How to take paint off brick

Written by ingrid hansen
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How to take paint off brick
Remove the last remnants of peeling paint from a brick wall. (Image by Hey Paul; Flickr.)

Maybe you're the one who painted your fireplace or exterior brick wall, or perhaps it was the previous owner. Or maybe someone spilled paint on a brick patio. Bricks are porous and absorb paint easily, which can make removing the unwanted paint a difficult task. However, you can take paint off your bricks by using a masonry paint remover and a scrubbing brush.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Masonry cleaning product
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Muriatic acid
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Dust sheets
  • Safety goggles
  • Hair dryer

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  1. 1

    Prepare your workspace with dust sheets or plastic sheeting to protect plants, furniture and other objects.

  2. 2

    Give the bricks a good surface cleaning. Use a hairdryer set to a high temperature to blow away any excess dust and particles.

  3. 3

    Apply a professional-strength masonry cleaning product that is effective at removing paint from masonry. Scrub the treated area with a stiff scrubbing brush.

  4. 4

    Use TSP (Trisodium phosphate) if some of the paint remains. To do this, combine 1 part TSP to 3 parts hot water in a plastic bucket. There are hazards involved with TSP so follow the manufacturer's instructions and always wear protective gloves and goggles while mixing and applying the solution.

  5. 5

    Try muriatic acid if all else fails. This is a very effective paint remover but also a very harsh cleaning product, so follow all manufacturer's instructions and safety guidance before using it on stubborn paint spots.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use TSP with oil-based paints.
  • Take extra precaution with masonry cleaning products, covering your hands with rubber gloves and eyes with safety goggles.
  • Muriatic acid will remove all the paint from your bricks, but it will also take off the first layer of masonry and mortar.

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