According to Handy, removing paint from an old brick wall is not that hard if you have the correct materials, know the relevant information, and follow the correct steps in order. This is true regardless of the paint type and you can get the job done within 2-3 sessions, each session lasting for about 3 hours.
Here are a few steps you may follow to remove paint from brick:
- Acquiring the correct materials and tools – Before you get started with the project, you need to gather the correct materials. For instance, since brick is porous, you cannot scrub it with a steel wool or scraper to remove all the paint. Removing paint particles deeply embedded in the brick crevices requires a caustic paint stripper. It’s also important to choose a paint stripper that is designed for masonry use. Avoid using paint strippers that contain methylene chloride since it is extremely toxic and tends to drip more than paint strippers with methylene-free formulas.
Other important materials and tools that you would require include a drywall knife, a stiff-bristled wire brush, drop cloth, painter’s tape, plastic sheeting, long-sleeved shirt, protective painter’s gear, paint goggles, and peeling strips.
- Preparation and testing – Although not necessary, you can wash the brick prior to applying the stripper to make the process of paint removal from a brick wall easier. A garden hose can come in handy if you are outdoors, but you can simply wash the brick by rinsing it with a rag soaked in lukewarm water. It is important to allow the bricks to dry for about 12 hours or more after you rinse them. Finally, you may place a drop cloth below the work area to catch paint flakes and debris.
It’s crucial to wear protective gear before starting with the project to avoid health hazards. Thus, make sure to wear work gloves, a face mask or a respirator, goggles, and a long-sleeved shirt at the bare minimum.
Once the preparation is done, it’s time to test the different batches of paint strippers. Scoop up a small amount of paint stripper using your putty knife and apply it to 2-3 bricks that are in an obscure corner below. Next, apply some plastic sheeting and wait for half an hour before removing and inspecting the area. Ideally, the paint stripper would remove the paint well and not cause any damage. Otherwise, you would want to switch the paint stripper brand.
- Application and removal – The final step is to apply the paint stripper of your choice with your putty knife on the painted brick surface. Make sure that the coat is as thick as peanut butter on a sandwich, and it doesn’t dry before you cover it with the plastic coat. The process becomes easier if you divide the total surface area into 3 feet sections and cover it with the plastic sheet immediately once each section is completely coated. Wait for 30 minutes before removing to witness the magic. Although, you may need to use your putty knife to scrape off paint flecks from some areas that still have some pain on their surface.
Handy suggests you don’t ignore any steps listed in the guide and follow them diligently to remove paint from your brick wall.