What Color To Paint Exterior Chimney (7 Best Ideas)

Painting your home, whether the interior or exterior, is one of the easiest ways to give it a makeover without undergoing a complete renovation. A fresh coat of paint works wonders by changing your house’s aesthetics and making it appear more inviting and welcoming. Sometimes, you do not need to repaint your whole home to give it an update; you can start with something small — like the chimney. With the right paint colors, you’ll be surprised how painting your exterior can significantly impact your house’s overall look.

Modern brick residential building with dark roof and chimney

Painting can initially seem like a big undertaking, but it can be done easily with the right colors, paint, and tools. Below, we take a closer look at the best color choices you can use to paint the exterior of a chimney, as well as some guidelines you can follow in choosing the right type of paint and finish that will fit your home. [toc]

Should You Paint Your Chimney?

Painting your chimney will not only make it look more attractive. Still, it will also make it last longer by adding an extra layer of protection against natural elements like the heat from the sun, moisture, and humidity. High-quality exterior paint will also prevent it from rusting over time.

Exterior Chimney Paint Ideas

Stylish house with garage cobblestone driveway and black chimney

Ultimately, the color of your chimney must complement your home’s exterior scheme and style, but at the same time, it should also reflect your aesthetic.

Before choosing any color, you must decide whether you want your chimney to stand out or blend with the rest of your house’s exterior. The visual effect that you want to prevail will affect your choice of the final color. Read more about our exterior house colors that sell guide.

Popular Colors to Paint a Chimney

Although it can be painted in any color, here are some of the most popular colors for exterior chimneys:

• White
• Beige
• Tan
• Cream
• Light Gray
• Black 
• Brick Red

Here is a guide for some of the best choices for exterior chimney colors, along with some of their descriptions:

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors are the most popular choice for exterior chimneys because they are fail-proof and versatile.

Shades of white, cream, beige, brown, and tan help create a more natural look and fit almost any color scheme. These colors are also widely available in any paint brand and generally cost less than “designer colors.”

Detail of modern metallic roof with white chimney

Painting your chimney white can help brighten up the exterior of your home, while a shade of off-white or beige can give it a softer look. On the other hand, tan can help render warmth and a more inviting feel.  Going with a shade of brown is also a safe choice and helps hide any dirt collected on the surface over time.

If your house has a contemporary or modern style, try neutral colors like black or gray for your chimney.

Contrasting Colors

If you want to add a more interesting visual effect and depth to the exterior of your home, try painting it with contrasting colors. You can create contrast in several ways, but the most popular method is to use complementary colors based on the color scheme.

Complementary Colors

These are colors that are directly opposite each other in the color wheel. It can be as simple as a classic black-and-white pairing or a more bold combination of colors like red and green, yellow and purple, or orange and blue.

The intensity of the colors may be adjusted, but it is best to keep them muted and subtle to prevent the overall exterior scheme of your home from being too overwhelming. This contrast can also be used on other parts of the house, like the trims or shutters, to make the overall look more cohesive.  

Brick residential building with black roof and white paneled chimneyMonochromatic Colors

Using a monochromatic scheme is one of the easiest design approaches in choosing your chimney’s color.  This means that your chimney and your house will be the same color. Choose a color two shades lighter or darker than the rest of your house’s exterior.

For example, if the overall paint of your house is dark chocolate brown, choose a light mocha for the chimney to create a bit of contrast or vice versa.

To make the whole look blend, you can also choose other shades for the trim and the shutters. Read more about shutters by visiting our guide to the various types of shutters.

Choosing colors from the same family will help create a more harmonious color scheme. This will also result in a subtle contrast between the different exterior details of your home.  

Best Paint For Exterior Brick Chimney

Mansion with black tile roof chimney garden and driveway

Painting is one of the best ways to spruce up a brick chimney. However, this area is more exposed to weather changes and can deteriorate quickly.

Water tends to seep and get trapped into the bricks and mortar; over time, the moisture contacts and expands, which damages the bricks and the paint that covers them.

Although masons tend not to recommend painting exterior chimneys because of their high exposure to outdoor elements, you can still paint them.

With proper paint and application, your brick surfaces will last longer. Make sure to follow the right steps to prevent any further damage. 

Brick chimney with beautiful forging

Like all masonry, a brick chimney is porous, which means it will easily accept any type of paint. Because of its porosity, the best applicator that you can use in painting brick chimneys is a paint sprayer.

This is much more efficient compared to using a paintbrush or roller. This method will also save you as much as 80 percent in terms of labor and time, and the coverage is better. 

