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I have a red brick wall that was painted. I need to figure out an easy method of removing the paint without damaging the brick. Are there any tried and true methods?

One thing to remember is that these bricks have a lot of pores!

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Is the paint water or oil based? –  Walker Jul 22 '10 at 9:23
    
I think it's latex paint (water based?) –  Joe Philllips Sep 11 '10 at 16:12
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2 Answers

From what I understand, sandblasting works best, but requires serious machinery/produces huge amounts of dust and noise. Next up is "dry ice blasting" (pellets of dry ice are shot at the wall where they explode, and remove the paint). This is also loud, expensive, and can damage the bricks. You can also just sand the wall with various hand tools (VERY labor intensive).

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We ended up finding out that solvents + steel and brass bristled brushes worked the best. But it takes FOREVER and takes more than one pass at a certain area. –  Joe Philllips Jul 29 '11 at 18:57
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You're likely to need a paint solvent to get it all off. Since the brick likely absorbed some of the paint, sand blasting will only take you part way there (unless you're willing to remove some of the brick itself). Here is an okay article on removing graffiti, but regard wall paint is thicker than most spray paint, so you might want to start with sanding (or sand blasting), then switch to the solvents.

Whenever working with solvents indoors, keep in mind making sure there is LOTS of fresh air available to you.

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I second this. Paint solvent is nasty, but it can get in the pores of the brick and remove the paint. My wife and I did this a few years ago to get paint off a brick fireplace. While it was hard work, we eventually got all the paint off. We really had to saturate the brick to get the last remnants off. –  Andrew MacDonald Jul 24 '10 at 23:29
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