Exterior Chimney Painting – Pros, Cons & General Considerations

Are you considering giving your chimney a facelift?

Quite a lot of homeowners not only consider painting as a way to achieve that but actually implement such. There are also doubts as to the impact of painting on chimneys. Some people also paint fireplace surround.

Do chimney paints do more harm than good? All such details will be provided here.

Painting Brick Chimney Exterior

Speaking of chimney painting, we’re not leaving out other sections such as the fireplace. In other words, chimney painting includes the fireplace area.

So, painting of both the exterior (chimney stack) and interior (fireplace) chimney components will be discussed in detail.

Is it a Good Idea to Have a Chimney Painted?

First off, we need to find out if it’s a good idea to have your chimney painted. Yes, painting improves the look of the chimney, however, this action could have certain repercussions. So is painting a good idea?

Not at all! This will be disappointing news if you intended to paint this venting structure.

Painted Chimney Problems

There are reasons why you should avoid painting your chimney and these help with the improved functioning of the structure.

Three reasons why you shouldn’t have your chimney painted include trapping-in moisture, the inability of bricks to breathe, and freeze-thaw cycles.

  • Trapped Moisture

Whenever a chimney is painted, moisture contained in bricks or are trapped due because the surface is covered with paint membrane.

With such trapped moisture having nowhere to go, it easily acts on mortar by steadily weakening it. This is a gradual process that may only become evident when damage is done.

Asides from mortar weakening or decay, trapped moisture may end up moving in the opposite direction into your home. When this happens, you may being to notice mold forming on walls as well as peeling of walls and water stains.

Here, it’s easy to see how a simple action such as painting your chimney can create several structural issues. You’ll need to be wary of such and try as much as possible to prevent these problems from developing.

  • The inability of Bricks to Breathe

Do you know that bricks need to breathe?

This shouldn’t be surprising because these bricks contain an innumerable number of pores. Basically, bricks and mortar need to breathe because they aren’t waterproof.

Water absorbed into the brick and mortar needs to be let out or evaporated.

Applying a coat of paint on the brick surface prevents such from happening. This in turn creates a situation of moisture buildup which is very risky for your chimney and the surrounding structures.

So where’s the place of a brick sealant then? This is an important question to ask because brick sealants prevent the absorption of moisture.

The only difference with paints is that brick sealants let out moisture while preventing absorption.

  • Freeze-Thaw Cycles

Freeze-thaw cycles are common in winter and are caused by trapped moisture contained in chimney bricks. The continuous freeze-thaw cycles lead to expansion and contraction of the chimney which in turn leads to spalling.

Cracks are likely to start appearing at different points along with the structure. All of these problems can be ignited by the simple act of painting your chimney.

Painting Vs Chimney Types

When it comes to chimneys, there are 3 major types; prefabricated or factory-built chimneys, freestanding stoves, and masonry brick or stone chimneys. So far, our focus has been on masonry chimneys while excluding the others.

The reality is, certain chimney types can be painted.

Since we’ve explained why it’s a bad idea to paint a masonry chimney, let’s consider the other two. That is; prefabricated or factory-built chimneys and freestanding stoves.

  • Painting Prefabricated or Factory-Built Chimneys

As the name suggests, factory-built chimneys are designed and manufactured in a factory. The entire structure isn’t built as one piece but divided into several components which are later assembled during installation.

Instead of masonry bricks and mortar, these chimney types are made from metal sheet material. This eliminates the problem of moisture trapping.

After years of usage, factory-built chimneys may need painting due to weather action. This can be done without fear of issues developing.

  • Freestanding Stoves

Freestanding stoves may either connect to an existing brick chimney or a factory-built metal system. Those manufactured from metal can be painted when the need arises.

Most times, the painting will a chimney arises from weather action on chimney metal. This action seeks to improve its look and condition.

You’d do well to Seek Professional Advice

Chimney painting has several benefits such as the prevention of corrosion among other things. However, not all chimney types can be painted. To prevent causing further problems, consider seeking professional advice.

Such advice is best offered by a licensed chimney technician.

All technicalities relating to chimney painting are given and appropriate recommendations are offered. In any case, you’re better off calling for expert help. It’s also important that a professional handle such a painting job.

Painting The Fireplace

Having discussed the different ways to go about painting the external section (stack) of a chimney, it’s time to focus on the interior section. The fireplace can easily be painted to improve its appearance.

However, this shouldn’t be haphazardly done, but must be performed systematically.

A little research is a key to success. You may want to seek a second or third opinion about research findings. Turn over the job to an expert if the process is overwhelming.

  • You’ll Need to Research the Project

If you’re adopting the DIY approach to fireplace painting, then some research will be in order. You want to research the most suitable color for your fireplace.

  • Seek Expert Opinion

You can leverage the experience of professional painters by finding out what color best fits your fireplace. Their inputs will prove to be highly useful to get the results you seek.

  • Turn Over the Job to an Expert

Sometimes, trying to figure out all the details for a chimney painting job may be overwhelming for some people. If you belong to this category of persons, there’s no harm in turning over the job to an expert.

Such a job is completed on schedule and also done professionally.

Painting a chimney requires considering each of the points outlined above. The process doesn’t need to be complicated at all.

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