Over time your backyard fire pit can begin to look a little worse for wear. But before you toss it in the trash, consider restoring it. You’ll save yourself the expense of a new fire pit, and keep it out of the landfill.
With a little elbow grease and some specialty paint, you can restore your fire pit to a better condition, and extend its use. So, let’s explore how to paint a fire pit, and get stuck into this DIY backyard project!
Step 1: Collect Supplies
Before you start painting, you’ll need a few things. Here’s what you need to get:
- High Heat Spray Paint. Check out our list of best fire pit paints before you buy.
- Sandpaper: Use at least 220 grit for the best results. Look for sandpaper specifically designed to work on metal surfaces.
- Tack cloth: A lint-free tack cloth for wiping down the fire pit after sanding.
- Old paper, cardboard, and painters tape to protect the inside of the fire pit (not needed with solid fire bowl designs) or any area you don’t want to paint.
- Denatured alcohol: Klean-Strip Denatured Alcohol works wonders.
- PPE – gloves, eye protection, and a respiratory mask are recommended.
- Heavy-duty scrubber, wash cloth and dish soap.
Step 2: Clean
Empty the ashes from the fire pit. Using warm soapy water, give the fire pit a good scrub to remove any grease, soot, or tough dirt spots. Be thorough here – you need a clean surface for the paint to adhere to. Allow to dry.
Step 3: Sand
Once your fire pit is clean and dry, sand the outside of the fire pit to create a rough texture and remove any loose paint. Sanding the metal will help the paint grip the surface better.
The process requires a bit of elbow grease, but you can do it. If you have a rusty fire pit, use a wire brush to get rid of the stubborn rust spots.
Step 4: Wipe Down With Denatured Alcohol
Use a tack cloth to wipe away dust, metal and rust particles from the fire pit. You can also follow by wiping down the surfaces to be painted with denatured alcohol.
Denatured alcohol can irritate your skin, so use gloves and wear a mask. Leave the fire pit to dry. The process shouldn’t take more than thirty to forty minutes. Use a tack cloth one last time for any other particles.
Step 5: Paint
Start by laying down a drop cloth to cover the ground and any outdoor furniture. Mask off any controls, components or the inside of your fire pit.
High heat paints are not designed to be used on cooking grills, or the inside of your fire pit. Only paint the exterior.
Once the workspace is prepared, spray the paint evenly from a few inches away. Wait until each coat dries before spraying another coat.
Some paints need to be cured with heat (up to 500°F) otherwise they will peel or flake back off your fire pit. Our recommended paint is Krylon, which does not require curing.
Wait at least 24 hours after painting with Krylon before using your fire pit.
Things to Consider:
That process should help you get the job done. But here are a few things to consider before you start the project:
- Using primer: If you paint a metal fire pit, you can use a primer. But a simple sanding should also suffice. If you’re using a primer, use one for metals.
- Spray paint vs. brush paint: Spray paint is better for metal surfaces. It’s faster, and the application is more even. If you spray paint a fire pit, do it in a well-ventilated area.
- Letting the paint cure: Your paint needs to cure for a lasting finish. Check the manufacturer’s instructions or let the paint cure for 1-2 days, even if it feels dry to the touch.
- Curing with heat: Some high-heat paints need to be cured with heat. Check the manufacturer’s instructions in this regard.
- Finishing with a clear coat or sealant is optional. Most outdoor paints have sealing properties. But you can apply another coat for additional protection.
Tips to Keep Your Fire Pit Looking New for Longer
Here is some advice to keep your fire pit looking its best:
Clean It Regularly
Clean your fire pit after every use. Remove the ashes, leftover wood and charcoal. Ashes can absorb moisture from the air, contributing to rust on your fire pit.
Let it Burn Out Naturally
Never put out a metal fire pit with water. This can cause the welds to rapidly expand and contract, and potentially fail. Water will also contribute to rust formation.
Cover the Fire Pit
If you’re not using the fire pit, keep it covered. In this way, factors like rain and humidity won’t have an impact. Keep it elevated so that water doesn’t collect under it.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Paint a Fire Pit
How do you rustproof a fire pit?
You can rustproof a fire pit by applying a bit of vegetable oil to the surface. Usually, the paint should protect the metal from humidity and prevent rust. But this is like an extra protection layer. Other measures include getting a fire pit cover and regular maintenance.
Can you paint fire pit stones?
If you are using stones for decoration around the outside of a fire pit, you can paint them. If the stones come into contact with the flames, do not paint them. The paint will not withstand the heat of the fire and peel off the stones.
Can you paint a concrete fire pit?
You can paint a concrete fire pit. Before that, you have to repair any cracks and other issues to make the surface smooth. Later, use concrete paint that’s suitable for outdoor use and resistant to heat.
Can you paint a propane fire pit?
You can paint a propane fire pit using the same method. However, you need to be careful. Don’t get the paint on any burners or gas lines, as that can damage the fire pit. Mask these places off before you start.
Can you paint the inside of a fire pit?
You should not paint the inside of a fire pit. The heat of the fire can cause the paint to peel off. In the worst-case scenario, it could release toxic fumes that are harmful to your health.
What kind of paint do you use on a fire pit?
The best paint for a fire pit is a specialty high heat enamel such as Krylon High Heat Max. These paints withstand temperatures up to 1200°F and are designed for use on the exterior of fire pits.
What color is best for a fire pit?
Black is the best color for a fire pit. Black can hide any dust or signs of wear and tear. Alternatively, you can use copper to give off a more elegant or temporary look. Ultimately, it depends on your preference and the color scheme of the existing decor.
Now that you know how to refinish a fire pit, it’s time to start working. The process is easy, but you should spare some time to do a good job. Always work in a well-ventilated space and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the paint. Don’t let some rust get in the way of your good time!