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How to Prepare and Paint a Wood Stove

Posted by Jeffrey Swerdan on Nov 9th 2023

How to Prepare and Paint a Wood Stove

How to Prepare and Paint a Woodburning Stove

If you have a wood stove that is starting to look a little old and faded, you may think that your only option is to replace it with a brand-new wood stove. While purchasing a wood stove can be a good option, it is not your only option. If the wood stove is still in good shape structurally, there is a more cost-effective option and that is to repaint it. Repainting a wood stove can give it a fresh clean look and it can also help protect the stove from corrosion and heat damage.

To properly paint your wood stove it's best to choose high temp, heat-resistant paint from a brand like Stove Bright

Not all brands and styles of paint are created equal. The standard paint you find at your local hardware store is great for repainting walls, but not for painting fireplaces and wood stoves. You want to make sure that the paint you choose is specifically designed to be used with heating appliances. Northline Express offers a wide variety of hi-temp Stove Paint that is designed to withstand temperatures up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. Standard paint will crack, chip, and break apart after just one or two burns and will release harmful chemicals into the space once it starts heating up.

Stovebright brand hi-temp paint comes in spray cans, and brush-on cans, and also has a primer available

Since 1978 Stove Bright High Temperature Paint has been the stove industry standard for wood, pellet, and gas stoves. With its proven performance as a durable, color-fast high-temperature paint, Stove Bright continues to lead the high-temperature liquid coatings market for wood and gas stoves and caters to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) market with bulk paint.

Stove Bright brand hi temp paint offers 36 different paint colors and there are options for spray paint cans or pint-size cans that can be applied with a paintbrush. Stove Bright high-temperature paint is perfect for wood stoves, fireplace inserts, radiators, engines, auto exhaust, manifolds, mufflers, barbecues, and anywhere else where high heat is a factor. It will revitalize even the most faded wood stoves and give them new life.

It is recommended that Stove Bright Primer is used before painting items that are going to be outdoors. For items that will remain indoors, it is recommended to use Stove Bright prep and cleaner prior to painting the item.

What tools and materials are needed to prepare and paint a Wood Stove?

You will only need a handful of items in order to complete this project. Here is a list of the materials you will need to gather prior to starting the project.

  1. High-temperature paint that is suitable for wood stoves - It is important to make sure that the paint you purchase has been approved for use with your wood stove. Regular paint found at your local hardware store is not rated for use with such high temperatures. You want to make sure that the paint is approved for temperatures up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. A wire brush or steel wool
  3. Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
  4. Drop cloths or newspapers to protect the floor and the area around the wood stove
  5. Masking tape or painter's tape to cover any details or glass that you don't want to get paint on
  6. Paint thinner mineral spirits cleaning products designed for cleaning wood stoves before painting
  7. Respirator or mask
  8. Safety goggles
  9. Gloves
  10. Clean cloth or rags
  11. Paintbrush or paint sprayer (if applicable)
  12. Stove polish (optional)

What steps are required to take when painting the wood stove from top to bottom?

To paint your wood stove from top to bottom, have a look at the following steps:

  1. Disconnect and Move the Wood Stove:
    • Disconnect the stove from the chimney
    • If possible move the appliance out of the home
  2. Safety Precautions:

    • Make sure the wood stove is completely cold
    • Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes
    • Wear safety goggles, a respirator or mask, and gloves to protect yourself
  3. Surface Preparation:
    • Remove any loose debris, dust, and ashes from the stove's exterior surface
    • Inspect the entire stove for any rust, peeling, or blistering
    • Use a wire brush or steel wool to scrub away rust, peeling paint, or any surface imperfections
    • You can also use abrasive pads designed for cleaning and preparing surfaces - These pads can help remove rust, paint, and other surface imperfections effectively
    • Sand the surface with medium-grit sandpaper to create a smooth base for the new paint
  4. Cleaning:

