Should You Paint Exterior Chimneys (If So What Color)?

some ways to choose the paint color for exterior chimney

Whether you are painting the exterior or interior of your home, paint is one of the best and simplest ways for you to give a space a makeover without completely renovating it.

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for any part of the house, and the chimney is included in that.

Many people wonder if painting a chimney is possible, and the answer to that question is yes.

Painting a chimney can seem like a huge task at first glance, but it is not hard to do.

With the right tools, paint, and paint colors, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to transform the exterior of your home with the look of a new chimney.

Below we will take a look at various aspects of painting a chimney, including paints you can use and some guidelines for picking the right type for the chimney.

Choosing the Paint Color for Your Exterior Chimney

Before you decide on any kind of chimney paint color, you need to choose whether you want the chimney to stand out against the house or blend right in with the exterior.

The kind of visual effect you want for the area will determine the final decision you make on the color.

There are some paint colors for chimneys that are more popular than others. These include:

  • Beige
  • Tan
  • White
  • Cream
  • Black
  • Light gray

These are just a few colors among many that people choose to paint their chimney:

 1- Neutral Colors

Neutral hues are among the most commonly used paint colors for chimneys due to their versatility.

The aforementioned colors of beige, cream, white, tan, and even brown give the chimney a more natural look and fit in well with most color schemes on top of it.

They are also good for hiding dirt and soot that builds up on and in the chimney over time.

You can find these colors widely available in all of your favorite paint brands, giving you more control over the paints that you use.

If your home’s exterior has a more modern appearance, you may prefer gray or black for the chimney.

 2- Contrasting Colors

If you are hoping to make the chimney more visually interesting and eye-catching, you might want to paint with contrasting colors. Creating contrast is easy.

All you need to do is choose colors that contrast against the existing paint colors based on the color scheme of your exterior.

3- Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are ones that are directly across, from one another on the color wheel, so it is easy to pick out what color goes with what.

These include classic color combinations such as black and white or more vibrant pairings such as orange and blue, purple and yellow, or red and green.

You can adjust the colors’ intensity, but it is recommended that you keep them quite subtle and muted to avoid making the appearance of your exterior too visually overwhelming.

To make it fit in better, you can add the complementary color to other parts of the house, such as the trim or shutters.

Are Monochromatic Colors Good to Paint Your Chimney?

Monochromatic colors offer one of the simplest design approaches for painting a chimney.

This type of color scheme just means that the house and the chimney itself are the same color.

You can pick a color that is two shades darker or lighter than the remainder of the home’s exterior.

To blend it all in, you can use other shades of the color you have on the shutters and trim work.

Going this route will produce a more harmonious appearance and will provide subtle contrast for the entire house.

how to paint exterior chimney

Tips for Painting Different Types of Exterior Chimneys and Choosing the Paint

Not all chimneys are made the same. Chimneys can vary in materials, and that means there are special considerations to take for each one.

This is especially true because chimneys are exposed to the elements constantly, so you have to deal with things like water getting stuck in brick and mortar, which can cause it to expand and contract, damaging not just the bricks but also the paint on them.

Even so, with the proper application of the paint, you can give your chimney a new lease on life in a safe manner.

1- Brick Chimney

Brick chimneys are porous, like any other kind of masonry, meaning it is compatible with any kind of paint.

The porosity of the chimney also means that a paint sprayer is the best method of application, especially when compared to a paint roller or a standard paintbrush.

It will spare you a lot of time and effort, up to 80 percent.

The best kind of paint to use for your chimney is premium latex paint. This type of paint is more flexible and can more easily move with the expanding and contracting that the brick will do.

Oil paints can crack and harden over time, whereas latex paint handles the changes of time more easily. Latex also dries more quickly.

When painting a brick chimney, start first with a block filler. This is a product that masonry prep depends on, as it fills in any pores or gaps in the material.

This will make it uniform, flat, and smooth while stopping water from getting into the bricks.

Then, you can begin applying the primer after the block filler has dried. Use a high-temperature primer if you live somewhere that is hotter than average.

With the chimney brick filled and primed, you can then paint it whatever color you ended up choosing.

Remember to use a paint sprayer for both the primer and the paint to get full coverage and save yourself plenty of time and effort.

2- Metal Chimneys

Since metal chimneys get hotter than chimneys made of some other materials, it is important to choose a paint that is rated for high heat.

High-temperature latex paints are usually safe for up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, for instance.

You will also need to make sure the primer is heat resistant as well. This type of paint comes in both brush-on and spray-on forms.

Use painter’s tape on any materials in the area that you don’t want to spray. Also, be sure you do not hold the spray can too close for prolonged periods of time to ensure the paint evenly distributes.

Brush-on, high-temperature paints are in liquid form and can be painted on using either a roller or a brush.

Apply it using even, light strokes, and add more than one coat if necessary. It must be prepared like a brick chimney, only you will need to make sure there is no rust on the metal first.

Rust won’t allow the paint to effectively stick. Use sandpaper or steel wool to remove all of the rust.

3- Masonry Chimneys (Concrete, pumice, and clay or ceramic)

Finally, masonry chimneys such as those with concrete, clay, ceramic, or pumice materials will require latex-based primer and paint.

These paints are breathable and durable, which is great for such porous surfaces that have a high likelihood of contracting and expanding.

These kinds of paint are also good choices if you only use the chimney every so often.

If the chimney is used very often due to where you live, or you burn your fireplace often, you may need a high-temperature latex paint for the best results.

You will need to thoroughly clean all of the cracks and crevices in the material to ensure nothing gets trapped there while also making sure the paint adheres well.

To clean it thoroughly, you can use a pressure washer to lift off any flaking of the surface of the chimney or any dirt and debris. Reapply mortar if needed.

The Bottom line

Painting a chimney can give your home the quick update it needs without doing full renovations.

This is especially important if you want to increase curb appeal. Above, we discussed the different materials chimneys can be made from, as well as how to paint them according to their unique qualities.

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