense for me to use a paint brush for the whole thing.

fireplace with surround painted white

If the tile is smoother, a roller might work better, but a paint brush will still be needed for the grout lines.

Can I Paint a Color Over the Primed Tile?

Yes! Any color paint can be used over the primer. I used Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black to paint the top wall of the fireplace. And then lived with it for a few weeks.

fireplace with surround tile painted white and the top wall painted black

I decided the bottom of the fireplace was too white. So I used the same paint to paint the bottom tiles and then I left the white primer directly around the fireplace. I liked it so much better!

fireplace with the surround tile painted white and the bottom tile painted black, the top wall is also painted black.

Does the Primer Have to Be Painted Over?

No! I didn’t paint anything over the white primer on the rest of the fireplace. It looked great to me and it stayed on really well, so I didn’t do anything else.

fireplace with the surround tile painted white and the top wall painted black.

How to Paint a Tile Fireplace

How to Paint a Tile Fireplace

It's easy and cost effective to paint a tile fireplace for an update!

Prep Time 1 hour
Active Time 2 hours
Additional Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 3 hours


  • Paint in color of choice
  • Kilz Primer


  • Paint Brush


  1. First prep, wash the tile with warm water with a little bit of dawn dish soap. Use a soft cloth to apply the soapy water. Then rinse well with warm water to ensure there is no soap residue. Allow the tile to dry thoroughly.
  2. Apply one coat of Kilz primer with a paint brush over all the tile and the grout. Allow to dry.
  3. Apply one to two coats of your paint color of choice over the Kilz Primer.

I can’t believe how cheap and easy this makeover was. I would definitely recommend painting tile for a quick, easy, and impactful change! There was some some left over paint too, so I decided to makeover my small bathroom.

black and white fireplace in a livingroom

What’s Next? 

If you liked these painted fireplace tutorial, you’ll probably like these other tutorials too.

Colorful Kitchen Chair Makeover

Best Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe

How to Easily Paint a Stair Railing

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