Can You Paint a Fire Pit?

When you put a fire pit in the backyard, aesthetic appeal is always a factor. People choose beautiful stones or interesting metalwork for their fire pits to complement their yards and make fires more pleasant to look at.

Like anything you leave outside over time, your fire pit will be affected by the elements, especially moisture. It might look dingy or rusty and even upset the appearance of your yard. Too much rust could ruin the fire pit and make it useless.

You might be wondering; is there any way I can restore a drab or rusty fire pit to its original glory? Does a fresh coat of paint work on something that gets so hot?

Fire pits can be painted, but you should only do so with high heat, fire-resistant paint. It’s a relatively easy process that, if done correctly, rustproofs your fire pit and keeps it looking new for a long time.

Read on to learn about why you should use this special type of paint and how to apply it to your fire pit the right way to ensure long-lasting color and rust prevention.

Why do you need to paint your Fire Pit?

Over time, exposure to the elements will cause your fire pit to look dingy. If it’s not properly covered after every use, dirt and dust will accumulate and dull the appearance of any fire glass or metal finishes. 

Like anything that’s exposed to flames, a layer of soot will also accumulate on the fire pit and add an additional layer of grime to its surfaces.

Although it’s possible to keep your fire pit clean with regular upkeep, it is still prone to rust through moisture in the air or the weather.

You may start to see rust appear in patches across its surfaces too, which can eventually render it unsafe or useless. 

If your fire pit has any unpainted parts, this is where you will see rust begin to form.

Should I Paint My Fire Pit?

To rust-proof your fire pit and keep it looking newer for as long as possible, experts recommend sealing your metal pit with a high heat paint that specializes in preventing rust.

You should never use regular paint on your fire pit because it can only withstand temperatures up to 90-120°. Once it passes that, the paint will begin to bubble and blister.

What kind of paint do I use on my fire pit?

Fire pits should only be painted with high heat paints rated to withstand temperatures around 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. High heat paints are specifically made to paint high heat items such as fire pits, chimneys, bbq’s, engines, and other high heat items.

There are a few products that work great for painting fire pits such as this Krylon product which withstands 1,200°F or this Rustoleum paint which can withstand temperatures of 2,000°F if you need the extra protection.

What’s Special About High Heat Paint?

Once regular paint sits in the sun or is exposed to the elements for too long, the color fades and the layers crack. And as opposed to regular paint that would blister when becoming too hot, high heat paint withstands the temperatures of flames with ease. High heat paint comes in four types: epoxy, ceramic, powder, or thermal spray. 

The specialized paints for use on fire pits are ceramic, which are the most recommended type to use for outdoor metal surfaces. They use a protective layer of enamel to shield the metal from temperatures up to 1200°. 

This protective layer also provides a visually appealing finish to the metal and keeps moisture away from metal that would begin to rust if exposed.

How to Paint Your Fire Pit

If you have an unpainted fire pit that is starting to rust, or that you want to prevent from rusting, you’re in luck. It’s really easy to refinish and rustproof them if you have the time and tools. Using a bit of elbow grease and the items listed underneath, you can make your fire pit look brand new again. 

Necessary Equipment

Steps to Paint Your Fire Pit

1. Clean it

Once your fire pit is completely empty, wash it with soapy water and leave it out to dry. The goal is to remove every layer of dust, dirt, and soot from the pit’s surfaces so the new layer of paint goes on smoothly. 

2. Sand it

Once it’s completely dry, sand down every inch of the fire pit’s surfaces. Use a wire brush for tough rust spots. Sanding down uneven or rusty surfaces makes it much easier for the paint to stick to them. It’s also really satisfying to see the results of this strenuous step.

3. Wipe it

Finish the preparation process by wiping down the fire pit thoroughly. It’s best to use denatured alcohol (with gloves!) to pull up every last drop of oil and particle of dust from the surfaces for the most effective and long-lasting paint job. Let it dry for thirty minutes before painting.

4. Paint it

Now that your fire pit is sanded down and clean, it’s ready to paint. Place a drop cloth underneath the pieces you are painting before you begin. Some people use copper-colored paint for the inside of the pit and black paint for the outside. Many others choose straight black. 

Spray the paint in back-and-forth motions about 1 or 1 ½ feet away from the surface. Let the paint dry for a couple of hours between any extra coats if they are needed. When it’s fully dry, reassemble the fire pit. Wait until the next day to use it.

Keep it Looking New Longer

Although it lasts for many years, even high heat paint will eventually fade and leave parts of the metal fire pit exposed, leaving it vulnerable to rust.

Fortunately, you can delay the rusting process by performing regular maintenance on your fire pit.

Clean out any ashes from the pit after every use. Ashes draw in water which, when pressed against it, rapidly increases the rusting and aging process of the metal. 

Once the ashes are cleaned out, applying a very thin layer of oil to the bowl of the pit will create a layer between the metal and the elements, further delaying rust.

You should also protect your pit from the elements as much as you can by using covers or putting it inside when it’s not in use if possible. 


Whether you store it inside or outside, painting your fire pit with high heat paint is the best way to make sure it is protected from rust and is looking brand new for a lot longer.

And now that you’ve put in the elbow grease to restore it, you’re ready to kick back and relax around your renovated and rustproof fire pit for many nights to come.

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