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How To Paint Your Wooden Fireplace Mantle

How To Paint Your Wooden Fireplace Mantle

The fireplace mantle remains a focal point in most homes today as it is where family and guests congregate for warmth and some quality time. This being the case, it needs to be primed every once in a while to improve the overall interior appearance of the house. Painting a wooden fireplace mantel is a simple DIY task. Here’s how to go about it;


Wearing a pair of rubber gloves, and protective goggles is recommended if you will be using strong chemicals. Clear the working area by removing any furniture nearby and taking down any decorative accessories like mirrors and artworks. Painters tape can be used to cover fixtures and if not available, cover them with a newspaper and secure it with tape. This protects them from paint splatter and staining during the painting process. You may need to fill large cracks with wood putty if they are too large to be smoothened through sanding. Once done, let the putty set as per manufacturer’s recommendations.

Sanding and Stripping

If the wooden fireplace mantel had not been painted before, wrap medium grit sandpaper around a block of wood to act as a sanding block and lightly sand the whole mantle. This helps in smoothing the surface as well as any wood or putty protrusions. Sand carefully if the wood has any decorations.

You need to strip off the mantle of the previous paint with a chemical stripper. This can be applied with a paintbrush, a piece of cloth or it can be sprayed onto the surface. Let it set as per instructions on the package and use a paint scraper or a rag dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe off the old paint. Use a clean cloth to wipe the mantle to leave the wood bare, and let it dry.

Primer application

Apply a coat of primer from the bottom of the mantle moving up with a paintbrush. This should be done gently and with the strokes facing one direction. Ensure that it does not puddle any decorative grooves. Let the primer dry as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Paint the fireplace mantel

Using your choice paint, apply a coat of paint using the technique in the previous step and allow the coat to dry. You can add additional coats depending on your preference while wiping off any excess stain and allow it to dry completely.

The cleanup

Dispose of the used paint and primer cans properly. Warm soapy water is the best in cleaning the paintbrushes and tools used. Remove the painter’s tape or newspapers covering accessories and surrounding surfaces slowly, and taking care not to strip off the fresh finish. Remember to open doors and windows during the whole process to keep the room well ventilated.

If you need interior painting from our Central CT & Farmington Valley painting contractor, then please call 860-666-8850 or complete our online request form.