That brick wall may have looked good at one point, but then someone covered it with paint. Why? who knows. We can sit there questioning other people's aesthetic preferences until we're blue in the face. But at the end of the day, that classic brick face is still covered in a layer of old rubbery crap, and we still want to restore it. It was a challenge, so we wrote this article on how to remove paint without destroying brick.
Table of contents
- How to Remove Paint from Brick: Check Before Quote
- Assessing the integrity of the wall
- Avoid high pressure washing or sandblasting
- Avoid using caustic chemicals
- How to Remove Paint from Brick Using Gel and Paper
How to Remove Paint from Brick: Check Before Quote
Unfortunately, the top 10 "tough jobs" probably include removing paint from bricks. Many DIY enthusiasts start out with this job only to be disappointed. Or, maybe they were happy with the result, but unknowingly weakened the brick in the process.
In this case, if you have a client requesting a quote, it is wise to check the job thoroughly first. You may find that the best-case scenario still doesn't produce the desired results. You're more likely to find that you need to adjust your quote for this often time-consuming endeavor. If you follow some of these tips for removing paint from brick surfaces, you might save yourself some time and some frustration.
Assessing the integrity of the wall
First, you need to decide if the brick looks good enough to leave it unpainted. Ask your client if you can inspect or even test the removal process in an inconspicuous area. How many layers of paint are there? What is the condition of the brick? It's much easier to quote (or not quote) with a test zone. After testing, you and your client may decide that the cost of removing the paint outweighs the benefit, and they will just learn to accept the painted brick.
Avoid high pressure washing or sandblasting
However, there are a few things you need to avoid if the project is approved. First off, while sandblasting or pressure cleaning painted tile might seem to make sense, don't do it. This treatment can weaken or damage older fragile bricks. That's probably why it was painted in the first place.
It's also possible that, if the paint is old, it may contain lead that was released into the air by sandblasting. While sandblasting or pressure washing can reach all the nooks and crannies of porous brick, it's often too risky.
Avoid using caustic chemicals
You'll also want to avoid harsh chemicals when removing paint from brick. These solutions tend to have the same detrimental effects on old brick surfaces as sandblasting. It can also make old bricks more brittle.
Ultimately, you'll want to find a solution that causes the least amount of damage to the underlying brick, and using these methods can give you bigger problems than a coat of stubborn paint.
So what to do? continue reading. There is another solution.
How to Remove Paint from Brick Using Gel and Paper
One of the most effective ways to remove paint from brick surfaces is through a two-step process. Gel or paste compounds are used with paper or fibrous materials to make removing paint less of a hassle.
Basically, you'll scrape off any flaking paint that may be there, then use a remover. Next apply the fiber or paper tape. When the remover cures, the chemical reaction typically occurs within 24 hours or less. The paint binds to the fibers, you gently peel it off and the paint goes away.
Of course, there may be some stubborn paint that will resist, but agitating the brick with a drill and a fiber brush drill will remove any remaining paint. You might be surprised how well it works and it doesn't make the bricks brittle.
Final Thoughts on How to Remove Paint from Brick
Proper safety equipment must be used when handling chemicals. Use proper PPE to protect eyes, skin and lungs from injury. It's also a smart idea to tape down a plastic cover to protect everything under your work area.
While chemical application may be the best method for the job, it can present rinse water treatment challenges. You need to check native code for this. And be sure to read labels carefully. Some chemicals can weaken bricks. You can remove a lot of paint by using the right chemical stripper and agitating (for example, with a cordless drill with a fiber brush tip) or by scraping properly. A second application may be required.
We hope you have benefited from this article. If you're a pro and have any tips for removing brick paint, please share them in the comments below.