How to Remove Paint From Brick: Learn the Basics

how to remove paint from brick

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

Do you know how to remove paint from brick? Well, if the answer to that question is a resounding no, then rest assured that we are about to change all of that for you.

The truth is that there are several ways in which you can quickly remove that old paint without destroying the brick. We will focus on the practical steps you need to take to get all of that old paint off.

So, let’s begin.

Why Would You Have Paint on a Brick?

But let’s begin by looking at why you would have paint on a brick wall in the first place. Well, you need to remember that how people view exposed brick does vary through time. Some individuals may prefer to throw some white paint on a brick wall, as they don’t enjoy the natural colour of the brick.

However, tastes do change over time. At that point, you have to try to deal with that painted brick surface, and if the brick is old, then removing all the paint can become a bit of a tricky job.

Removing Paint From Bricks

Now, here’s a short warning. Removing paint from brick can take time. You need to have some patience if you want to do a good job, but it’s going to be worth it all in the end.

The Tools

You need to have the correct tools at hand before you start removing paint. However, the list of tools is not extensive, and some things are also optional depending on the location of the brick wall.

So, what you are going to need includes the following:

  • Paint stripper
  • Wire brush
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Gloves
  • Protective gear
  • Drywall knife

We will mention other tools later on in the steps, but these are the basic things you will need if you want to remove paint from bricks with relative ease.

Step by Step Guide on How to Remove Paint From Brick Properly

Step 1: Remove Flaking Paint

The first step is the easiest one, and it’s to try to remove as much of that paint that is flaking off as possible. You will use your stiff-bristled brush to do this or some steel wool, and you may even want to use a garden hose to blast that paint off if your wall is outside. The only problem with using water is the bricks’ need to dry before you do anything else.

Now, when you are doing this, you need to wear protective eyewear. Those bits of paint are going to come flying off the bricks, and those small pieces can easily end up in your eyes.

Step 2: Test the Paint Stripper

If you plan on removing masonry paint by using paint remover, then you want to test out different paint strippers before you begin.

Go to a corner of the brick wall, and paint some of the paint strippers onto the bricks. See how well it works when removing paint, as you may discover that some paint removal tins can work better with masonry paint than others.

At least by testing it out, you can determine if the paint stripper is going to do the job before you put in all of that effort covering the entire brick wall.

Step 3: Check the Status of the Wall

This is another important point for you to consider, but don’t just dive into trying to remove paint from a wall without checking the structure itself.

At times, people may have applied a coat of masonry paint to cover up the fact that parts of the wall were in poor condition. Using some caustic paint stripper to start removing paint may reveal some problems that are extremely difficult to repair.

Step 4: Lay Down a Plastic Sheet

This job is going to create some mess, and plastic sheets will quickly become your best friend. No matter how much effort you put into keeping the mess associated with this DIY project to a minimum, paint from brick is going to fly everywhere.

At least with thick plastic sheeting, the paint can drop down, and you can quickly clean everything up at the end. If you don’t have sheeting, then a drop cloth will work just as well. Placing drop cloths all over will help pick up the old paint once it has been removed.

Step 5: A Tip With the Sheet

Here is a quick tip to help with the sheet. You want to make sure that there’s no gap between the brick walls and the sheet itself. To stop this, use painter’s tape and tape the cloth or sheet to the bottom edge of the brick. Do this along the entire length, and it will stop a gap from appearing.

Step 6: Put On Your Protective Clothing

The stripping agent you will be using contains various chemicals, and you want to protect your clothing and skin. This is especially important if you use a spray system, as you have less control over where the paint stripper is going instead of painting it on top of the masonry paint.

Protective gear will help prevent you from damaging your clothes, and if you wear a mask, it will stop you from inhaling the fumes as well.

Step 7: Choose Your Paint Remover

There’s a good chance you will have to apply a thick paste onto the bricks, but this will be mentioned in the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use a trowel to build up the residue of the stripper to the level that the company recommends when getting paint off brick. Make sure you push that paste into all parts of the brickwork, as that’s the only way it will be able to remove the paint.

Step 8: Using Peeling Strips

A peeling strip will need to be applied to the stripping agent to make it easier to remove the paste, and the paint, once it has dried. These strips need to be placed in such a way so as the brick is completely covered.

These strips will need to be left on there for some time. Once again, the manufacturer will guide you on the timeline to follow when removing paint from brick. However, it must be stressed that you need to cover the brickwork entirely, or you will be left with a strip of paint on the brick.

Also, double-check that the strips are firmly attached as they will be on there for a number of hours.

Step 9: Lifting the Strips

The next part of this DIY project is to remove the strips. When you remove them, you may need to use a putty knife to prize them off and see the paint beneath the strip rather than on the brick.

With this, you need to take time, so don’t rip them off like you would a plaster. Remember, you are probably trying to remove thick layers of paint, so patience is key.

Step 10: Removing the Resilient Paint Left Behind

Even though paint removal from brick should be easier thanks to these strips, some paint will still be left behind once the process has been completed. However, you still need to scrub that paint off since brick paint remover is not always 100% successful.

This is where you need to scrub the bricks. The stripper is only going to do so much, and you need to complete the process. You need to finally remove paint from your bricks by getting a paint scraper and going over the brick one last time. Use your putty knife to get into those crevices. By the end of it all, you should hardly see any paint left on the bricks.

Step 11 – The Final Step

The final step is to rinse with lukewarm water. This is to remove the last remnants of the paint stripper from the brickwork. After that, leave everything to dry before you then think about doing anything else to the wall.

Start Removing Paint From Your Brick

That is how to remove paint from brick, and there are clearly several ways to achieve this. At the end of the day, it should never be that tough to remove paint from this particular surface successfully.

Also, the final point to be made is to not do this in winter or where there’s a chance of frost. The bricks are likely to suffer from the weather, and you don’t want to have to try to repair bricks if it can be avoided.

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