How to get old paint off brick

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How to get old paint off brick
Removing old paint from brickwork can be tricky. (Getty Thinkstock)

Removing old paint from bricks is a tricky business. Brick is porous, so many products that work on other surfaces will damage or discolour it. Try using the least complicated method first: a stiff bristled brush. If the brush does not work, use a soy-based gel paint remover. The gel will safely remove the old paint with minimum fuss and without damaging the bricks. Soy-based gel paint removers also remove lead and latex paint, enamel paint, varnishes and urethane from brick, concrete, wood and tile.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Stiff bristled scrub brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • Old clothes
  • Face mask
  • Dust sheets
  • Paint brush
  • Soy-based gel paint remover
  • Paint scraper
  • Clean cloths

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Wear old clothes or a protective coverall, goggles, face mask and rubber gloves. Put down a dust sheet under your work area.

  2. 2

    Before buying a chemical paint remover try a stiff-bristled scrub brush. Apply pressure and move the brush in different directions (up and down, side to side) to get the best results.

  3. 3

    Test a small area, behind a door or furniture first to see if the gel causes discolouration to the brick.

  4. 4

    Using a paint brush apply a thick layer, up to 4mm thick, of soy-based gel paint remover. The gel does not run or drip and can be used on walls, ceilings and floors. It can safely be used inside as well as outside. The gel will look wet when it is applied and should not be allowed to dry out.

  5. 5

    Wait for at least an hour before using a paint scraper. Remove a small portion of the gel to determine if the paint has softened. If the paint has not softened, wait another hour and recheck. The gel can stay for several hours, even overnight, without harming the brick.

  6. 6

    Cover the gel with polythene plastic if it starts to dry out.

  7. 7

    Once the paint is softened, remove both the soy-based gel paint remover and the old paint using a paint scraper or other stripping tool.

  8. 8

    Clean the remaining gel residue with a damp cloth or kitchen scrub pad.

  9. 9

    Re-apply the gel as many times as needed (to dry bricks) to completely remove the old paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Soy-based gel paint remover removes lead paint by encapsulating the lead, so that no lead particles are floating in the air while you're removing the old paint.
  • Do not let the soy-based gel paint remover dry out. If it does dry out it becomes harder to remove and you will have more old paint left behind.
  • Pregnant woman should not use this product as it may cause birth defects.
  • Even though soy-based gel paint removers do not produce fumes, you should ventilate the area you are working in by opening windows and doors.
  • Do not power wash or sandblast brick as this can cause permanent damage to the brick.
  • Do not use this product on plastics or vinyls as it will discolour the material.

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