Is your fireplace looking outdated because of its old, brass fireplace doors? If you’ve got about $10.00 to spare, you can update them with a can of heat-resistant spray paint.
Here’s a brass screen that’s about to get a makeover.
This homeowner, who was doing an overall fireplace makeover, had already picked out a new $300 screen when we decided to spray her old one instead. I’m sorry to say that I’ve sprayed enough mirrors, picture frames and furniture, that I alone could be responsible for that ginormous hole in the ozone layer. But I’ve also rescued many treasures from the landfill, so I’m calling it even.
Here’s the paint I used. This High Heat spray paint by Rustoleum has a gorgeous matte finish. Rustoleum also makes a product called High Heat Ultra, but some on-line research revealed that the sheen on the Ultra is a semi-gloss, and our preference was to have a matte finish.
Before spraying, I taped off both sides of the glass, the magnets that hold the door shut and the black doors designed to stop those pesky embers from popping out. I decided to go the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it route with the inside black doors since they were already black and in good shape.
After taping everything off, I lightly sanded with a 220 grit sandpaper to roughen up the surface. Sanding allows the paint to adhere better. Then I wiped off any resulting sanding dust because paint won’t stick to dust. (My house is certainly safe then.) I wouldn’t recommend using sandpaper with a grit under 200, or it can leave scratches on the metal that will show through the finish paint.
I set the screen on top of some old paint cans before spraying so the screen wouldn’t stick to my plastic that was protecting the floor.
I opened the fireplace doors, and checked for areas that needed to be sprayed behind them so I wouldn’t have any missed areas of unpainted brass showing when the doors were opened.
When spraying, I held the can at least 8 inches away from the screen, and never, ever started to spray while holding the can in one spot. Spraying paint with a can that’s not moving at a pretty good clip allows drips and sags to rear their ugly little heads.
I started to spray with the can held a few inches to the left of the screen, sprayed across the surface of the screen, and then continued to spray past the screen before stopping the spray. So before and after passing the screen with the paint, I was spraying into the air on both ends. If you stop the can at the end of the screen, and don’t go past it before stopping, that tiny nano-second where the can stops moving and the spray is still spraying will leave a what? A drip. That’s right.
After each coat, I held the can upside down, and sprayed it to clear the valve of paint, so the nozzle wouldn’t clog. If your paint dries inside the nozzle, you may be throwing half a can of paint away. It’s especially important do this when you finish a project completely, and will be storing your paint for another project.
If you can’t see through your paint on the first coat or two, you’re putting it on too heavy, and it’s not going to dry properly. Most spray paints will require re-coating within an hour or after 24 to 48 hours. (Never did understand why, but rules are rules.) So every hour, I applied another coat. It took me four or five thin coats to completely cover all the brass.
After the screen was completely dry, I carefully removed the tape. Sometimes it’s necessary to score with a knife where the painted tape meets a project so that dried paint doesn’t peel off with the tape. Another way to avoid pulling dried paint off of a project is to pull the tape off against itself instead of pulling the tape towards yourself (perpendicular to the sprayed item).
Here’s a close up of the matte finish. I read reviews that said this paint in the matte finish looks more gray than black, but I’m seeing nothing but a stunning, black, matte finish.
Here are the before and after photos. It looks great against the newly whitewashed brick. (Refer to post, “How to Whitewash a Fireplace” to see how.) And this homeowner just saved herself $300!
This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.