fireplace with black soot-stained brick box
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Q: What kind of paint can best withstand the heat and flame of a firebox?

A: Q: My fireplace's brick firebox is painted black and in need of some retouching. My local home improvement center recommended a spray paint intended for barbecues, and a specialty paint store recommended an acrylic product that didn't say anything about flame resistance. What kind of paint should I use?

— Martyn, Boston, MA

Steve Thomas replies: In my experience, it's tough to get paint — even a high-temperature enamel — to withstand direct flame on the back of a firebox. My solution to the same problem has been to lightly wire brush the firebox, remove any soot and ash, and spray with high-temperature paint intended for barbecues. The paint may well scorch off where the flames touch it but the back of the firebox will look neater and cleaner than before.
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