    • Wipe down the stove with a clean cloth to remove any remaining dust and residue
    • Then you can use paint thinner or mineral spirits to remove any grease, grime, or any residual paint - These solvents are effective in cleaning surfaces and preparing them for painting. Be sure to follow safety precautions and proper disposal methods when using these chemicals
    • There are also some manufacturers who make specific products designed for cleaning a wood stove surface before painting - These products may include a combination of degreasers, rust removers, and surface cleaners. Look for those labeled for use on wood stoves and follow the manufacturer's instructions
    • Use clean, lint-free cloths or rags to wipe down the stove and remove any dust, debris, or residue after cleaning and sanding. Make sure the cloth is free of any contaminants that could transfer onto the surface
  5. Masking:

    • Use masking tape to cover any areas you don't want to paint, such as glass windows, handles, and decorative elements
  6. Priming (if necessary):

    • Some high-temperature paints do not require a primer. However, if the paint you've chosen does, apply a heat-resistant primer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Allow it to dry completely
    • Priming is especially important if you are painting a wood stove that remains outdoors
  7. Painting:

    • Shake or stir the high-temperature paint well to ensure it's mixed thoroughly.
    • Apply the paint using a paintbrush or paint sprayer, following the manufacturer's guidelines for the specific product
    • Apply thin, even coats, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next one. Typically, 2-3 coats are recommended
    • Be careful not to apply the paint too thickly, as it can lead to drips and uneven coverage
    • If you're paint is not sticking, then it means that you will need to do a deeper cleaning on the wood stove. The paint will only adhere as well to whatever is already on the stove. So, proper preparation is key
  8. Drying:

    • Allow the paint to dry completely between coats and after the final coat. Refer to the paint manufacturer's instructions for recommended drying times
  9. Final Touches (Optional):

    • Once the paint is dry, you can apply stove polish or a clear coat of paint to give the stove a glossy finish and added protection. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for applying the polish or clear coat
  10. Cleanup:

    • Clean your brushes, sprayer, and other tools with paint thinner or mineral spirits, following the manufacturer's recommendations
  11. Reassemble:

    • Remove any masking tape and reattach any removed parts and accessories
  12. Cure the Paint:

    • Before using the wood stove, it's essential to cure the paint - Light a small fire in the stove and gradually increase the temperature over a few hours to help the paint cure properly. This step is crucial for the paint to withstand high temperatures
    • While the paint is curing there will be a slight chemical odor, which is why you need to do this in a well-ventilated area
  13. Move the Appliance Back (if applicable)

Keep in mind that it's important to choose a high-temperature paint designed for wood stoves, as regular paint will not withstand extreme heat and can pose safety risks. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the paint can for the best results and to ensure your repainted wood stove remains in good condition.

Don't forget to update your accessories when refinishing your wood stove

When you are considering repainting your wood stove to make it look new and rejuvenated, don't forget to take some time to update the area around the wood stove as well. Here are some items to consider replacing or updating:

  • Stove gaskets: This is a great time to replace worn or damaged stove gaskets around doors and windows. This can improve the stove's seal which will ensure an airtight operation. Having an airtight seal will help improve your wood stove's efficiency and will help you get more out of your wood fuel
  • Stovepipe Thermometer: A stovepipe thermometer helps monitor the temperature of the stovepipe, ensuring you're burning wood at the right temperature for efficient and safe operation
  • Stove fans and blowers: Stove fans, also known as heat-powered fans or eco-fans, help distribute heat more effectively throughout the room by utilizing the stove's heat to power a fan. They can enhance heating efficiency
  • Stove Gloves: High-temperature stove gloves are designed to protect your hands when adding wood or adjusting the stove. They are heat-resistant and help prevent burns

  • Firewood Holders and Racks: Storing firewood in a neat and organized manner not only makes it easier to access but also adds to the aesthetic appeal of your stove area

  • Fireplace Screens or Fireplace Doors: Adding decorative screens or glass doors can enhance the safety of your wood stove by preventing sparks and embers from escaping and also provide a stylish look

  • Stovepipe Damper: A stovepipe damper allows you to control the draft and, therefore, the burn rate of your wood stove. It can help regulate the heat output and increase fuel efficiency

