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How To Paint A Fireplace Mantel White

Are you looking for an easy and inexpensive way to makeover your living room? Painting just one thing in space can give it a fresh look. Learn how to paint a fireplace mantel white to help update your living room.

before oak mantel with arrow pointing to after fireplace mantel painted white.

We recently added a wonderful new screened-in porch to our house off of our family room. From our living room you would look out at this new construction.

It definitely made our old oak mantel look even more dated compared to the fresh white and gray built porch.

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What is the easiest way to makeover a fireplace or space?

You may be shocked on this one, but I am going to say that paint is the easiest way to makeover your brick fireplace or mantel.

(Yea, I know you aren’t shocked, we use paint around here ALL the time).

I do love DIY painting projects. If you are pressed for time or just looking for a quick way to update your living room the paint is the way to go.

Here are the steps we used to paint our oak mantel white and fireplace cover.

Updating Our Fireplace Mantel

Now was my time to figure out some good DIY projects to help update our space so that the outdoor and indoor spaces worked together! One of the first projects we knew we had to do was to do a small DIY fireplace makeover.

The “Before” Oak Mantel

Oak mantle on stone fireplace with gold and black fireplace cover.

When we moved into this house, everything was OAK! I know no one wants all that orange oak in their house.

We have painted molding, doors, gel stained bathroom vanity cabinets and painted pillars in our basement to update our home.

Once our screened-in porch was complete, our fireplace mantle that was OAK stood out like a sore thumb.

Recommended Supplies

How To Paint Oak Fireplace Mantel White

Step 1: Sand Mantel

Lightly sand with the grain of the wood. This is to clean up any debris and will help the primer stick. Your goal is to just scuff up the surface to help your primer adhere.

Fine sand paper being used to lightly rough up oak mantle before painting for DIY fireplace makeover.

Step 2: Use A Deglosser

Using a soft cloth or paper towel, pour some of the deglosser on and rub it all over the oak wood. We use this product all the time to prep surfaces before painting.

Oak mantle using a deglosser to prep for painting.

Step 3: Apply Primer

Carefully apply the bonding primer to the clean wood. The most important part of this part of the project is that you make sure to cover everything while not allowing it to drip. It will not be super pretty, yet, but it will be covered with the primer.

You can also paint with a small foam roller for the larger flat areas. This will help you get a smoother finish.

hand holding paint brush with primer on it and part of oak mantel painted white.

Step 4.: Let Primer Dry

I ended up painting this mantel during my kids’ naps on three different days. You could do this DIY fireplace makeover in one day, you just have to make sure each layer of primer or paint has dried before going to the next layer.

Half of oak mantle primed with the other part still needed to be primed.

Step 5: Use Latex Enamel Paint

Paint two coats of latex white enamel paint to create a finished DIY mantel makeover. Orignally we used Sherwin Williams ProClassic Latex Enamel in Pure White.

We now recommended Sherwin Williams Urethane Trim Enamel when painting oak.

This product was amazing to work with when we painted our oak kitchen cabinets white.

Read more>>>Pick the Right White Paint For Oak

Painted oak fireplace mantel with white paint.

Optional Cheap Fireplace Update Idea

Next on the list for our DIY fireplace makeover was the fireplace cover. New ones can be very expensive and they aren’t always the easiest to remove. We know because we removed the one at our last house.

Use Spray Paint On Your Cover

Tape off areas you won’t want to get paint on and use heat-resistant spray paint to change the metal color to fit your style.

Old fireplace cover getting spray painted to update fireplace cover with silver spray paint and taped out to only get the metal on the cover.

Use spray paint to add two smooth coats of paint carefully.

This was such a simple and easy DIY fireplace cover makeover using spray paint. I can’t believe we didn’t do it sooner. 

Just peel the tape off carefully and you have a new fireplace cover for almost nothing!

Learn From Our Mistake

Don’t use paper towels to protect your glass. The spray paint did leak through. Luckily we were able to come up with a simple solution to our problem.

See how we removed the spray paint here

Silver metal and black fireplace cover and DIY white painted mantel with brown stone fireplace.

