How to Get Paint Off Brick Fireplace?

Do you want to remove old paint from your brick fireplace? Learn how to do it correctly

A brick fireplace can be a great part of your home’s interior, especially if the brick is old and looks aged. However, people often want to experiment, so they paint their brick fireplaces.

However, later you may change your mind and decide to remove the coat of paint from the brick. This is the very moment when homeowners ask how to remove paint from a brick fireplace correctly.

Today, you will learn more about removing paint from a fireplace made of brick. We will tell you how to get ready for the process, what tools and materials you will need, and of course, you will learn how to undergo the paint removal procedure step by step.

Also, we will explain what things should be considered before you start stripping paint off your fireplace and what paint-removing products will work better for this purpose.

How to Remove Paint From a Brick Fireplace?

When you need to remove paint from a fireplace made of brick, your biggest concern will be the possible damage you may cause to the brick by the paint stripper. Brick is quite a delicate material, although it seems durable, so you should be delicate and cautious when removing paint from it!

Paint Stripper - How To Remove Old Paint from Brick and Brickwork - Product Link in DescriptionPaint Stripper – How To Remove Old Paint from Brick and Brickwork – Product Link in Description

Before you proceed, you need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies ready.
Equipment / Tools

  • Paintbrush
  • Putty knife
  • Five-in-one tool
  • Wire brush
  • Steel wool
  • Plastic bags
  • Kitchen gloves
  • Clean bucket

Materials:

  • Paint stripper
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Painter’s tape
  • Lead paint test kit
  • TSP

Once all this is at hand, read how to take the paint off of a brick fireplace safely.

How to Remove Paint From a Brick Fireplace
laurenthive via VistaCreate

Make the Paint Test First

Use the lead test kit to ensure the paint on your fireplace is safe and lead-free. Slice off a small amount of paint and send the sample to the laboratory. If the tests are negative for lead, you can remove the paint from the brick safely. But if the lead is detected in the paint, you must ask a lead abatement contractor to perform the job.

Add Plastic Sheeting

If the paint is safe and contains no lead, your next step will be to tape down plastic sheeting on the floor in front of the fireplace and around it on the wall. Cover all nearby furniture, as well as other items that cannot be removed, to protect them from dust.

Add Plastic Sheeting
huangcarlos via VistaCreate

Clean Brick

Before you start removing the paint, you need to clean your fireplace. Add the TSP and warm water to the clean bucket and remove soot from your fireplace. Your goal is to eliminate any dirt or soot that may prevent you from stripping the paint or make the process difficult.

Proceed With the Paint Stripper

In most cases, a paint stripper is the easiest way to remove paint from brick. Make sure you are wearing protective gear, and brush the paint stripper onto the brick. We recommend you apply the stripper in thick layers, as thin layers will dry too quickly.

If you don’t want to use chemicals, you may use white vinegar as a substitute. It can also remove paint from bricks successfully. However, vinegar needs time to soak into the paint, which makes this method more time-consuming.

Proceed With the Paint Stripper
Giulio_Fornasar via VistaCreate

Test the Paint to See If It’s Soft Enough

Test the paint with the putty knife to check how solid it is. The paint should be thick and goopy, soft all the way down to the surface, and easily removable. If this is how it looks, scrape the paint away.

Apply a Second Coat of Stripper

Some paints are more durable than others, plus older paint may remain on the brick surface longer. If you see there is still paint after stripping, apply a second coat of stripper. Let it sit for about 4 hours, and then remove the remaining paint.

As you can see, there is basically nothing difficult about removing paint from your brick fireplace. All you should do is follow the described steps and ensure you use the correct tools and products.

Apply a Second Coat of Stripper
VadimVasenin via VistaCreate

Useful Tips for Removing Paint From Brick Safely

To not damage the brick, you should use the right paint-removing products. But also, it is essential to keep a few helpful tips in mind. With their help, you will make the paint removal much easier and faster!

  • If the paint stripper is drying too fast, tape a sheet of plastic over the area to slow down the process.
  • Apply the paint stripper in thicker layers.
  • Make sure you have enough time to remove the paint and avoid working too long during each session!
  • Allow the paint stripper enough time to work. Make sure you don’t wait too little or too long because waiting too long means the paint may solidify again.
  • Work in small sections.
Useful Tips for Removing Paint From Brick Safely
edi01 via VistaCreate

What to Consider Before You Start Stripping Paint From a Brick Fireplace?

Removing paint from fireplace bricks can be a tricky task! So if this is going to be your first paint removal, you should be aware of the essential factors and nuances that may impact the success of the whole process!

