Removing paint from brick can be done with little or no damage if the brick was in good condition before it was painted. Avoid potential damage that could be caused by using the wrong paint removal procedure by instead following these simple guidelines during your removal process.
Sandblasting and power-washing are quick and easy, but they can cause erosion damage, especially to older bricks that are likely to have a softer surface. These power methods should only be used if other methods fail.
Chemical solutions can cause surface failures and can change the color of older bricks. Avoid certain liquid chemical solutions such as acid and even low-pressure washing, which can force moisture through the porous brick surface and cause damage.
The safest, but unfortunately most time-consuming method, is to use strips of fabric applied over paint removal paste. The fabric should be soft and porous enough to absorb gel or paste paint remover.
Test a Small Area
Before stripping the paint from the brick, testing the procedure on a small area that is not as likely to be seen is recommended. From this test, you should be able to determine several things. These include the paint removal system's effectiveness, the condition of the bricks, the safety of potential chemicals, and an estimated amount of time to remove the paint.
Once the test paint has softened and adhered to the fabric, it can be peeled away, and the softened paint will come away with the fabric without any potentially harmful lead paint chips.
Most likely, some paint and chemicals will remain on the brick and will need to be cleaned off after the initial process. The remaining paint can then be removed by scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush and rinsing with clean water. Wire brushes are not recommended, as they can damage the brick. When using water to rinse, avoid using pressure, which can cause damage or force moisture into soft bricks.
If there are multiple layers of paint, this process, including scrubbing and rinsing, may need to be repeated.
Your paint removal project should be completed months ahead of freezing weather to allow moisture to migrate out of the bricks and mortar.