When it comes to the type of paint, the best to use for exterior chimneys are high quality exterior latex paints. Latex paints are more flexible than oil-based paints.

Unlike the latter, which can harden and crack, latex is less prone to water damage and can handle temperature fluctuations better. In addition, latex paints also dry faster than other types of paints.

Painting your Chimney Exterior Tips

Here are some guidelines for painting your exterior brick:

Begin with a block filler. Before painting the brick, make sure to apply a block filler for your masonry. This is a thick product that is used in masonry preparation to fill in any gaps and pores in the surface.

Aside from making the masonry smooth, flat and uniformed, it also helps keep the water from seeping into the bricks. A block filler is applied before top coats like alkyd, epoxy and latex paint. It also ensures that the top coat adheres thoroughly.

Start applying your primer. Once your block filler dries, paint the chimney with a latex primer. You can use a high-temp primer if your brickwork is exposed to higher temperatures. Apply the paint using a sprayer and let them dry completely. 

Paint the chimney. Choosing the paint type or color will determine your chimney’s appearance. You can choose the color depending on your home’s exterior style and overall scheme. Make sure to use high-quality exterior latex paint

Yellow two story house with a lawn and a short driveway

Once the primer has dried, apply your paint of choice using a sprayer. Alternatively, you can use a roller with long fibers to cover the surface of the bricks. Use a small paintbrush to touch up the joint lines.

Apply a second or third coat as needed, and make sure to let each layer dry completely before applying a new one. Typically, you use two coats for light-colored paints. 

Ideally, the paint can be refreshed every five to eight years, just like any regular exterior house paint

Chimney Finishes for the Exterior

Galvanized metal chimney exhaust on asphalt roof with a rain cap

Before you paint your chimney, you first need to know the type of material it is made of. Knowing whether your exterior chimney is made up of masonry, stone, or metal will dictate the type of finishes that you can appropriately use. 

There are two main types of chimneys, namely masonry and metal. Masonry chimneys are built with stone, bricks, mortar, masonry or blocks. Concrete, pumice, and clay or ceramic are also collectively classified in this category.

On the other hand, metal chimneys are made with stainless steel, aluminum, or galvanized iron. This type is often prefabricated or factory-built. 

Many types of paints are available in the market, including latex, oil-based paints, acrylic, lacquer, epoxy, and high-temperature or high-heat paint. Each type typically comes in an exterior or interior formula.

For faux chimneys, you must determine what cladding or material is used. Most wood and stone cladding can be cleaned and lightly sanded with fine-grit sandpaper to help with adhesion. For wood and stone cladding use high-quality acrylic latex paint. For metal, opt for a paint specifically formulated for metal surfaces.

Below is a guide you can use when choosing exterior finishes.

Finishes for Metal Chimneys

Orange tile roof with chimney

Because exterior metal chimneys are subjected to high temperatures, the best type of paint that you can use is one that is specifically rated for high heat.  

High temperature acrylic latex paints are rated for a minimum of 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to use a primer and finishing color that can withstand high heat. High temperature paints come in aerosol or brush on forms.

Aerosols also have high heat paints, which you can use on metal chimneys. This is easy to use and can be effectively applied using continuous motion.

Make sure to use painter’s tape for any surrounding material so you don’t overspray. Do not hold the can too long in one spot to ensure it is dispersed evenly. 

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Brush-on high temperature paints come in liquid form and are applied using a brush or roller. When applying brush-on paints, make sure to apply using light, even strokes. You can add an extra coat if needed. 

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Preparation. Before painting your metal chimney, check it for any rust. Rust will not hold a coating effectively and must be removed before applying new finishing material.

You can use a steel wool pad to remove and san off any rust, then wipe any residue with a damp cloth.  You can also use high temperature primers before applying your color of choice on your exterior surfaces.

Finishes for Masonry Chimneys

Black brick chimney on roof of a house

For exterior masonry chimneys or brick, concrete, and stone chimneys, opt for any latex based paint and primer. Latex based paints are more suitable for this application because they are durable and breathable.

This type of paint is also preferred if your chimney is only used occasionally for a heater or fireplace; however, if your chimney is used extensively, you have to use high temperature latex paint.

Preparation. Painting a masonry chimney requires more preparation than other surfaces to ensure the finish adheres to the surface and lasts a long time.

This preparation includes thoroughly cleaning the cricks, including the cracks and crevices, and repairing any missing mortar.

Use a pressure washer to remove any dirt or flaking in the exterior chimney’s surface. Reapply mortar to any missing parts using a drywall knife, and let it dry completely before applying your paint of choice. 

For more related content, visit our guide to the types of chimneys here.

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