Natural brick is preferred by many homeowners, so you may be dismayed to find that a previous owner decided to paint the brick in your home. Paint, once applied, is very difficult to remove from brick. However, if you have the time and patience, and a little bit of luck, you may be able to remove the paint.
Before beginning, you should consider that whoever painted the brick had a very good reason to do so. You may find mismatched brick, discolored brick, or stained brick underneath the paint. If possible, try to find out why the paint was applied in the first place. If you are removing the paint from the brick without knowing what is beneath it, be prepared to paint the brick once more if you find something you don’t like. If you must repaint, use a latex or lime based paint for best results.
Step 1: Generously apply a gel based paint remover to the surface of the brick.
TIP: It is best to spot test the remover to make sure it will not discolor the surface of the brick. Choose an out of the way area for the spot test. If the paint remover works as expected, continue using it on the rest of the brick.
Step 2: Place a piece of cheap fabric over the surface that has just been covered with paint remover. With a gloved hand, press the fabric into place, into the paint remover.
Step 3: Wait the recommended time for the paint remover to sit on the brick. Then, wearing gloves, carefully remove the piece of fabric. Often the old paint will have adhered to the fabric. The fabric also prevents the paint remover from drying out too quickly.
Step 4: Use a stiff bristled nylon brush to remove the rest of the paint that did not adhere to the fabric. If necessary, apply a second coat of the paint remover, then use the nylon brush to remove the paint that is softened.
TIP: It is important to have a disposal plan already in place for the used paint. Many areas have local laws governing how this paint and paint remover should be discarded to minimize the environmental impact of the waste.
Step 5: Once all of the paint is removed from a specific area, clean the surface of the brick with water and a sponge. Allow the brick to dry completely before repainting or further cleaning the brick.