In this detailed guide, we have discussed step-by-step information on how to remove paint from brick.
Home improvement is an obvious process that people opt for at a regular interval. Everything you do for making your home better goes under the home improvement process, starting from painting your home, repairing the broken, installing fences, flooring, lighting fixtures, and everything else.
If you have some bad paints on your brick walls, you may think to remove those, which would be part of the home improvement project. Now, like other projects, the paint removal project is also not easy to complete.
You have to keep a lot of things in mind while performing the job. If you are on the verge of taking up this project, here is the exhaustive guide to help you out. Go through the write-up closely and follow the guidelines to get the best result.
Before you get started…
Before you jump into any method, you need to be well-acquainted with some knowledge. Painting is a fun thing to do, but removing paints can be a hassle if you don’t follow all instructions.
You already know about it if you are a professional, but there is no harm in polishing your skills. And, if you are a novice, you need to be extra careful so that you don’t end up ruining the surface while removing paint from it.
If it is brick of your wall, ruining it will directly have an impact on your home curb appeal. Therefore, before discussing the methods on how to remove paint from brick, go through the information that you need to keep in mind.
How To Remove Paint From Brick — Comprehensive Step By Step Guide
Types Of Paints
Before attempting to remove the paint, make sure you know what kind of paint it is. There is no fit-to-all solution for all paints. The methods may vary based on the paint on the brick.
So that you can channelize your effort on the right track and use the most appropriate solvent to work on that, you must be sure of the type of paint.
Latex and oil-based paints are the two most popular options for painting brick walls. Both are stubborn paints, and if they are old, you need to put on some extra effort to remove them.
There is always an option to call the professionals, but the satisfaction of doing it on your own and the amount of money you can save from it is pretty influential in encouraging you in this job.
In addition to the clear knowledge about the type of paint, there are some other external factors that you must consider. Let’s take a quick tour through these factors so that when you finally start the process, you have a clear concept of the job and the way to accomplish it. You might also find this step-by-step guide helpful in removing paint from concrete.
Materials & Products
Metal wool and forceful scrapers may appear to be foolproof methods for removing paint from brick, but they can cause more damage than good.
Even if all of the paint is removed, it could cause harm to the primary material of the wall and its appearance as well. In some cases, the most apparent solutions may actually be the wrong ones. Make sure that the material you are choosing will serve your purposes without irreparable side effects.
For removing paint off a brick surface, there is no such thing as a substance at all. Caustic paint strippers are recommended by the experts here.
In most cases, the solution comes in the form of a paste or liquid. Paint stripper that is meant to penetrate the brick’s pores and any cracks in which paint may have seeped over time.
If the paint has been on the wall for an extended period, it is likely to be firmly ingrained in the surface. Because removers with a creamy consistency are easier to apply on the wall, experts choose them over other methods. Thicker liquids, on the other hand, work just fine as well.
In light of the foregoing, we thought it only fair to point everyone that paint strippers can’t be used without any preparation. If your brick has masonry paint on it, you’ll have a difficult time removing it unless you buy a paint stripper specifically formulated to remove masonry paint.
Masonry paint stripper is essential, but you also need to ensure that it is a methylene chloride-free liquid and that it is not a spray remover. This is to ensure that you can securely and easily operate the stripper.
Temperature cannot be controlled; however, it is essential to consider that exposed brick might crumble in harsh weather. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that if you want to remove the paint during freezing weather, it can have a reverse effect on the brick.
Yet you can’t control the weather; you can at least choose the right time of the year to perform the job. As a general rule, we recommend that you wait until the weather is a little more pleasant before restoring your brick wall.
Preparation Of Removing Paint From Brick
After understanding the factors, it is time for the preparation to start the work. Preparation and planning are essential for every DIY, and removing paint from the brick is no exception.
In addition to having everything tool handy, it is also essential to undergo some stages so that you can complete the job at ease and don’t end up harming yourself or the quality of the brick.
Protective gear should be worn at all times when undertaking any home improvement project and paint removal is, of course, one of those. Even if you are dealing with the paint removal of a very small area, don’t neglect wearing safety gear.
