How to Restore a Painted Brick Fireplace


A brick fireplace is often the focal point of a home. Brick is a durable material that withstands years of wear. Although unpainted bricks provide natural aesthetic value, painting the surface of brickwork can make your fireplace blend well with the rest of your decor. However, as paint on bricks ages, it can peel and detract from the appearance of your fireplace. Restoring a painted fireplace can bring your bricks back to their original state.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish detergent
  • Scrub brush
  • Rag
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Paint stripper
  • Large wire brush
  • Small wire brush
  • Mortar repair compound
  • Clean the surface of your bricks with a solution of dish detergent and hot water. Use a scrub brush to remove smoke stains, dust and debris. Rinse the bricks with a rag soaked in hot water, removing all traces of soap and contaminants. Let your bricks dry while you prepare your work area.

  • Supply adequate ventilation by opening windows and setting up fans. Cover your floor with a piece of plastic sheeting. Lay several layers of newspaper on top of your plastic to absorb any spills.

  • Brush your paint stripper over the surface of your bricks, following the package instructions. Let your stripper absorb for the recommended amount of time, usually five to 10 minutes.

  • Remove the loosened paint with a large wire brush. Create small, circular motions with your wire brush to buff away the old paint. Use gentle pressure to avoid damaging your bricks.

  • Brush on another application of paint remover to loosen any stubborn particles of paint. Allow the second coat adequate time to soak into the paint, then buff away the old paint with your large wire brush. Use your small wire brush to work on small depressions in the bricks and the adjoining mortar. Depending on the texture and porosity of your bricks, you may need to apply an additional coat of stripper to specific areas that retain particles of paint.

  • Wash your stripped bricks with soap and water, scrubbing to remove the stripper. Rinse the surface with hot water and allow the bricks to dry.

  • Repair any chips in the mortar between your bricks with a mortar repair compound. Mix the compound according to the manufacturer's instructions, and press it into the depressions with a small putty knife. Smooth the moist compound with a finger to blend it with the surrounding mortar. Remove any mortar smudges from nearby bricks with a rag. Once the mortar sets up, you can begin using your restored fireplace.

Tips & Warnings

  • Protect your hands with rubber gloves when using caustic chemicals, such as paint remover.

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