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How to Get Paint off Brick

Whether it’s down to former tastes or foul play, removing paint from brick can be something of a pain. Nobody wants to spend endless hours scrubbing away on their hands and knees, quite often with minimal results, so how can you get rid of paint from brick effectively? 

The BC Profiles team have put together a handy, easy-to-follow six-step process on how to get paint off brickwork with impressive results! 

What You’ll Need

First things first, let’s check a list of the possible equipment and accessories you might need to safely and efficiently get rid off paint from brick. 

  • Protective clothing
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Decorators tape
  • Brick Cleaner
  • Heavy-duty paint stripper
  • Firm bristled brush
  • Drywall knife or trowel

Why is Paint so Difficult to Remove from Brick?

Brick is a naturally porous material, and so anything that’s applied to the surface of the brickwork will soak in and take to the brick. This includes the likes of paint and explains why paints and treatments can be so difficult to remove.

How to Remove Paint from Bricks

Paint, in particular masonry paint, is designed to protect the brickwork from the elements, damage and general wear and tear. Given bricks porous nature and the resistance of paint, removing the latter from the former can prove to be a difficult task. 

There are certain steps that you can take to remove paint, but it’s best to proceed with caution so as not to inflict potentially expensive damage on your walls. 

1. Test on a Small Area First

With this in mind, the best approach is to test your chosen paint stripper on a small area of the wall first. The more inconspicuous the area the better, so pick a shaded corner or a section of the wall that’s out of view.

The reasoning behind this? Once exposed, the brick may not be in a shade of your liking, or the masonry paint may even have been applied to hide damage and imperfections to the brickwork. You’ll also be able to gauge how resistant the paint is to stripping solutions, determining whether you need something a little stronger or you’ve got the right tools for the job. 

2. Prepare the Area

Preparing the work area will make things much easier for you down the line. Ensure that the space is free from clutter and brush away any evident flaky paint. 

This is where your plastic sheeting comes in. Not only will tarps and protective sheeting save your floor from any spills, but it’ll also help you to collect any dust, debris and paint flakes making your cleanup process a whole lot simpler. 

Don’t forget that decorator’s tape while you’re there; mask off any areas that you don’t want the paint stripper to touch such as window frames, wood trims and any decorative brick borders. 

3. Prepare the Surface

Next, you must prepare the surface before applying your paint stripper. Scrape away any flaky paint with your trowel and use a brick cleaner to give the surface the best chance it’s got. 

4. Apply the Paint Stripper

First, make sure that you’re wearing protective clothing; you’re able to get disposable, protective suits for painting from most DIY stores while work gloves and masks are also recommended.

Apply the heavy-duty paint stripper to the surface as per the manufacturer’s instructions; most paint strippers will need multiple layers to effectively complete the job, so set time aside for this and build up the layers of paint stripper as recommended. 

5. Remove the Paint Stripper 

Once you’ve left the solution for the appropriate amount of time, it’s time to remove the paint stripper. Do this with your hard-bristled brush, firmly scrubbing away at the brickwork in a back and forth motion to work away at the brick’s pores and reach any paint that’s set into cracks and crevices.  

If you come across any stubborn flakes of paint that need a little more persuasion, reach for your trowel and scrape them away. 

6. Wash the Brickwork

Using clean warm water, rinse the entire surface of the brick to remove any remaining areas of paint stripper or stubborn flakes. Leave the brick to dry and then inspect once again so you’re able to spot any areas that might need retreating or cleaning again with a second wash with warm water.

If you found our guide on how to remove paint from brickwork helpful, browse the rest of our BC Profiles blog page where you’ll find more handy how to’s, tips and comprehensive guides. 

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