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How to take paint off brick

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

Tip

You can use TSP with oil-based paints.

Warning

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.

Things You'll Need

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

Ingrid Hansen has been published in "Twin Cities Business" magazine, the "Murphy Reporter," "Twin Cities Parent" magazine and the "Southwest Journal" newspaper. She has also written more than 30 non-fiction books for the K-12 library and education market, and has been a subject matter expert and a course designer for online college curriculum. She teaches English Composition at a local college, and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Hamline University.