How to Take Paint Off Brick Fireplaces

Learn how to remove paint from fireplace bricks.
Learn how to remove paint from fireplace bricks. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your painted brick fireplace, you might consider removing the old paint to restore the original beauty of the bricks. Although you can certainly remove the paint without the service of a professional, removing old paint from fireplace bricks is a tedious process requiring patience and physical effort. Paint seeps deep inside the tiny holes in bricks, which makes removal more difficult than wood or metal. If you are willing to invest the time, you can complete the job using the right procedure.

Things You'll Need

  • Blue tape
  • Tape measure
  • Plastic
  • Scissors
  • Soy-based brick paint remover
  • Paint brush
  • Paint scraper
  • Wire brush
  • Household sponge
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Soap

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Remove the fireplace poker and the screen from the front of the fireplace. Clear off the mantle and push nearby furniture to the other side of the room.

Apply blue painter's tape all the way around the fireplace edge where the bricks meet the drywall and the floor. Wrap tape around metal fixtures protruding from the fireplace to protect from the chemical paint remover.

Measure the length of the fireplace. Unravel a roll of painter's plastic equal to the fireplace measurement. Cut off the sheet of plastic using scissors. Attach the plastic to the edges of the tape around the fireplace. Pull the plastic tight and secure the other end to the wall with blue tape. Cover the floor in front of the fireplace with plastic. The plastic prevents floor and drywall damage from the brick paint remover.

Open a container of soy-based gel designed for brick paint removal. Apply a coating of the brick paint remover to the fireplace bricks, according to the directions noted on the container. Brick paint remover may come equipped with a built-in applicator on the inside of the cap, or you can use an old paintbrush for application.

Scrape the coated bricks with a paint scraper and a wire brush. Apply forceful pressure to loosen and remove layers of old brick paint. Reapply the remover to penetrate tough bottom layers of paint. Continue applying remover and scraping until removing all traces of old paint.

Rinse the remover off the bricks using a household sponge and a clean bucket containing warm water and soap. Wash off the sponge and change the bucket water periodically for faster cleaning. Allow the bricks to dry. Inspect the surface for leftover remover and clean again, if necessary.

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