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How to sand brick to remove paint

Updated February 21, 2019

Brick is a durable building material and can be found in some homes and outdoor features such as sheds and walls. Some homeowners may accidentally spill paint on a brick surface, and the paint often clings to the surface due to brick's porous nature. Sanding the brick can effectively remove the paint. Take steps to immediately clean your bricks to restore the bricks' appearance and get rid of paint stains.

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  1. Clean the brick surface before sanding. Remove as much paint as possible to reduce the amount of eroding sanding action you must use. Wipe the area with a wet sponge or rag. If the paint has dried or is difficult to remove, shoot a power washer at the area.

  2. Sand the painted brick surface with a handheld piece of sandpaper. This option is best for small areas or removing small specks of paint. Use a coarse-grade sandpaper with a grit designation size of 40 to 50 on the Coated Abrasives Manufacturers Institute (CAMI) scale. Rub the brick briskly to sand away the paint.

  3. Use a sand blaster if you need to remove paint on large brick surfaces, such as an entire wall. Fill the sand blaster's gravity feed with commercial-grade sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

  4. Run the sand blaster and aim it at the brick surface, moving its nozzle back and forth in slow, sweeping movements. The sodium bicarbonate with quickly sand away the paint without causing extensive erosion to the brick surface like standard sand would.

  5. Clean up the area. Use a pressure washer to shoot down the brick and remove the powder left behind after your sanding session. Alternatively, suck away the powder with a shop vacuum.

  6. Warning

    Sand in a sand blaster is typically too harsh for use on brick and will leave the brick surface grooved and pitted. Sand has a hardness rating of 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest. Commercial-grade sodium bicarbonate has a hardness rating of 3.5.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sponge or rag
  • Power washer
  • Sandpaper
  • Sand blaster with gravity feed
  • Commercial-grade sodium bicarbonate
  • Shop vacuum

About the Author

Joshua Duvauchelle

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.

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