Question: What kind of paint do you recommend for a red brick fireplace in our 23-year-old house? The brick doesn't go with our decorating style and we would like to paint the bricks white. Is there a paint that will take that kind of heat and not flake off?
Answer: I've used conventional semi-gloss paint--the water-thinned kind--on a fireplace like yours without any flaking or other kind of failure. The heat shouldn't be too intense around a fireplace that is operating properly, anyway. Get a good brand of paint and clean the bricks thoroughly before you apply the paint.
If you're worried about the paint not adhering to the bricks, you might investigate Break-Through paint, a water-borne cross-linking acrylic coating that replaced the largely banned oil-based enamels.
The product is slightly more expensive than alkyds and, like them, requires only water to clean brushes and rollers, according to Jay Leanse of the Procos Group, 8501 Washington Blvd., Culver City, Calif. 90232. Break-Through is ideal for use on existing painted woodwork, where adhesion is often a problem, he added.