How to Remove Paint From Brick (5 Easy Steps)

Are you ready to remove paint from an old brick wall? Don't worry, we'll show you how!

In this ProPaintCorner guide, you'll discover...

  • The five easy steps process to remove paint from brick 
  • The materials to get it done right
  • Other relevant information you'll to know

And much more!

How to Remove Paint From Brick (5 Easy Steps)

Getting paint off brick isn't actually that hard. In fact, regardless of the paint type, this quick and easy five-step guide will aid you in getting the job done, right, quick, and efficiently.

Expect this to be a bit time-consuming. Set aside a minimum of three hours per session, knowing two to three sessions may be necessary.

Fortunately for you, we've compiled everything you need to tackle this relatively easy DIY project.

What You Need to Know About Removing Paint from Brick.

Like anything, a few attempts and you'll develop a technique and a familiarity that will aid you going forward. Here are some of the basics you'll want to know before beginning.

The most common type of paint that people attempt to remove from brick is latex paint. You can use this guide for that and for oil painted walls. 

For detailed information on getting spray paint off brick, check out this in-depth ProPaintCorner guide.

Temperature

Make sure that the brick you are working on will not be exposed to freezing temperatures for at least three days after you're done restoring it. Exposed brick is easily damaged by extreme cold.  

Materials

Aggressive scrubbing with a scraper or steel wool likely won't get all the paint off. Because brick is porous, a caustic paint stripper is required to dislodge the deeply embedded paint particles from the brick crevices.

Check out this YouTube guide on selecting the perfect methylene-free paint stripper for your particular task at hand:

Formula

Strippers vary one to the next. For best results, look for a brand that is advertised as designed for masonry use. Avoid spray strippers as they tend to be less effective.

Avoid those with methylene chloride as an ingredient. Methylene-free formulas tend to drip far less than those with it.

Beyond ease of use, methylene chloride is extremely toxic, here's proof.

Clean Up

Especially on indoor jobs like a brick fireplace restoration, put extra effort into your prep so that come time to clean up, it's easy. 

That means putting down new drop cloths carefully, taping down whenever possible.

When the restoration is complete, carefully loosen the tape around your drop cloths. Fold the cloths in from each corner, ensuring no debris falls onto your floor.  

Read More >> How Do You Remove Spray Paint From Bricks?

Supplies You'll Need When Removing Paint From Brick

Most of this work is going to involve scrubbing the brick surface with a caustic paint stripper. You'll find most paint strippers come in the form of a thick paste that is applied with a brush or a putty knife. 

  • A stiff-bristled wire brush
  • Paint stripper
  • Drop cloth
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Painter's tape
  • Goggles
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Drywall knife
  • Protective painter's gear
  • Peeling strips (maybe)

Read More >> What Are The Best Ways to Remove Spray Paint Anywhere?

Did you know: Bricks are made from clay and water. However, in ancient times, bricks were formed and fired by hand! That sounds like a lot of work...

How to Remove Paint From Brick (5 Easy Steps)

  1. Test
  2. Clean and Prepare
  3. Protective Gear
  4. Apply
  5. Clean Up

Step 1: Test

The first step in removing paint from brick is testing the brick with the paint stripper. You want to set aside an area of about 2-3 bricks that are low, in a corner, or not focal.

Grab your putty knife, work a small amount of material, and apply it to your test area. 

Cover that area with stripper material, then with some plastic sheeting. Wait 30 minutes and attempt to remove the sheeting. 

You're hoping to see effective paint removal in your test area. Anything else, and you'll want to try again with another stripper brand. 

Step 2: Clean and Prepare

Prior to applying your stripper, thoroughly wash the area. Soak your rag in a pail of lukewarm water and use it to work the water onto the brick.

If it's outdoors, use a garden hose, provided one is easily accessible. You may also want to consider scrapping your brick lightly with a metal putty knife, or a wire brush to remove any flaking paint. 

It's not ultimately necessary to wash your brick prior to applying a stripper, but it tends to make this process work better. 

After rinsing your bricks, allow them to dry a minimum of 12 hours, a full-day being ideal.

The final step in preparation for application is that you place a drop cloth below the work area. This will catch paint debris that falls off in the process of paint removal. Tape down your cloth if there's a risk of it blowing around.

Read More >> How Do You Get Spray Paint Off Vinyl Siding?

Step 3: Protective Gear

The bare minimum list of protective gear that you'll want to wear working on this are the following:

  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Goggles
  • Facemask or respirator
  • Work gloves

See this CSPC guide on proper respirator use while using paint strippers.

Step 4: Apply

Have your plastic sheeting and paint stripper handy along with your putty knife. Scoop stripper using your putty knife and begin to smear it onto the painted brick. Put it on about as thick as you'd put peanut butter on a sandwich.

Do this over the entire area being sure that the stripper doesn't have enough time to dry before you cover it with sheeting. You may consider cutting your sheeting into 3ft. square sections for convenience. 

Step 5: Remove

You're going to leave the plastic sheeting on the brick surface for 30 minutes before peeling it off. Once that time has elapsed, begin to carefully pull back the plastic sheeting.

You should see the paint stripper along with the paint coming off, and exposed brick remaining in its place. 

Once you peel back the plastic sheeting, most of the paint should be coming off with it. For any areas that still have paint or stripper remaining, take your putty knife and attempt to scrape this remainder off. 

If there are some persistent areas, you'll have to repeat the process on those. 

Read More >> How Do You Remove Spray Paint From Walls?

Other Valuable Resources For Removing Paint From Brick

This guide has absolutely been designed with best practices in mind. That said, always be sure to read the entire manufacturer's instructions for the paint thinner and other chemical solutions you use.

Amend any instructions as well as safety precautions given here with those given by the manufacturer.

Remember that multiple applications may be necessary to totally remove every last bit of paint. 

Another trick you might use is applying white vinegar as a finisher on your stripped brick wall. Scrub it in with your wire brush and see if it's able to lift up those last few stubborn paint flakes that resisted your first effort.

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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