Hello Sharon! I am no expert on the subject, but I have painted an ugly old fireplace with exellent results! First I cleaned the brick with TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate), then gave it a good coat of Kilz, which is a primer sealer. Kilz allows you to use either an oil base or latex topcoat of your preference. Anyway, after the Kilz has dried I applied Three coats of a Quality oil base with a satin finish. The job looked great, and i had no problems using the fireplace. I honestly am not sure if this is the correct method, but it worked for me! Remember! the galleries are full of critics! Do it your way!!!