Stove Black vs Paint – What’s Better for My Wood Stove?

few steps to paint wood stove

If you’re like me, you agonize over the little things.

What kind of countertop should I get? Should I paint my walls white or another color? Do I want hardwood or laminate flooring? 

Do I need to paint or polish my wood stove?

So, when it came time to choose between stove black and paint for my wood stove, I had a lot of questions.

Turns out, there are pros and cons to both options – but which one is right for you? Let’s figure it out in this article…

Painting vs. Polishing a Wood Stove

Both wood stove paint and wood stove polish (also called stove black) are great ways to change the look of your wood stove.

Some homeowners may prefer to use wood stove polish due to its simplicity of use and minimal cleanup requirements.

However, in terms of versatility and mess-free application, High-temperature paint is still the best option.

Painting your wood stove also offers far more adaptability and durability.

The one main thing you need to remember is that painting a wood stove will help in providing a protective finish that inhibits rust for several years, but when it comes to polishing, stove black will only be able to provide the protection for several weeks.

While they both have their advantages, there are some key differences that you’ll want to consider before making a decision.

Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each option:

  • Paint is more durable and will last longer
  • Paint is more versatile and offers a better protective finish
  • While both are water-resistant, polish becomes less effective over time
  • Woodstove polish is less messy and easier to apply, it also requires less cleanup. But it’s not very effective for long-term rust protection
difference between painting and polishing

How to Blacken a Wood Stove?

For restoring and blackening your old worn-out stove, I recommend using a heat-tempered wood stove paint that can last for a long.

The process isn’t very difficult and can be completed within a day.

All you need is to follow these steps…

Step 1. Protect

Before you start painting your wood stove, protect your flooring, walls, and furniture by putting up the plastic tarp and painter’s tape where you do not intend to get the paint on.

Also, consider yourself by wearing a face mask, vinyl gloves, and clothing that you do not mind getting painted on.

Step 2. Clean the Stove

Before applying the paint to your wood stove, it’s important to prepare the surface by giving it a good cleanup.

This involves removing dirt, rust, and remaining ashes if any.

The majority of rust spots can be removed with a wire brush or steel wool.

Stubborn rust may be removed using a wood stove rust removal solution, which is usually available at home stores and hardware retailers.

You may also use a cast-iron stove cleaner if that’s what you prefer.

TIP: Wood ashes are rich in potash and other minerals. So, it can be used for cleaning metals or as compost in your garden. Do not discard it away!

Step 3. Repair the Cracks

Making necessary repairs by fixing minor cracks in the stove’s finish, is also an important step you should not ignore.

Using a high-temperature silicone sealant or a furnace cement will do the job for you and will help in prolonging the life of your newly painted stove.

Once you have filled all the cracks and holes, clean the surface again with a damp cloth to make sure there is no dust or debris left behind.

Step 4. Apply the Primer

Before you paint your stove, it’s important to coat it with a high-temperature primer must.

This is what keeps the paint from peeling off and also makes sure that the paint adheres to the stove’s surface evenly.

Most primers are available in a spray can, which makes the application process a lot easier.

Step 5. Apply the Paint to the Wood Stove

Now comes the fun part – painting your wood stove.

High-temperature black spray paint is all you need to give your wood stove a new lease on life.

Be sure to follow the instructions provided on the paint can, and apply multiple thin coats for the best results.

Generally, you will need to cover the entire exterior surface of the stove by spraying the paint back and forth.

Keep the spray can approximately 10 inches from the surface of the wood stove and be extra cautious to avoid runs and paint buildup.

Step 6. Allow the Paint to Dry Between Coats

If you are applying more than one coat, let the paint dry completely between each coat, and don’t forget to sand lightly in between coats as well.

After you are done with the final coat, let your wood stove dry completely.

Step 7. Start a Small Fire to Let the Smell Go Off

The fresh paint you have applied to the stove will most likely have a strong smell.

So, to get rid of the paint smell and fumes, it’s advisable to start a small fire in your wood stove and let it burn for some time.

This will also help in curing the paint and making it more durable.

Polishing Wood Burning Stove – Easy Steps

Although stove black is good to use on untreated cast-iron stoves, applying it to refinish your stove is also a great alternative to get it prepared for a season.

It’s less messy and easier to apply, it also requires less clean up. But it’s not very effective for long-term rust protection.

If, however, you plan to go ahead, here are the steps you need to follow to give your wood stove a brand-new look using stove black polish…

Step 1. Clean

Clean your wood stove in the same way we have discussed earlier in this article.

Make sure to vacuum and remove all the dirt, soot, and rust before applying the polish.

Do not forget to vacuum between the seams to remove all the leftover debris from inside as well as outside.

Step 2. Apply the Stove Black

Wipe the stove using the dampened cloth or sponge to apply a light layer of stove black.

To apply the stove black, work in one direction and wipe in small circles.

Allow the black stove polish to completely dry which can take up to 15-20 minutes.

Step 3. Apply Petal Polish (optional)

If you want to achieve a shinier look on any brass pieces or shiny wood stove trim, you can apply metal polish after the stove black has dried.

Wipe and buff the metal polish in small circles and work in one direction only.

Do not forget to read the instructions carefully before applying any kind of metal polish to your wood stove.

Step 4. Wipe Away Any Excess (optional)

Once you are done polishing, use a clean and dry cloth to wipe away any excess metal polish or stove black.

Give a final buff on your stove black with a clean, soft cloth or sponge to give the wood stove extra shine.

Step 5. Start a Small Fire

And as a final step, fill your polished wood stove with a few inches of wet leaves, then light a small kindling fire within it.

To complete the “burn-off,” keep the fire burning just long enough for the stove to stop smoking on its outside.

And that’s it! These were some of the easy steps you need to follow to refinish your wood stove using stove black or paint.

Tips and Warnings

To get the job done right and to keep the finish for a long, here are a few things you need to keep in mind…

  • Use a drop cloth or newspapers to protect your floors and furniture from paint fumes and spills.
  • If your wood stove is already painted or sandblasted, do not use polish. Instead, you should repaint with high-temperature paint.
  • Only apply the stove black or paint on a cold wood stove after you have cleaned it properly.
  • Ventilate your room when you are burning off the stove black

Above all, you should always consider checking the ingredients of the stove black polish before using it on your stove.

It’s always a good option to consider a stove black polish that doesn’t contain waxes.

Stove-blackening polishes and pastes are sometimes available that contain high carbon and graphite elements to eliminate the noxious fumes created by traditional stove black paints.

These stove black polishes produce a higher gray hue on the woodstove but the finishing is not so durable and long-lasting.

Related FAQs

Is oiling a wood stove good?

Oiling a wood stove with oil such as mineral oil can help to keep it protected from rust and corrosion.

It also makes the stove look new and shiny. However, it is important to note that oil will need to be reapplied regularly to maintain its effectiveness.

Where to buy stove black polish?

You can purchase stove black polish from most hardware stores or online retailers such as Amazon and Home Depot.

When choosing a stove black polish, make sure to select one that is specifically designed for use on wood stoves.

Can I use graphite powder for the pellet stove?

Graphite powder can be used as a stove black on your pellet stove. Simply apply the graphite powder to the stove using a clean cloth or brush.

Allow the powder to dry and then buff it off with a soft cloth. Repeat this process as needed to maintain the stove’s black finish.

The Bottom Line

So, which one should you choose between wood stove paint and polish to make your old-fashioned wood stove look new?

It really depends on your personal preferences and what you’re looking for in a finish.

If you want a more durable and long-lasting finish, then paint is the way to go.

But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to refinish your wood stove, then stove black polish is the best option.

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