Ask Angie: Is painting a chimney a good idea?
Dear Angie: We want to paint the outside of our chimney to our house, which is heated by gas. What type of paint should we use? Will regular exterior paint work? Do we need some type of sealant? – F.J., New York
Dear F.J.: First, I recommend you consult a chimney professional to ensure painting your chimney is a good idea. Painting a chimney can trap moisture inside the brick. This moisture can expand and contract during each freeze/thaw cycle, potentially compromising the structural integrity of the chimney.
If your chimney contractor gives you the green light and you do decide to paint, the type of paint you need will depend on the exterior type of your chimney. If it is just a stainless steel flue, a high quality, high heat paint – which can be brushed or sprayed on – would likely work best.
However, if it is a brick or stucco surface, your best option might be to prime it with a masonry primer/sealer. This will help prevent the masonry from peeling and will help ensure an even, long-lasting finish. After applying the primer, you’ll want to let it dry fully, and then paint over it with an acrylic paint. Once you’ve applied the paint, you should not need to do any additional sealing.
Another thing to keep in mind is the personal risk you’ll take in attempting to paint the chimney yourself.
About 136,000 Americans end up in the ER each year due to ladder-related injuries, according to a 2007 study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy. So after you’ve talked to your chimney professional, but before you climb up on that roof, make sure it’s something you have the right equipment and are physically able to do. You’ll want to have someone on the ground watching out for you for as long as you’re up on the roof, just as a precaution.
If you’re at all worried or fearful about working at that height, I recommend you call in an exterior painter, who is properly insured, has experience working with exterior brick and has the correct equipment and training to do the job safely.
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