Cleaning / Prepping Brick Hearth for Paint

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Black Mariah

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I have a brick hearth in a family room. Not a fireplace. It's a corner hearth pad (brick) and brick walls about 3 ft. in height, where a wood burning stove used to sit. Will eventually place a wood stove back in this location.
See photo.

I want to paint or stain the brick and mortar to a consistent white, or off-white, or light grey color -- to be more in keeping with the interior design of the rest of the house. There is some soot and staining, mainly on the horizontal "floor" surface.

My questions are: 1) What is best method for cleaning / prepping the brick for accepting paint or stain? and 2) What is best type of paint / stain / coating to use?

Since this is an interior space we are living in, I want to limit the amount of dust (so I don't want to use a wire brush) and since the bricks are right up against wall-to-wall carpet at the floor and right up against painted wood panels on the walls, any method that uses excessive amounts of water (e.g. pressure washing) just won't be possible. I'm worried about using any sort of acid, because I'm afraid I won't be able to keep it away from the carpet and painted walls.

So, what would be the best way to clean the brick and prep for paint in this situation?

What sort of coating would be best to use? Some say: "Just use latex paint". Others say "use concrete paint", other say "must use a stain". Stills others suggest a paint containing plaster (kind of like the stucco coating you see in the Greek islands).

Since this is not a fireplace itself, but instead a surround for a wood-burning stove... there will be heat, but not excessive heat as would exist inside a traditional fireplace.

Thanks in advance. All suggestions welcome -- except for "Looks fine to me. Just leave it alone." ;)
 
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oldognewtrick

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Go to a Sherwin-Williams, Porter Paint or whatever brand stores convienient to you and ask them to reccomend a product for your application. The big box stores do not carry the same quality of products. A paint store has employees who have greater knowledge than what you get at the Big retailers. Just my 2 cents.
 

Black Mariah

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That's good advice, but -- at the same time -- I've represented / sold many a product in my own life that I had not used in real life situations. Only knew what the manufacturer told me. Looking for people who have actual experience, either good or bad.
 

oldognewtrick

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If you follow the Mfgs directions, you'll most likely be ok. I personally dislike painted brick. It doesn't allow the brick to breathe. If it were mine, I'd look at a stain made specifically for brick.
 
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