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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Drywall knife
- Protective painter's gear
- Peeling strips (maybe)
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How to Remove Paint From Brick (5 Easy Steps)
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.
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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
- 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.