A.Painter Dan Greenough, a member of PaintCraft Associates, a San Francisco Bay-area guild of professional finishers, responds: If the bedroom can be occupied comfortably while the fireplace is in use, the bricks are probably not hot enough to cause durability or color problems with any high-quality paint.

Before painting the brick, inspect the surface for staining that may be the result of water penetration from the outside. If there is a sign of a white crystalline powder (efflorescence) on the surface of the brick, the underlying moisture will cause the paint to fail unless you repair the exterior first. Be sure to clean the surface to provide...

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