How to remove paint from the exterior of a brick house

Written by billy mccarley
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How to remove paint from the exterior of a brick house
Go back to bare brick and change the look of your home. (VvoeVale/iStock/Getty Images)

Many brick homes have been painted over the years as a means to decorate and change the colours of the face of the brick, or even accidentally painted from paint being spilt or splashed onto surrounding bricks. If you are planning on removing paint from your home's exterior brick facade, then you should know about the tools and techniques available for a clean and successful job completion.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Lead test kit
  • Plastic tarpaulin
  • Eye goggles
  • Pressure washer

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  1. 1

    Check the paint on the face of your brick for lead contaminate. If you are not sure about the age of your paint, then you should always test the paint for lead. Lead can cause a myriad of health problems, with the most serious being lead poisoning. The lead test kits can be bought, relatively cheap, from your local paint or hardware shop. You will simply remove a small flake of paint from the brick, and add it to a chemical compound within the test kit. If there is lead present, then you should consult a professional before you proceed.

  2. 2

    Cover the ground below the brick walls of your home with a plastic tarpaulin. Regardless of whether your home has lead in its paint or not, you will want to capture any paint chips and debris onto a tarp. This will make cleanup easier, as well as provide an extra amount of precaution. Failure to cover the ground will result in paint chips littered in your landscaping and grass.

  3. 3

    Rent or buy a 10350 kPa (1500 psi) or greater pressure washer. If you don't already have a pressure washer, you can rent one from your local tool-rental shop. Pay attention to the colour coded tips: red, green, yellow, white and black. The red is most powerful and should be avoided when cleaning brick, and the black is least powerful but should not be used because of its lack of cleaning power; use the yellow or green tips for a more effective cleaning application.

  4. 4

    Hold the tip of the pressure washing wand 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inches) away from the wall. Work in even motions across the wall from left to right. Try not to hold the water pressure in one spot for long; this will damage the brick. Pay special attention to the deep pours of the brick, and make sure all paint is removed. Try to keep the water pressure off of any wood trim around windows or overhangs.

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