The Best Way to Strip Paint Off of Brick

Written by ryan lawrence
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The Best Way to Strip Paint Off of Brick
Do not bring the tip of the pressure washer closer than 6 inches to the brick surface or you may severely damage the brick mortar. (Brick image by Luke Haverkamp from Fotolia.com)

If you plan to paint a brick surface that has already been painted, there's no need to strip off the old paint. Instead, the best course of action is to simply paint over the old coat. However, if you would like to strip off the old paint because you want to expose the original brick as part of a remodelling scheme, you're going to need to demonstrate a great deal of care. Many do-it-yourselfers lose their patience and become too aggressive when trying to strip paint off of brick. Before you get started, you should know the best way to go about it, or you may end up damaging the mortar between the bricks.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Pressure washer
  • Paint stripper
  • 4-inch oil-based paintbrush
  • Metal putty knife
  • Wire brush
  • White spirit

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Strip away as much paint from the brick as possible by concentrating a direct stream of water using the pressure washer. Begin the washer on a low setting and stand 4 feet away from the brick surface. Increase pressure gradually, and slowly move closer to the surface. Do not bring the tip of the pressure washer closer than 6 inches to the brick surface or you may risk damaging the mortar between the bricks.

  2. 2

    Allow the surface to dry completely. Apply paint stripper to the remaining paint using a 4-inch, oil-based paintbrush. Apply to no more than a 3- by 3-foot area at one time. Allow the stripper to sit for five minutes.

  3. 3

    Scrape away the paint from the brick surface using a metal putty knife. Scrape away the paint from the mortar filled crevices between the brick using a wire brush. Repeat as necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • If you need to clean a small amount of paint drips or splatters from a brick surface, apply white spirit to it using a 4-inch, oil-based paintbrush. Allow the spirits to sit for three minutes, and then scrape the paint away using a metal putty knife.
  • A pressure washer is a very effective and powerful tool when it comes to removing paint from brick and concrete surfaces. You may be surprised just how much paint you're able to strip away using only the pressure washer. However, these machines are also capable of causing severe damage if used recklessly.

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