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How to Remove Paint From Stonework

Updated February 21, 2017

Improper paint stripping techniques can cause permanent damage to relatively sensitive surfaces, such as wood, plastic and vinyl. Fortunately, stonework is durable enough to endure aggressive stripping methods. Before repainting finished stonework, eliminate old, failing paint, or adhesion problems will probably result. If you'd prefer to strip the entire painted finish to expose the bare stonework, utilise a stripping solvent that will ease the removal process. Wear the proper safety equipment when working with harsh solvents, or fume build-up could cause you to experience headaches and nausea.

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  1. Free as much paint as possible from exterior stonework using a pressure washer. Use a wide-angle tip, or you may end up damaging the mortar between each stone.

  2. Scrape large sheets of flaking paint form the stonework using a putty knife.

  3. Free paint particles from tight, awkward areas using a durable, abrasive wire brush.

  4. Smooth any remaining stubborn paint particles with 80-grit sandpaper. Fold the paper to fit within the mortar between each stone if necessary.

  5. Wear a protective respirator if you're working on interior stonework. Open windows and doors.

  6. Brush paint stripping solvent onto no more than a 2-by-2-foot portion of the stonework. Wait three minutes before scraping the loosened paint from the surface using a wire brush and 80-grit sandpaper.

  7. Wash off any liquefied paint residue, using steel wool dampened with stripping solvent. Continue until the stonework is free from paint. Wait an hour for the solvent to evaporate from the stones.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pressure washer
  • Metal putty knife
  • Wire brush
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Respirator
  • Paint stripping solvent
  • 2- to 4-inch natural-bristled paintbrush
  • Steel wool

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.

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