Painted brick or stone fireplaces are a hot button for a number of home owners. Some people like the bright, white appearance of whitewashed or painted stone, while others detest the idea of covering up the rich character and charm of stone surfaces. If you have a stone fireplace that is coated with years of paint and you are dying to find out what is underneath, get ready for some hard work. Stripping paint from stone will be challenging but can be done by the ambitious home owner.
Clean the fireplace stone carefully using a de-greasing cleaner. A clean surface allows the paint stripper to more easily penetrate the paint. Dry the stone thoroughly.
Apply paint stripper to the surface of the stone with an old paintbrush. The brush will be ruined after applying the stripper so choose one you are ready to throw away. Use a gel or paste stripper for best results. Apply the stripper in a thick, 1/4-inch coat.
Let the stripper penetrate the paint for 20 to 30 minutes. Test a small section of the paint by pushing underneath it to see if it has softened. Softened paint will peel away easily from the stone.
Scrape away the softened paint with a scraper. Continue scraping the paint until most has been removed.
Dip a piece of steel wool in the paint stripper. Rub the surface of the stone with the steel wool to remove any residual traces of the paint. Continue scrubbing until all paint is removed.
Rinse the stone by dipping a sponge into clean water. Wipe the stones with the water to remove the chemicals. Change the water often.
Many times stone has been painted over for a reason. Either the surface is damaged or the stone had an unattractive colour or finish. Remove the paint from a small section to start. This allows you to test your removal method and also reveals a sampling of what is hidden underneath the paint.