How To Remove Paint From Brick

Making a Difficult Job a Little Easier

You’ve changed your mind about your painted brick.  But what’s a homeowner to do? Although it’s no easy task, with a little grit and determination you can remove paint from brick.  If you put in enough time and effort, removing paint from brick can even be done on your own without having to hire a professional.  Let’s take a look at how to get started.

Sand Blasting or Pressure Washing

The first solution that might come to mind for paint removal may be to sand blast the paint off your bricks. While this method might sound easier and faster than using a paint stripping product, sandblasting or power washing  to remove paint could damage your bricks leaving you with a mess. 

Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)

Trisodium phosphate, available at your local hardware store,  and water can be used to remove paint from brick. By mixing ½ cup of TSP and 1 gallon of warm water in a bucket, you can make your own solution for stripping paint off brick.  All you need to do is scrub the TSP solution into the bricks using a sturdy stiff bristled brush and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, scrub the bricks again and rinse well with water.  This method works well if the paint is not very thick on your bricks. If you have a heavy layer of paint, you might want to use a paint stripping gel or paste.

Paint Stripping Products

Paint stripping products have gotten better through the years so you’ll probably want to give this paint removing method a try.  There are new paint removal products on the market that are safer to use than the older caustic solutions. Using a formulation with harsh chemicals can actually damage your brick, so be sure to choose a friendlier version.

Paint stripping products come in a gel or paste form as well as fabric-based peeling strips.  These products will remove a good bit of the paint but you’ll still need to do some scraping on your own.  Scrubbing the bricks and using a scraper or scrub brush should remove any remaining paint. This is a messy process, so you’ll need to cover your floor completely so paint shavings won’t land on furniture or your floor.  Unfortunately, there’s just no substitute for good, old- fashioned elbow grease. One popular product among DIYers is eco-friendly Smartstrip. 

Materials:

-Paint Stripping Products (Gel, Paste, and/or Fabric Strips)

-Protective Eyewear and Gloves

-Drop Cloth

-Sturdy Scrub Brush

-Drywall Knife for Scraping

First, prepare your area by laying down your drop cloth and put on your protective eyewear and gloves. Open windows for plenty of ventilation.  Test a small area to see how the srtipper reacts with your bricks.  

Next, scrape off any loose paint before applying the paint stripping gel or paste. Begin applying the gel or paste product and/ or the fabric strips to the bricks according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  

Then, after adequate time has passed, remove the strips and use the drywall knife to scrape off any leftover paint.  The scrub brush and a bucket of water can be used if necessary.  

While removing paint from brick can be time consuming and tedious, it can be done with some effort and determination. But before you decide to take the plunge and strip the paint, you might decide on a less labor intensive makeover option. Either painting over your brick with a solid color or using a product such as Brick-Anew to restore a natural brick look is a lot easier than removing paint.   Either way, you’ll be glad you remodeled your brick so you can enjoy it for years to come. Check out this great resource list for for more fireplace painting ideas, tips, and inspiration.