  • Stove Paint:It is a good idea to buy some extra paint of the same brand and finish. This way if you ever need to touch up the paint you will have a perfect match on hand. Over time some colors may get discontinued, so having an extra bit of paint on hand will prevent you from needing to repaint the entire wood stove again

  • Fireplace Tool Set: A fireplace tool set usually comes with a combination of a poker, a brush, a shovel, and a pair of tongs. A good quality fireplace tool set is handy for maintaining and cleaning your wood stove, as well as tending to the fire

  • Firewood Carriers: If you need to transport firewood from an outdoor storage area to your wood stove, a firewood carrier can be a practical accessory to have

  • Hearth Pads: If your wood stove sits on a combustible floor surface, a hearth pad can be added for safety and to protect the floor from heat

  • Hearth Rugs: Hearth Rugs are fire-resistant decorative floor coverings that can add style and protection to the area in front of the wood stove door
  • Stove Pipe Heat Shields: Heat shields can be installed on the wall or ceiling behind the stovepipe to protect combustible surfaces from excessive heat

  • Stove Pipe Elbows and Extensions: This is a great time to inspect your stove and chimney pipe to make sure they are in good shape. You may need various stove pipe fittings to properly vent your wood stove, including elbows, extensions, and other components

Also, this is a great time to add new decorative items to the area as well. If you have a free-standing wood stove you may want to think about repainting the wall behind the wood stove to give an accent wall to the area. You can also add non-combustible panels to the wall, to give it a brick or stone look. You just have to make sure that you adhere to clearance requirements for your wood stove appliance.

FAQ - Preparing and Painting a Wood Stove

What kind of paint do you use on a wood stove? Can I paint my wood-burning stove with high-heat paint?

You want to make sure that the paint you choose is specifically designed to be used with heating appliances. Northline Express offers a wide variety of hi-temp Stove Paint that is designed to withstand temperatures up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do you paint the inside of a wood stove?

Typically, the inside of a wood stove is not painted. The primary reason is that the extreme heat and direct flame contact can cause the paint to crack, peel, and emit harmful fumes. Instead, the interior is often treated with a protective oil that can withstand high temperatures and help prevent rust. However, if you notice significant rusting, you might want to consider applying a high-temperature rust-resistant paint. Always remember, that safety is paramount, and hence, any paint used should be specifically designed for high-heat applications.

For some appliances, there are interior accessories such as fire brick that can be added to give the interior a bit more appeal.

How to cure wood stove paint?

The curing process is a critical step when repainting a wood stove or any high-temperature surface. Curing is essential to ensure that the paint adheres properly and can withstand the extreme heat generated by the wood stove. The exact curing time can vary depending on the type of high-temperature paint you use and the manufacturer's instructions.

You want to begin the process by lighting a small, low-intensity fire in the wood stove. For this step, you should keep the stove door slightly open to allow for proper ventilation.

Then you will gradually increase the temperature of the fire over several hours. You want to avoid rapid temperature spikes, so make sure not to rush this step.

Once the wood stove is at its maximum temperature output that the stove is designed to handle, you want to hold this temperature for 30 minutes to one hour.

After the hold time, you can start to gradually cool down the wood stove by letting the fire burn out or closing any air vents. Be advised it can take several hours for the stove to cool down completely, but you need to let the stove cool down naturally. 

After going through the baking process the paint should be fully bonded and able to withstand the high temperatures that your wood stove can generate. The paint should not blister or peel.

Can you paint a wood stove any color or can you only paint it black?

When it comes to painting your wood stove, you're not limited to just black. Various paints are specifically designed for wood stoves and come in a range of colors. For instance, Stove Bright, a reputable brand, offers a wide array of colors such as Metallic Blue, Metallic Brown, Copper, and Mahogany, among others. Depending on your home decor and personal preference, you can choose a color that best matches your style. However, always ensure the paint is high temperature and heat resistant, as these are key properties for durability and safety.

Where can I go to learn more about painting a wood stove?

You can check out our Resource Center for helpful articles, such as:

You can also check out the Northline Express YouTube Page for some great videos.

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In our wood stove accessories collection we carry a large selection of wood stove paint in a variety of colors to keep your wood stove looking as new as the day you bought it.

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