Are you looking to restore your painted interior and exterior walls or fireplace to their former glory? Or has your brickwork into some kind of structural issue that requires the removal of paint from its surface? If you fall into any of these categories and you are an enthusiast DIYer, then you are probably looking for the right way to remove paint from brick. Removing paint from brick is a tiring task that can take hours or even days. However, if you are a determined DIYer, by following a few instructions and investing some quality time, you will be able to take care of this job.
So, basically, to remove paint from brick you must start off the process by testing the paint stripper (a product used to remove paint) on an inconspicuous area of the brickwork under inspection. Once you are satisfied with the results, start preparing the workspace for the actual job. These preparations include cleaning the brickwork and spreading out an old cloth beneath the wall. After that, put on the safety gear and start applying the paint stripper on the required area and cover it with peeling strips. Finally, peel off the strips to reveal the exposed bricks underneath.
Using this process, you can remove paint from any form of brick, whether it’s an interior brick, an exterior brick, or a brick fireplace. However, there is much more you need to know regarding this whole paint removal procedure than the outline given above, and we will be taking a dig into exactly that below.
Before we do that, there are some important things you should know beforehand.
Type of Paint
While working to remove the paint from brick, you must first establish what type of paint you’re dealing with. There are a variety of paints concerned with bricks, however, the two most common ones are oil-based and latex-based paint, so this guide is designed to teach you how to remove either.
Materials and Products You’re Going to Need
As a DIYer with no prior experience of removing paint from brick, you may feel like that to carry out the process under discussion. You need some sort of scrapers or metal wool. However, doing so will do just make things more complicated; the odds are that your wall will be damaged, and paint on its surface won’t come off completely either.
Instead, you’ll want to use a paint stripper. It is essentially a liquid or pastes paint stripper that is prepared for the purpose of getting through to the brick’s crevices and any cracks that it may have contracted over time. Due to the fact that liquid or paste paint strippers go deep into the texture of a brick, a caustic paint stripper is your best bet, especially if your wall had a point on it for a long time.
Although any paint requires a paint stripper to be removed, you’ve got to keep in mind that you can’t just use any paint stripper.
It all comes down to the type of paint you need to be removed. For instance, if your brickwork is painted with masonry paint, you are going to need a paint stripper formulated precisely for the purpose of the removal of masonry. Otherwise, you are going to have a really hard time achieving results.
For your safety as well as convenience, avoid using a spray remover and make sure that the paint stripper you use is drip-free and methylene chloride-free.
Given that you follow the guidelines for the paint stripper mentioned just above, you are halfway through the clean-up process.
Now, you must make sure to spread old clothes and plastic sheets on the workspace so that they can catch any drips. This is especially applicable in the case of interior brickwork or a brick fireplace when you are prioritizing cleanliness and presentation.
Before the paint removal process, what many DIYers seem to neglect is the effect of temperature. It’s worth mentioning that in weather extremities, you can’t leave bricks exposed for too long as they are prone to cracking.
So, for instance, say that it’s freezing in your area, wait until the weather gets a bit warmer, and then remove paint from the desired brick. This way, you’ll have a good-enough window between stripping the paint and restoring the brick.
How to Remove Paint from Brick – Step by step Procedure
Supplies You’ll Nee
Paint stripper of your choice
- Fabric-based peeling strips
- Lead testing kit
- Old clothes
- Plastic sheets
- Drywall knife
- Painter’s tape
- Overall / long-sleeved shirt
- Paint scraper
- Face mask
Step 1: Testing the Paint Stripper
Alright, so before you can go start working on the desired brickwork, it’s crucial that you test your paint stripper. Accordingly, choose a few bricks that are comparatively out of sight and start following the guidelines given with your paint stripper.
Pour out a tiny amount of paint stripper and apply it to the test area. Keep applying it until the paste is as thick as possible. Finally, cover it with a peeling strip.
Wait for roughly an hour, and then pull off the sheet. See if the paint has come off nicely. If you are satisfied with the results, then you can proceed forward and start preparing to work on the entire brickwork.
Step 2: Preparation for the Main Job
Firstly, you will need to clean the area of the brickwork you’re going to work on. This is particularly applicable in the case of brick on an exterior wall or brick fireplace. You can use a garden hose, a bucket with a rag, or whatever suits you to do that. Note that cleaning is not mandatory, but it will make your life a whole lot easier during the actual process if you do it.
