How to Clean and Paint Your Fireplace Insert or Surround
Posted By
Larissa Haynes
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Materials Needed: 
  • SteamMachine Elite
  • Distilled water
  • High temperature stove paint
  • Super Finish Max Paint Sprayer (optional, depending on paint chosen)
  • Respirator
  • Safety goggles
  • Cleaning rags
  • Painter's tape (optional)
  • Tarps, etc for protecting surfaces
  • Vacuum

Project Steps


Have you wanted to update your fireplace, but don't know how? It can be a simple project that can be done in a day with the right steps and tools. With my HomeRight SteamMachine Elite, the job was made easy. Let me show you how I not only painted my fireplace insert, but also got it prepped properly for a long-lasting finish. 

Step 1

Protect Your Surroundings

To get started, we first need to prepare our area. I've created a video tutorial that can be viewed HERE (or watch below!), if you prefer. Begin by draping off and protecting the neighboring surfaces so that you can clean and paint. Cleaning isn't the messiest part, but the painting can be. I used a large piece of cardboard underneth my fireplace insert to protect my hearth while cleaning.

First, I checked for any chipping or loose paint and scraped it off. Then, I used my shop vacuum to remove any debris from the insert and surrounding area.

Step 2

Clean the Fireplace

Now it's time to get our SteamMachine Elite ready for the cleaning process. I love this thing! I've shared before how to clean your oven, stove top, bathroom, floors, and even my vehicles.  It truly has endless uses in and around our home.

Let's get started! First, fill your SteamMachine with the disttilled water (found at dollar stores and the like) using the funnel and measuring cup provided. Securely thread the cap back on and plug-in the unit. It will begin to build up steam and both lights will be lit. The SteamMachine is ready when the top orange light clicks off. During the cleaning process, you will need to occasionally let the SteamMachine built up steam when the orange light pops back on. 

Step 3

Clean the Door

The first place I tackled was the interior of my glass door. Why? Well, I knew it would be the messiest and it's kind of like painting yourself out of a room. You don't want to begin at the wrong point.

See all that built-up soot? On a regular basis I clean this door so we can see our beautiful fire roaring and to be safe from fire hazards.

Step 4

Use the Nylon Brush 

Begin by attaching your nozzle to your spray gun and the appropriate brush. I used the large black nylon brush. That brush will scour the surface, but not scratch your insert or surround.

Working in small batches at a time, squeeze the SteamMachine handle and scrub in circular motions while the steam does the work. Next, using the cloth provided, wipe away any remaining residue.

With minimal effort, my glass door is clean and I'm ready for the next steps. So much better, isn't it? It's a night and day difference.

Step 5

Clean the Exterior

Now it's time to clean the exterior of the fireplace insert. Using the same technique as on the door, I scrub the surface while steaming and wipe away the residue. The steam worked wonders on my white tile surround and got in all the nooks and crannies. Note: Be careful not to blast steam into your blowers or electronic parts. 

Step 6

Paint the Fireplace

Now your fireplace insert or surround is properly prepped and ready for the next step - paint. Since the high temperatures can cause wear on your finish, it's important to update your paint at least every other year. You must also use a special stove paint to withstand the high temperatures as well. When considering what color to paint your fireplace insert or surround, take into consideration the use it receives. Is it your daily source of heat, or is it merely a decorative spot in your home. note: This process works for wood-burning stoves too. Since ours is a main source of heat and receives much wear, I wanted to keep the color suited for that purpose. I chose to use a Bark Brown, but there are many color choices available. I almost chose blue! tee hee. Oh, and I only needed one can, but I purchased two for future updating. 

While normally I would have used my HomeRight Finish Max Extra paint sprayer, I had to use what was available for the color I wanted. It only came in a spray can. Some colors come in a standard can, which would be nice to have on hand for future updates. 

Ideally, you would want to take your insert or surround outside. However, that's not always possible. So, when you're ready to paint, be sure to prep your area with tarps and tape where you don't want paint to reach. Also, be sure to open ALL windows and doors as this is highly toxic stuff. Cover all return vents, and section off your room with plastic sheeting. You don't want this traveling to your furnace. You MUST wear a respirator as well. Your health is worth it. 

Step 7

Spray 3 Coats and Allow to Dry

Follow the painting instructions provided on your paint can. My paint suggested 3 coats, allowing 10 minutes of cure time between coats, and 2 hours to cure before starting a fire. When beginning to paint, hold your paint can or sprayer approximately 12 inches from your surface.

Also, be sure to start spraying before you hit your surface and continue until off your surface. This will promote an even coverate and no spattering. Before you know it, your fireplace insert will be done. Yay!

Step 8

Enjoy the New, Clean Fireplace!

Now my fireplace insert is clean and ready to go a few more rounds during our winter season. It looks amazingly better and now we're ready to tackle the rest of our family room remodel. To see more of what I'm up to, I invite you to my blog, Prodigal Pieces. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. Come say, "Hi!" Until next time, have fun and DIY.

Like this idea? Don't forget to watch, pin, and share! 

Chemical Free Way to Clean an Indoor Fireplace and Paint it with a Spray Can

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