How To Remove Paint From Brick In 5 Easy Steps
Brick is especially tough to remove paint from because it’s porous. If a brick wall has been painted for several years, you’re looking at some serious elbow grease to get it back into something resembling its original condition. Thankfully, there are some industrial-strength cleaning agents you can use that will aid in your endeavor. Let’s take a look at what you need and how exactly you can go about stripping the paint from your brick.
Before You Start
First, you’ll need to lay down a tarp or some painter’s plastic below the brick and the surrounding area. There will be a lot of dust, paint flakes, and other debris, and this will make the cleanup easier. This is especially essential when you’re stripping paint from interior brick.
Next, you have to protect your health against the hazardous chemicals you’re working with, not to mention the tons of dust and debris you’re about to throw around. Every paint stripper has its own personal protective requirements, but we’ve put together a list of what you need below.
- Heat gun
- Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
- Stiff-bristled nylon brush
- Painter’s plastic/tarp
- Trowel/5-in-1 scraper
- Paint stripper (acetone, paint stripping gel, etc.)
- Protective gear: eye protection, long-sleeved shirt & pants, dust mask, gloves
- Disc sander & sandpaper
How To Remove Paint From Brick In 5 Easy Steps
1. Test The Brick
There are several reasons to strip the paint from brick: you want it to go back to the original color, you want to paint it, and so on. Either way, you’ll need to test your process on a small corner of the brick before you commit to cleaning all the brick.
Why do you want to do this? Because the brick might be discolored, you don’t like the brick’s original color, or the painters painted over it to disguise a flaw in the surface. Just take our word for it and apply this guide on a small scale to a corner of the brick.
2. Prepare The Brick for Cleaning
Hose the brick with warm water, or alternatively, wipe it down with warm water if working indoors. Next, use a heat gun to soften up the paint. Pay close attention to exposed edges within the brickwork.
Take your disc sander and go over the brick area. Depending on how old and thick the paint is, you might get a lot of the paint off, or you might just be lightening it up. Either way, this will help your next steps immeasurably.
3. Mix and Apply Paint Stripping Solution
In a large bucket, mix a 2:1 ratio of trisodium phosphate with warm water, or according to manufacturer instructions. Mix the solution until the TSP has completely and fully dissolved.
Using your stiff nylon brush, apply the TSP to the brick and scrub the paint. As you scrub, it will flake off and reveal the brick underneath. Don’t linger on one area for too long unless the paint is just not coming off, because you don’t want to damage the brick.
Repeat your application of TSP as necessary. Some brick is easy to clean, and some brick is much, much tougher. Repeat this step as many times as you need to.
4. Treat Stubborn Paint Stains
Because brick is very porous, chances are you’ll come across some spots where the paint has appeared to stain the brick, making it extremely tough to get off. In this case, it’s time to break out the big guns: your paint stripping agent. Acetone is popular, but paint stripping gel works too. Any cleaning agent designed to strip paint will work just the same.
Identify spots where your TSP treatment didn’t get all the paint off and apply your paint stripping agent. Use your nylon brush to scrub until you’ve successfully removed the paint and wash away the paint stripper according to manufacturer instructions.
5. Rinse and Clean Up
Now that you’ve stripped your brick surface of all its paint, you probably have a nice, big pile of paint flakes and other assorted debris. If you’re working indoors, remove your tarp and vacuum up any remaining paint debris. If working outdoors, simply pack up the tarp and move for later disposal.
The next and final step is to rinse the brick to remove any lingering debris on its surface. Outdoors, you can just spray the brick down with a hose and call it a day. If you’re indoors, though, you’ll need to wipe the brick down with a clean rag and warm water.
Dispose of your paint debris, vacuum or sweep up the area, and you’re all finished!
Although brick is tough to get paint out of, it’s possible with a little hard work and some industrial-strength chemicals. No matter why you want to strip the paint from your brick, this guide will have you well on your way.
Featured Image Credit: ronstik, Shutterstock