Anyhow, once the cleaning is being done, wait for the wall to dry. It usually takes around 12 hours or more, depending upon the weather. Once it is dried, prepare the workspace by spreading out the old clothes to catch any drips of the paint stripper, and old, peeled-off paint, etc. Do have at least one plastic sheet laid out as it will prevent spillage or damage to your floor.
In the case of exterior brickwork, if it is too windy, don’t forget to tape down the sheets or old clothes you spread on the ground.
Before moving on to the stripping process, be sure to utilize the lead testing kit to check for the presence of dangerous metal in the paint. If the test turns out to be red, there are good chances that one of two layers of paint contains lead. Accordingly, take the appropriate safety measures.
Step 3: Don the Safety Gear
Safety should always be your top priority. With the workspace prepared, take all the vital safety considerations. Some of the most prominent things that you will need to cover yourself from are dust, debris, paint stripper, and the old paint that is being flaked off. These could be the cause of potential danger to your eyes, skin, lungs.
So, accordingly, wear eye goggles, clothing such as overall, a pair of gloves, and a dust mask. If you are working on an interior brick, ensure that decent ventilation to avoid suffocation.
Step 4: Apply the Paint Stripper
Now that everything is in place, it’s time for you to start the process of paint stripping.
First off, open up the bottle of your paint stripper. Regardless of whether you have selected a paste or a liquid formula, get ahold of a drywall knife and use it apply the product on the desired brickwork. Keep in mind to apply the stripper thickly and spread it with a wire brush on the whole area. If you have a large area to cover, split it into sections and cover each section with a peeling strip at distinct intervals. However, be sure to cover each section with a peeling strip as soon as possible so that the stripper doesn’t dry.
While applying the plastic sheets, smooth out any air bubbles that develop so that the paint comes off neatly when it’s time to peel it.
Speaking of the time duration between stripping and peeling off the plastic sheets, it depends on the type of product you’re using. So, be sure to stick to the guidelines of your manufacturer.
Step 5: Removing the Paint
When the required period has passed with the peeling strips left on the wall, it’s time to lift them off. For that, it is recommended that you grab one corner of the sheet and pulling it off patiently so that it does not break apart.
With the strip coming off the wall, you will see that most of the paint has peeled off or loosely hanging with the wall. As for the paint that still remains intact, fret not, as it will easily come off with a paint scraper though you should use the paint scraper cautiously to prevent damage to the exposed brickwork.
Once you are through with the paint scraper, you may still find some stubborn patches of paint over the wall. To deal with them, you could apply white vinegar to cause them to stir along with a paint scraper or repeat the whole process if they are covering a large area.
Finally, dispose of all the flaked-off paint and debris, and wash the wall with a hose or a power washer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Vinegar Remove Paint from Brick?
While vinegar is useful in budging the stubborn patches left behind by a paint peel-off, it can’t be used alone for the removal of paint from brick.
How Do You Get White Paint Off Red Brick?
It must be clarified that regardless of the color of the paint on your brickwork, it can be removed using the method detailed in this guide.
What is the Best Paint Stripper for Brick?
It depends upon your budget and requirement. However, as a general guideline, go for a masonry paint stripper that is methylene chloride-free. Also, choose the paste form as it works best for applying thick layers.
Will Acetone Remove Paint Brick?
Acetone is one of the safest options to remove paint from brick, but the disadvantage it carries is that it is not very aggressive and doesn’t work sometimes either.
If you have read this guide carefully up to this point, then you might have realized that removing paint from brick is a lengthy process but one that’s definitely worth it.
Given that you have taken care of the prerequisites of the process, such as the type of paint you’re going to remove, the type of paint stripper you require, and the temperature of your surroundings, etc., you can then commence the paint removal process. For that, begin with testing your paint stripper. Then, prepare the workspace for the main job, apply the paint stripper, and take off the peeling strips. Throughout the whole process, make sure you have the mandatory safety gear equipped.
Also, it must be stated that if your exterior, interior, or fireplace has quite a large area that you need to be stripped off of paint, or you are not confident of what you’re doing, don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of a professional.