At the very least, you should wear safety gloves, goggles, a protective mask and cover your skin as much as possible to prevent any chemical from giving you further trouble. Do not use a paint stripper without wearing the necessary protective clothing.
Test Before Begining
Always test an area first before beginning a brick paint removal project. The ideal location is usually a covered area, such as the farthest corner of a room that is out of view.
For example, you may want to test if you don’t like the color of the underlying brick or if the brick was painted to hide other flaws. Before applying the remover in a larger area, start with a small area so that you can understand the bigger picture of pursuing the work on a large scale.
Plastic Sheeting Is Required
Many people skip this part, thinking they would clean after the process. Trust us; the cleaning process is tedious. Moreover, you don’t know how other furniture or area of the wall would react if they get exposed to the chemicals or the removed paints.
Don’t skip this step in front of and around the brick; secure plastic sheeting with strong adhesive tape to avoid further problems. Sheeting should be extended 6 feet on the ground and 3 on the walls. All non-removable objects, such as furniture should be encased.
Dust and dirt can always have a negative impact on anything you do. And the pollution we are all exposed to makes sure a significant amount of dust accumulation every day. Hence, before applying your stripper, make sure the area is properly cleaned. A clean surface would bring the best of the process.
- Use a rag soaked in lukewarm water to apply water to the brick surface.
- A wire brush or a putty knife can also be used to remove any flaking paint from your brick, which must be cleaned before you address the main target area.
- A garden hose would be a perfect choice if you’re doing it outside, provided one is readily available.
Washing your brick before using a stripper isn’t strictly necessary, but it does help the procedure go more smoothly. For best results, let your bricks cure for at least 12 hours, though a whole day is ideal.
The final step before applying is to lay a drop cloth on the ground. This will collect any paint that falls off during the removal procedure. If you’re worried about the material swaying, tape it down.
Required Tools & Products
Dropcloth: You can use a drop cloth to keep your work area tidy. Depending on the size of your property, purchasing many packs and laying them down all at once may assist expedite the project.
Trowel: Purchase a shovel, even though many paint stripping products come with a trowel included. In addition to being cost-effective, these tools can be utilized for various other home renovation projects.
Paint Stripper: It’s a good idea to use a paint stripper that’s safe to use on brick. Make sure to keep in mind that the majority of stripping compounds may cover 45–50 square feet of brick.
Gloves: Whenever possible, utilize disposable gloves when dealing with paint stripping products. In order to keep your eyes protected, you must wash your hands frequently.
Ladder: Purchase a ladder immediately if it’s not already in your possession. If you have a two-story home, a ladder that stretches at least 10 feet is ideal.
Paint Removal Process
Now you have reached the last stage of the process – the painting itself. If you have followed the prior steps carefully, you are ready to move to the final step. Let’s discuss the main process in detail.
Apply The Stripper
There is nothing left to do but enjoy the process now that everything is in place and your wall is ready.
- Crank up your masonry paint remover. Grab your drywall knife and apply the paste or liquid solution to the wall or brickwork, depending on your preference.
- To make the process more straightforward on oneself or to cover a larger area, use a wire brush with solid and stiff bristles to apply the stripper. This is why experts think that paste is a better solution than liquid.
- You may even be able to use an old, clean paintbrush to spread the stripper about. To ensure that you apply the plastic sheet before any of the strippers have dried, work quickly.
- It is possible to break up a large piece of brickwork into portions and apply stripper to each section before applying the sheet. Smooth out any air bubbles in the plastic sheeting before putting it to the surface. When the time comes to peel the paint, this will ensure that it removes all of it.
- Afterward, it would be best if you left the stripper and plastic sheets on the brickwork for the appropriate time. Make careful to confirm with your particular stripper before using it.
Remove The Paint
After the appropriate length of time has elapsed, remove the stripper and sheets from the brickwork. To remove the plastic sheet, grab a corner and pull forcefully, being careful not to damage the sheet in the process.
You should be able to see the paint peeling away from the wall under the sheet, either with the sheet or weakly attached to the wall. If part of the paint is still on there, don’t worry about it. It will be easy to scrape this paint off because it will be loose and flaky.