Mantel Painting Tips

  • Use caulk to fill any gaps in your mantel if needed before priming. There is one small spot in the picture above, but for the most part, my fireplace mantel did not need caulking.
  • Place brush in a sealed large ziploc bag when not using. This way you only have to wash a brush once. *Don’t be like me and forget about them or else it can be a little more difficult to paint.
  • Paint with the wood grain for a nice and smooth look.

How-To FAQs

What paint should you use to paint a fireplace mantel?

In the past, we have used Sherwin Williams Proclassic White Enamel Paint in semi-gloss.
However, after repainting our kitchen cabinets, I would recommend Sherwin Williams Urethane Trim Enamel to paint your oak mantel. The Proclassic line worked really well, but this newer Emerald paint has such an amazing finish.

Can you use Benjamin Moore Paint?

Yes, Benjamin Moore Advance is a similar product to SW Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel.

What if I don’t want to see any of the grain?

If you are concerned about grain, then we recommend a product called Aquacoat Grain Filler. You apply it in thin layers before you begin primer and sand it to a smooth finish.

Can you use a paint sprayer?

Yes, you will get wonderful results if you know what you are doing. Since our mantel wasn’t that big we were very happy using a quality paint brush and small foam roller.

Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

Painted White Oak Mantel

Related “Oak” reading

Check out all of our DIY projects (9 of them!) that helped us update our home by updating of the oak trim, cabinets and doors in our home.

Future Ideas

I love how our finished mantel and updated fireplace cover look. This was just enough to help refresh our living room cheaply. However, I am still not sold on the brown-colored stone that makes up our fireplace.

Most of the information I have found showed successful red brick getting painted, or whitewashed.

I am not 100% sure if these DIY paint techniques will work on the rough fireplace stone I have. For now, we are happy with our more modern-looking and white fireplace mantel.

before oak mantel with arrow pointing to after fireplace mantel painted white.

How To Paint An Oak Fireplace Mantel White

Learn how to easily paint your fireplace mantel with a brush and small foam roller.
Print Pin Rate
Keyword: cheap fireplace update, DIY fireplace idea, how to paint fireplace mantel, painted white fireplace mantel
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 2 hours
Dry Time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 2 hours 30 minutes
Author: Erin
Cost: $25

Equipment

  • Paintbrush
  • Small Foam Roller

Recommended Supplies

  • Deglosser
  • 220 Fine sandpaper
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Bonding Primer
  • White Latex Enamel Paint Our Current Favorite is SW Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel

Instructions

  • Lightly sand mantel.
    Fine sand paper being used to lightly rough up oak mantle before painting for DIY fireplace makeover.
  • Wipe down surface with deglosser on rag. Make sure mantel is dust free.
    Oak mantle using a deglosser to prep for painting.
  • Use bonding primer with a brush and small foam roller to apply primer.
    hand holding paint brush with primer on it and part of oak mantel painted white.
  • Let primer fully dry.
  • Apply two coats of latex enamel paint using a brush and small foam roller.
    Painted oak fireplace mantel with white paint.
  • Let fully dry and cure before decorating your white mantel.
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Trina Welch

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Looks great! You did a great job.

Erin

Thursday 8th of August 2019

Thank you. We love when a little paint can really update a space.

Agnes

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

I absolutely love what you did! Keeper!

Erin

Thursday 8th of August 2019

Hi, Anges. Thanks. We love it when a simple DIY paint technique can help update a space.

Erin

Thursday 8th of August 2019

Hi, Anges. Thanks. We love when a simple DIY paint technique can help update a space.

Derek| The Money Family

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Looks great! I love painting over that old oak style. It totally transforms the room.

Erin

Thursday 8th of August 2019

Hi Derek. Thanks for the kind comment. We are slowly getting rid of all the OAK in our house! Oak has got to go!

Supriya

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

I absolutely love DIYs and this one is simply good.

Erin

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

Thanks, Supriya! I love when DIY projects can update a space while staying on budget!

Jaimi

Monday 29th of July 2019

You did a fabulous job! Well done! And great step by step instructions!

Erin

Monday 29th of July 2019

Hi Jaimi! Thanks for the kind words. I love when easy DIY projects can really help transform a space. The paint really works wonders!

Erin

Monday 29th of July 2019

Hi Jaimi! Thanks for the kind words. I love when easy DIY projects can really help transform a space. Paint really works wonders!

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