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My wife and I bought our home 2 years ago and we recently had water damage in our basement. After getting a sump pump and drain installed, we decided to redo the basement which includes a fireplace. The previous owners of our property decided that it would be cool to cover their fireplace with mirrors (I don't recommend doing this). I was able to remove the mirrors but the bricks are left with adhesive/glue residue.

What is the best way to remove adhesive from bricks? I tried a few different chemical solutions that yielded no results.

I was able to scrape off some of the glue with a putty knife but the brick is left with 'light' spots and the wall would look like a dalmatian (light spots at random intervals). Is it better to sand down the entire fireplace so that the color is consistent? What's the best way to sand brick?

Fireplace Wide View.

Close-up of Adhesive.

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  • Heat has not been an option so far since the adhesive residue is rather large. Dec 2 '20 at 23:26
  • Assuming you have already exhausted the options of heat: Typically I have been able to get rid of most of my adhesive stains using an oil based "lotion". In my case I technically used a simple cooking oil/water emulsion to remove adhesive stains from painted wood. Brick is a bit special as it is veeery absorbant, however the material around your adhesive is already significantely discoloured, so an approach using some oil/jelly might be possible (as always: start on a part of the surface where a permanent stain would not matter and wait a while to see the result). Dec 2 '20 at 23:28
  • Please be aware though that even non fire brick is designed to whitstand temperatures up to 1000°F. Hardly any adhesive designed to just stick a plate to brick wall will be able to handle this kind of punishment. Dec 2 '20 at 23:34
  • Some organic "rubbery" adhesives are more easily scraped off if frozen, e.g. with dry ice. Dec 3 '20 at 0:19
  • Find an old brick somewhere and use a rough face to "sand" the adhesive off.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 3 '20 at 18:23
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Yeah, that's a tough one. You don't want to damage the brick, but the adhesive has already done that.

What I would suggest would be an angle grinder to flatten the adhesive, and then painting the bricks. If painting them all isn't ideal (i.e. you want bricks, not a painted wall), pick some brick-like colors and paint the ones that are damaged. As long as the paint is matte, it shouldn't be terribly noticeable in the room. People will chalk the color variations up to the brick schema.

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    I still think before using a grinder on it I would recommend using a blow torch... Once you start grinding there is not really any way back. Brick should be less susceptible to heat than mechanical work. Dec 2 '20 at 23:49
  • Yeah, I don't suggest it lightly, but not all adhesives of that type will come off with mere heat either. Gently grinding it is the most sensible way I know of, and then hide it with paint.
    – Machavity
    Dec 3 '20 at 0:05
  • Hide it in pain(t) seems like a good idea ;) Dec 3 '20 at 0:06
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Tile.

tile https://www.thespruce.com/fireplaces-with-beautiful-tile-4153599

Your bricks have been uglified. And even if you clean them up they are just bricks. But this is an opportunity to put a rocking tile face over this fireplace. There are some really beautiful ideas for tile in this sort of application. It will be easier to clean them too.

And if you are dead set it should look like bricks, then use brick tile. You will not hurt the feelings of these poor stained bricks you have. They will still have a job, and sweet new duds!

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