Avoid damaging the exposed brick by scraping the paint off with a paint scraper, but use a brush with rough bristles to remove any residue. You may still encounter stubborn patches of paint after you’ve removed all of the residual paint.
If the problem persists, repeating the operation might assist (we recommend this if a significant region is being obstinate). Hard-to-remove paint can be removed with white vinegar.
Finally, wash the wall off with a hose or a bucket of water to remove any remaining paint and debris. Power washing is an option at this point if desired. You can then proceed to restore it in any manner you choose.
Removal Of The Paint Without Chemicals
Many professional painters and DIYers have used a chemical-based paint stripper for many years. They can be useful, but many of them are extremely harmful to humans as well as the environment. Starting from the respiratory system, nervous system, brain, eyes, and skin can all be brutally affected by improper use of chemical strippers.
Methylene chloride, one of the most dangerous and harmful chemicals in paint strippers, is one of the worst offenders. The chemical has been removed from the shelves of major home improvement retailers, but it is still widely available.
It would be best if you studied the labels marked on all commercial paint strippers before you begin removing paint. Toluene, ethanol, methanol, and acetone are all active substances that may pose a risk to your health, as can methylene chloride.
If you search the market, you may get paint removers that are less harmful. Consider a paste compound that is less hazardous than a liquid formula since it releases fewer fumes if you decide to use a chemical-based stripper.
Always follow the directions and wear safety gear, including gloves, glasses, and a mask when working with hazardous materials.
Soy-Based Paint Removers
Methyl Soyate is a gel remover made from soybean oil through a methyl ester distillation. This plant-based solvent is better for the environment because it is made from renewable resources rather than petroleum. It’s non-toxic, odorless, non-flammable, and free of ozone-depleting chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
These soy-based gels are safe to be applied on concrete, wood, and metal, but they take a little longer to remove the paint from the surface. Applied with a paintbrush, the product does not evaporate or drop and can be kept in the targetted area for several hours. A soy-based stripper is easier to remove if it is left on for a more extended period on the paint’s surface.
Citrus-Based Paint Removers
Terpenes, organic chemicals originating from plants, are commonly found in citrus-based paint strippers. Turpentine, which is made from pine resin, is also used in paint removal.
Citrus-based removers, including soy-based gels, tend to have a citrus aroma and work more slowly than stronger chemicals in removing paint. Use them on any surface from where you want to remove paints without fear of harming it.
There are still dangerous compounds in these biodegradable strippers that need to be disposed of carefully.
Remove Paint Manually
Choosing not to use a paint remover may appear to be the most environmentally friendly technique of removing paint. Because of the danger of exposure, older residences with lead paint are a serious concern. Wear safety glasses, masks, gloves, etc., if you decide to remove paint by hand.
When it comes to manually removing the paint, there are a variety of techniques you can use.
Scrape it: To remove peeling paint, use scarper made of metal or plastic, but be cautious about not damaging the surface beneath the paint with the scraper.
Heat gun: A heat gun helps in loosening the paint in a certain area. It creates bubbles of the paint, and this is when you need to scrape it because the bubbles will let you know that the paint is loosened.
Sanding: With patience and skill, you can remove paint with sandpaper or an electric sander. The affected area will be irreversibly damaged if you sand too deeply, so be careful while performing this job.
So, here was the exhaustive guide about the process on how to remove paint from brick. Paint removal is not an easy task especially if it is an old and stubborn one. Based on the type of paint and the equipment you have you must decide the best approach.
As we discussed earlier, the testing is important to understand the scenario better, and based on your preference you can later decide the product you are going to use for the paint removal.
The DIY project is quite interesting if you can follow the rules properly. If you are not confident you can call the professionals but if you go through the process strictly you can easily achieve the goal.
Choosing the product which is bio-based can help you maintain the quality of the environment, prevent the products from harming you and give the best results for your brick wall. Share your thoughts with us, we are all ears.
Jenny SteffensHobick is the full-time editor responsible for painting, flooring, bathrooms & home climate coverage at House Whirl. She is a home improvement expert with an eye for design and the skills to get the work done. She knows what turns a house into a home and has the advice and ideas to make upgrades easy and fun.