How NOT to strip old paint from brick wallsHow NOT to strip old paint from brick walls

Remember About the Common Problems With Painted Brick

Before removing paint from the brick, you must figure out when it was painted. Painted brick in older homes may contain lead! So you should always make a paint test by gently removing a small paint section and testing it with a lead testing kit.

Also, your brick fireplace might be painted to seal moisture or conceal imperfections like cracked and damaged brick. Such flaws might need repair, which means additional costs for you!

Take Paint Removal Methods Into Account

Different methods of paint removal take distinct amounts of time. Using a paint stripper usually takes several days to complete the whole process. Pressure washing and sandblasting will take less, but they can damage your fireplace beyond repair.

Consider Codes and Permits When Removing Paint From a Brick Fireplace

If you choose to strip paint with a paint stripper that contains methylene chloride, you may need to obtain a permit to use the product. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the usage of such products, and requirements vary based on where and how the stripper is being used.

Consider Codes and Permits When Removing Paint From a Brick Fireplace
kapinosova via VistaCreate

Remember About Safety!

Quite many paint strippers can still be hazardous. This is why you must always follow manufacturer safety instructions, wear chemical-resistant gloves, eyewear, and protective clothing, and work in a well-ventilated space!

With these nuances in mind, your paint removal procedure will be both effective and safe!

Best Products to Strip Paint Off Your Brick Fireplace

As a paint-stripping newbie, you might not be aware of the best and most effective products that should be used for removing old paint from your brick fireplace. We decided to help you out and prepared a list of the optimal variants you may want to consider.

Best Products to Strip Paint Off Your Brick Fireplace
shirotie via VistaCreate

TSP

If you only need to remove a thin layer of paint from a brick fireplace, TSP is the best option. You can repeat the process of paint removal several times before rinsing the brick with clean water. But if not all the paint comes off, this means the paint may be thicker than TSP can handle. In this case, a paint stripper will be a better option.

Gel Paint Stripper

To remove the old paint from your brick fireplace, you’ll want to go with a gel product. The gel paint stripper sticks better to vertical surfaces, which means there will be less dripping and mess.

However, you should still cover the area around your fireplace to protect the floor and all the items from dust and the paint stripper splashes/drops!

Vinegar

If there’s still some paint left on the brick after using the stripper, or if you don’t want to use chemicals, a vinegar and water solution could help you out. Use hot water and add white vinegar to it to create a 50/50 ratio mixture. Apply the vinegar solution to the brick and scrub with a stiff-bristled brush.

Acetone

Although acetone is highly effective at removing paint, it is also highly flammable. Besides, acetone fumes are potentially harmful to inhale. This is why it can’t be considered the ideal option for spaces where open flames are common.

If you do use acetone, you’ll need to work pretty quickly. Also, never leave your work unattended! The acetone may go through the paint faster than you expect. Best of all, work in sections. Apply the acetone and let it sit for a few minutes. Then scrub with a stiff-bristled brush and rinse the brick.

Acetone
megaflopp via VistaCreate

WD-40

If your brick fireplace is painted with water-based paint, WD-40 could be the best option to remove it. Simply spray the area with WD-40, let it sit for a few minutes, then dab up the paint. For stubborn spots, spray fresh WD-40, scrub the spots with a stiff brush, and then wipe up the paint.

Now you have a complete guide on paint removal from a brick fireplace. You have detailed instructions on what steps to take to remove the old paint from your fireplace. Also, you are now aware of the best products that should be used for this project.

We also explained what nuances should be considered before you start, so you can be sure the process will go smoothly!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐Can you restore the brick after painting it?

Brick can be restored to its original condition after painting, but this can be a time-consuming process. You will have to make multiple applications of paint stripper, a lot of scrubbing, and cleaning.

⭐Does paint thinner ruin brick?

A paint stripper is a better option for brick than paint thinner. A paint thinner can be used when you paint brick to touch up spots while the paint is still drying.

⭐Does painting brick bring the value of a home down?

On the contrary! See, painting brick can be an expensive process. If your home's exterior brick is painted, this can increase its resale value.

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Melinda worked as an art consultant and Home Designer for eight years in total. As an art consultant, she was first employed in a local art gallery in San Francisco where she was responsible for picking the most suitable artwork for her clients depending on their goals and budget. At this job, Melinda showed herself as a confident specialist and a true art lover with exceptional taste and artistic sense. Melinda is a passionate author of Housekeeping Bay and we are really happy that she is our Expert.
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