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How To Remove Paint from Brick

How To Remove Paint from Brick

Bricks are porous substances in nature. Paint applied on brick seeps into the pores of the brick and mortar. This characteristic makes it hard to get paint off it.

The best paint removal method for brick is using a paint stripper agent covered with a peel-away laminate strip and leaving it on for the manufacturer’s specified hours.

Later, we can take the strips off and scrape the remaining residue with a plastic putty knife. The brick area is then rinsed and dried.

Other abrasive methods remove the paint faster but risk damaging the structure’s integrity. Hence, we recommend removing paint in the way specified below.

Preliminary Considerations Before Removing the Paint

  • Types of Paint: The most common paint used for bricks is latex or oil-based paint. Latex paints are easy to get rid of with a mixture of detergent and water, plus a little bit of elbow grease with a scrubber.

    Oil-based paint, the most widely used paint for brick, is stickier and harder to remove. They require a remover agent to do the job. The stated method should work for simple emulsions, lime wash, and old friable paints.
  • Check if the pain is Lead: Some old buildings and structures previously used lead paint. Lead is very dangerous to our health as it affects our brain and the respiratory system. If you do not know the exact type of paint used on the brick, always test it first.

    You can get a lead paint test kit from your local hardware store. It costs around $10 to $30 on average, depending on the brand and number of packs included. If the test is positive, drop everything and call a professional lead abatement contractor.
  • Take precautions While Cleaning: Bricks contain Silica. Any abrasion on the surface of the brick will release dust particles containing this chemical. Silica is highly dangerous to humans, creating deadly respiratory problems with prolonged exposure.
    brick composition
  • Test the product bfore usage: Testing the paint removal agent in a small inconspicuous part of the brick wall or patio is recommended. Testing in a small section allows us to determine if the material works properly, assess the time and effort required to do the whole job, and decide if it’s a DIY project or professional job.
  • Prepare for alot of dirt: Removing paint from bricks is bound to create dust and flakes all around. We recommend at the very least covering the bottom with plastic sheets to catch the peelings and flaking of the wall.
    Do plastic cover important areas where you do not want damage or discoloration. It is best to cover any wooden door frames, window frames, and important trimmings with sheet or painter’s tape.
  • Check the weather: If you live in extreme weather conditions, do not strip the paint off bricks within a month of severe cold weather. The walls may not dry properly after the strip, and moisture will damage them. Extreme cold affects bricks detrimentally. We recommend checking the week’s average temperature to estimate if it’s a good time to do this job.
  • Pre-rinsing isn’t generally required: If the wall is particularly dirty, clean it with Trisodium Phosphate. ½ cup of Trisodium Phosphate in one gallon of water will be enough.
    Apply the solution of the brick and gently scrub. The TSP itself works as a stripping agent and will help get rid of some of the paint. We do not recommend using wired brushes as they are too abrasive.

    Be extra careful with this step, as unprotected surfaces may get affected if uncovered. Trisodium Phosphate is a hard chemical. Rinse after application and let the wall dry completely for a minimum of 6-12 hours. We recommend giving it a day.

Tools Required

  •  Paint Stripper
  •  Gloves
  •  Respirator Mask
  •  Painter’s Tape
  •  Nylon Bristled Brush/Heavy-duty grout corner brushes with handles
  •  Paint removal strips / Laminate peel away strips
  •  Protective glasses
  •  Cloths, rags
  •  Trowel, Scraper/ Five in one scraper tool
  •  Lead Paint test kit
  •  Plastic Sheets
  •  Ladder
  •  Garden hose

Remove Paint From Brick Using Paint Strippers

Paint Strippers

The best and safest method to remove paint from brick surfaces is using paint strippers. These products are very effective and easily available at our local hardware stores. Some of the brands in the market are Max Strip, Easy Strip, Smart Strip, KBS strip quart, Dumond Citrus Strip, Multi strip, Kwik Strip, Jasco, and Aircraft.

Always make sure to buy stripper agents with no methylene Chloride. This chemical was widely used in strippers and is related to cancer cognitive impairment and creation. There are plenty of Non or low-VOC strippers environmentally safe strippers in the market. Choose any one of them.

Paint Strippers come in three forms: Paste, Gel, and Spray. We do not recommend getting the spray as customer reviews suggest they aren’t that effective.

Each of these products has manufacturer instructions. Adhere to those instructions strictly as they can vary according to brands. The wait time can range from 30 minutes to 48 hours for these products to work.

Paint stripper gels are great for both latex and oil-based paints. However, the best reviews are for paint stripper paste.

These Paste Paint Strippers generally come in a package deal with plastic knives, scrapers, and peel-off strips. You may or may not need the strips, depending on the product.

If strips are required, and the brand doesn’t offer it, pop into your local hardware store and get peel-off laminate papers. They come in different sizes like 5 by 5, 8 by 8, and even 8 by 12.

If specific graffiti is on the brick surface and you need a spot clean, use a graffiti remover. You can get graffiti removers in the market according to the paint used.

Spray and solution versions for this will work fine. Apply the solution on the wall and gently brush the solution in the stains. Wait the manufacturer specified hours and gently scrape the paint using a nylon-bristled brush. Rinse the wall or surface and repeat the process as necessary.

Procedure

  1. After the wall or surface is clean, Apply a thick layer of paste of 1/8 to ½ inch over the sectioned area.
  2. Once the layer has been applied, take the adhesive off the laminated peel-off strip and seal the paste. Make sure no air bubbles form. No brick should be visible in the sectioned area.
  3. Leave the strip on for the manufacturer’s specified time.
  4. Gently peel off the strips. Do not rip them. Use your plastic knife/trowel or scraper to scrape off any residue left.
  5. Rinse the area once no residue is seen.
  6. Continue this process for other sections of the surface.
  7. Repeat the process if necessary.

 That’s it! This process is the only method to do and is the most effective.

Aren’t there other Methods to Remove Paint from Brick

There are other aggressive methods to get rid of paint from brick. We do not recommend them without professional guidance. These methods are sandblasting, soda blasting, pressure washing, Torc Cleaning, and Doff Cleaning.

These methods utilize pressure sent on the surface to get rid of the paint aggressively. They are very effective, but the risks associated are great:

  • The aggressive abrasion using the above methods may damage the brick and mortar. This abrasion can cause cracked bricks crumbling mortars.
  • May affect the structural integrity of brick walls. These methods are especially dangerous for load-bearing walls.
  • High pressure of water and sand can lead to discoloration, uneven appearance, or marred bricks if not used correctly.
  • These methods are designed to remove brick layers rather than just the paint.
  • Aggressive sandblasting may lead to water ingression later.

Call a Professional

Call a Professional

If you still want to go through with it. We recommend calling professionals for these jobs to properly assess the walls or surfaces and do the job correctly. Professional minimize risks significantly.

Does Vinegar remove paint from brick

Vinegar is a homemade solution to remove dried paint, but it is not recommended for brick walls or surfaces.

It will be very hard to soak the whole wall with Vinegar, and the solution will not stay on surfaces for long. Using Vinegar is not practical. Use it for spot cleaning or cleaning the brushes instead.