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topic 38381

Refinishing, painting, or powder coating fireplace screens


A discussion started in 2005 but continuing through 2019

2005

Q. I have a 40 year old house with two fireplace doors (and the frames around them) that the previous owner must have tried to clean with a brass cleaner ... they are in bad shape.
Can they be recoated or painted a dark color? It is a wood burning fireplace.

Sheila Borowski
mom - Fergus Falls, Minnesota, USA


2005

A. Hi Sheila.

Test with a magnet to see if they are non-magnetic solid brass (unlikely) or magnetic brass plated steel. If solid brass, they can be re-polished, although it may be a bigger job than you want to do yourself. If they are plated, the plating is probably worn through so your choices would be limited to sending them to a plating shop for re-plating, or to paint them. Paint doesn't stick well to brass, so scrub them first with a scrub brush and laundry detergent or trisodium phosphate [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], then use a Self-Etching Primer [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] to get some tooth. Then you can hopefully paint them with whatever color paint you wish. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha



2005

Q. I have an old fireplace screen from the seventies that I wanted to clean up and dress up.
The old pink marble around it is going to be changed out to a nice contemporary earthy slate.

So it's been suggested to me that I simply take it outside and (after laying it out on cardboard), spray paint it to give it a nice new even coating. I want it black and have "BBQ black" for the job.

This was recommended by two powder-coaters who thought the high heat of their process might warp the metal and not enable the paint to bake to sufficient temperatures to be used in a fireplace.

Are there any dangers or cautions in hand-sanding a brass-plated metal? I have a hand sander and I've started, but don't know if I should allow the brass metal dust to dust up into the environment. Should I collect it and dispose of it somehow? Should I wear a face mask?

Fran Lyman
student/hobbyist - Kirkland, Washington


Respirator, Sanding

2005

A. Brass is not a hazardous material requiring collection; it's an alloy of copper and zinc, which are both essential micronutrients, not toxins. But it is not good for your lungs to breathe dusts or small particles of anything. Always wear at least a dust mask =>
and eye protection when sanding anything whatsoever. BBQ spray paint is fine as a topcoat [Krylon BBQ & Stove paint [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]], but paint sticks poorly to brass even if it is sanded, so try a self-etching primer first. And again, the painter's mask -- you don't want your lung sacs coated with even a little bit of black paint :-)

Best,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha



December 2, 2010

Q. Hi,
My name is Valerie & this seems like a helpful site regarding finishing metal surfaces. I bought a black wrought iron fireplace screen because I loved the look of it and it only came in this color.
My question is can I buy a Krylon metallic spray paint in the matte nickel finish [Krylon Brushed Nickel [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] ] to spray over the black? I wasn't sure if it would go over the black ok and if putting this kind of paint on the screen would make it flammable when there is a fire in the fireplace next to it?
Thank you so much for your help.
Val

Valerie Beaudette
- Palmer, Massachusetts, USA


December 2, 2010

A. Hi, Valerie.

Even made-for-purpose black stove paint smokes for the first couple of fires, but I don't think that paint on metal is a serious fire hazard. Once the solvents have evaporated there isn't much flammable material left on the surface. But I'm not sure the look will hold up well considering the heat, and possibility of smoke and creosote stains.

Still, rattle cans of paint are cheap, so it's probably worth a try. (Krylon is a trade-name, and I think all similar metallic spray paints will react similarly regardless of brand).

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


December 3, 2010

thumbs up signTed, thank you for your advice. I appreciate it. I'll give the Krylon a try & hope for the best.
Val.

Valerie Beaudette [returning]
- Palmer, Massachusetts


Eastwood Hotcoat Kit

October 9, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I have a fireplace front that is gold plated over nickel. Can I powder coat over the gold plating?

Thanks,

Julie Salvitti
- Olympia, Washington, USA


October 9, 2012

A. Hi Julie.

We appended your question to a thread on similar subjects. I think the cleaning with TSP and priming with self-etching primer as related to Sheila B would be applicable. But if you are sending it out for powder coating, inquire of the shop first because some won't accept responsibility if someone else has done the priming.

