JC, I have painted mine twice. More to change the color than any other reason, but I got tired of the white chalk running onto the brick vaneer also. Other than a good wash with TSP, I did no special prep work. Just be sure to use the very best (and probably most expensive) paint you can find. I put on an oil based primer and latex paint--and will never use paint from a well known national department store again. By the way, PLEASE DON'T YELL. That's what you are doing when you type all in caps.