Lurking behind that paint might be a beautiful brick fireplace or wall. Though the paint was someone else’s vision (or your own prior project), now it’s your dream to remove that paint from the brick. With the right materials and a little concerted effort, it’s possible to strip paint from brick in small applications such as interior walls or fireplaces—restoring them to near-original condition.
Before You Begin
For interior brick, the best method of removing paint is to apply a non-caustic paint stripper, scrape, and then brush. It’s a manual job that takes time—and is why removing brick from the exterior of a whole house or building is much, much easier said than done—but it’s made somewhat easier with an effective paint stripper.
Pressure-washing and sandblasting can damage your house’s interior. Either method, too, can pit or chip the brick beyond repair.
No paint stripper will do it all for you, but some strippers will do it better (and more safely) than others. Make sure your paint stripper does not contain harmful ingredients such as methylene chloride (also known as dichloromethane or DCM) or N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP).
For vertical surfaces such as walls and fireplaces, purchase a gel-based paint stripper. Gel strippers stick better to vertical surfaces and they apply in thick coats.
For vertical applications, plan on purchasing about one gallon of gel-based paint stripper for every 75 square feet. You will apply two and sometimes even three layers of paint stripper. An average-size fireplace is about 25 square feet. Six linear feet of an interior brick wall is about 48 square feet.
Codes and Permits
If you do choose to strip paint with a paint stripper containing methylene chloride, you may need to obtain a permit to use the product or follow certain emissions management practices. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the usage of such products to reduce emissions, and requirements vary based on where, how, and to what extent the stripper is being used.
Though there are options for paint strippers that don’t contain methylene chloride, most products can still be hazardous. Always follow manufacturer instructions, wear chemical-resistant gloves, eyewear, and protective clothing, and work in a well-ventilated space.
Source: The Spruce