I do find it very hard to believe that it is gold plated though, unless it's a super-premium unit costing thousands of dollars. My bet is it's brass plated or has a gold-tone lacquer over nickel plating. Best of luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha



April 30, 2013

Q. I have a very old copper fireplace screen, early 1900. I want to clean it up and get the copper look back.
I started in a corner of it and it's like it has a silver coating covering it. Does anyone know what I should do?

old fireplace screen

Shannon Bostrom
- Commerce City, Colorado, United State


May 7, 2013

A. Hi Shannon. You are calling it "copper", and I agree that the color is a copper tone. But please start by telling us whether it is magnetic or not as the first clue to what it actually is made of. Thanks.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


May 7, 2013

Q. Hi,
This is a full sheet of copper. It is not magnetic. In the 1900s they did a hot oil over to protect the copper from the heat. I believe that is the silver color I am getting.

Shannon Sharp
- Commerce City, Colorado, United States


May 10, 2013

A. I thought I understood the pic, but I guess I don't. The bottom left, which seems illuminated and focused enough to see well, seems to show the copper with a nice "burnished in the high areas, dark in the recesses" look. Whereas the top left and the left-to-middle/top-to-middle areas look brightened like it was made of steel or was nickel plated or silver plated. And you say this is on top of the solid copper.

You could try scrubbing with a strong copper polish like Revere Copper and Stainless Polish or a mix of vinegar, salt, and flour ... but since I don't understand quite what I'm looking at, I can't suggest it with a lot of confidence. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha



January 27, 2015

Q. My painter was working on painting my brass and glass fireplace doors. They were washed down, rough sanded, and painted with Krylon 2x brown paint and primer. They looked really good after they were sprayed. The next day I noticed that there was an area that looked shallow in the light. Later when the light changed I realized that the paint was lighter in a straight line area. Called the painter and he came back. As soon as he finished taping and started to spray the area the area he sprayed started to get a blistering look. It dried hard. Is there anything that you can recommend?

Annette Finch
- Memphis, Tennessee, United States


January 2015

A. Hi Annette. When a professional painter doesn't know what went wrong, it's hard for third parties to figure it out from a sketchy description. If the top coat was the same as he did the previous day, so there was no compatibility issue, it sounds like the previous paint wasn't quite dry. Another possibility is that either you or the painter waxed the doors after painting (paint won't stick to wax). A third possibility is that your "2x" paint and primer just isn't good enough for brass. Brass is one of the hardest materials to get good adhesion on, and it really must have a self-etching primer; I'm not sure the paint you used is really a self-etching primer. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha



April 10, 2016

Q. I HAVE A FIREPLACE ENCLOSURE WITH GLASS DOORS AND BLACK MESH SCREENS. WHERE THE FIRE BURNED TOO CLOSE TO THE SCREEN, IT HAS TURNED GRAY, HOW DO I RESTORE THE BLACK FINISH SO THAT IT IS UNIFORM?

JAMES JONES
- OYSTER BAY NEW YORK USA


Stove Paint

April 2016

A. Hi James. I'd probably start with taking the mesh down and cleaning it with a scrub brush and detergent. It could be that some of the grayness is just ash and soot. If it's still gray, just spray it with a black high temperature paint =>

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha



August 3, 2019

Q. I want to paint my brass fireplace doors. A self etching primer is recommended under my high heat paint. I cannot find a primer that says it is both high-heat and self etching. Is there one out there? Any other recommendation?

Gail McCulloch
- Shreveport, Louisiana, United States


August 2019

A. Hi Gail. Although I don't think fireplace screens get especially hot, glass fireplace doors probably do. The basic incompatibility of brass with paint is the big issue, and even self-etching primers aren't a 100% guarantee. I'd suggest trying to lightly sand it, wash it with a 50-50 vinegar and water mix to try to etch it, quickly rinse and dry it, and try your high temperature paint before it's had much chance to oxidize.

Let us know what happens.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


August 4, 2019

thumbs up sign Thank you for the suggestion on painting my fireplace doors - I'll give it a try.

Gail McCulloch [returning]
- Shreveport Louisiana USA,



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