DIY Projects | Living Rooms

DIY Fireplace Makeover with High Heat Paint

In this DIY fireplace makeover, an old gas insert gets a facelift with this quick, easy, and cheap step-by-step tutorial using high heat paint.

The girls and I just moved into our new house a few months ago, and my first fun DIY project (trust me, there have been plenty of less-fun projects already!), was a makeover for the dated tile fireplace.

Here’s what I started with:

empty living room with a dated gas fireplace on one wall

And here it is up close. See the corroded finish and worn-off paint?

close-up of the bottom of a gas fireplace insert with the finish corroded in places

I started by painting and stenciling the tile fireplace surround. You can see the tutorial here.

Painting Fireplace Tile: The Ultimate Guide

close-up of a hand painting fireplace tile with a grout pen

Next, my dad and I built a modern box beam mantel.

Easy DIY Fireplace Mantel Tutorial

the end of a DIY wood mantel for a fireplace makeover

And finally, I gave the gas fireplace insert a quick and inexpensive makeover.

How to Refinish A Fireplace Insert

I think this might be the shortest list of materials I’ve ever done for a project!


collage of supplies needed for a DIY fireplace makeover: sanding block, painter's tape, high heat paint for fireplace, and large pieces of cardboard

A. Sanding block or sandpaper (220 grit)

B. Painter’s Tape

C. High-Heat Spray Paint

D. Cardboard or plastic sheeting


1. Remove Slats/ Grate

If your insert has removable slats, take them off. It’s easier to paint them separately. I was able to remove the gold-colored slats on the top, but the ones on the bottom didn’t come off easily, so I left them and spray painted them in place.

close-up of brass-colored slats that have been removed from the top of the gas fireplace insert, sanded, cleaned, and ready to be painted with fireplace spray paint

2. Sand

Use 220 grit sandpaper or a sanding block to remove any bits of flaking paint. You’ll also want to rough up the surface of the fireplace insert a little to help the paint stick.

close-up of hand using sandpaper to remove finish from an old fireplace insert before painting it with high heat paint for fireplace

3. Clean

Use a damp rag to wipe everything down and remove all the dust before painting. I also used a hose vacuum because I don’t think this fireplace had been cleaned in years.

hand using a blue rag to wipe excess dust and debris off of a fireplace surround before painting it

4. Mask Off

Take your time during this step, because the masking job you do will make or break this project.

close-up of the bottom of an old gas fireplace insert masked off with masking tape and cardboard before being painted with fireplace spray paint

Carefully mask off everything that you don’t want to paint. I had a bunch of sheets of cardboard lying around from some furniture I ordered, so I used that. If you don’t have cardboard, a plastic drop cloth will work too.

fireplace makeover in progress- fireplace insert masked off with painter's tape and cardboard after being sprayed with the first coat of high heat paint for fireplaces

Be sure to cover the floor as well.

5. Open Windows/ Set Up A Fan

I try to avoid spray painting indoors whenever possible because of a awful fumes. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. I recommend opening up your windows and setting up a fan. But wait to turn the fan on until after you’ve sprayed each coat.

6. Spray First Coat

can of Rust-o-leum High Heat spray paint in matte black

Begin by shaking the can well and making sure it’s at room temperature. Hold the can about eight inches away from the fireplace insert and move from side to side, overshooting the edges. This ensures that the paint doesn’t puddle up and go on too thick on the edges.

fireplace insert drying after 1st coat of high heat spray paint has been applied

The first coat should just be a very light dusting. You’re not going for full coverage this time around. Let it dry for about ten minutes.

In the meantime, go outside and spray the first coat on the slats you removed back in step 1.

metal slats from a gas fireplace insert being painted black with high heat paint

7. Spray 2nd Coat

After letting the first coat dry for at least 10 minutes, come back and spray it again, using the same technique as before. This time you want to get full coverage.

fireplace painted with black high heat fireplace paint

8. Spray 3rd Coat

Once the second coat is dry, come back and touch up any areas that were missed. Double check from all angles to be sure you didn’t miss anything.

9. Remove Tape & Masking

Once everything is dry, carefully peel off the masking tape and remove all the cardboard and plastic.

10. Replace Slats

Replace the freshly painted slats.

That’s it, you’re done. It doesn’t get much easier (or cheaper!) that that!

I’m thrilled with my new fireplace and plan to enjoy many evenings sitting by the fire.

finished fireplace makeover with painted gas insert and painted stenciled tile

More Fireplace Makeover Ideas…

$110 DIY Fireplace Makeover: How to Paint Tile

Painting Fireplace Tile: The Ultimate Guide

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