We recently purchased a 130+ years old house and have been restoring the plaster walls. We realized one of the walls is the chimney to the fireplace. I removed the plaster as best as I could before the people who restored the walls did their job.

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**Question: ** How can I remove the plaster from the brick and make it look refined? It doesn't have to perfect, but I would like the lines to be more defined than they are now

I want to do this myself and try to keep the brick as intact as possible.

  • 1
    It's never going to look 'refined'. Those bricks were never meant to be seen, so aren't smooth-faced & perfect-edged like exterior brick. They're also not built with an eye to perfectly even mortar lines either. They will make a fine feature wall, but you have to bear in mind they will always look 'rugged'. Call it 'shabby chic' if anyone asks.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 23, 2021 at 16:44
  • @Tetsujin, I agree its never going to be perfect, but would like it cleaner than it is now. Dec 24, 2021 at 14:41

2 Answers 2


I used a wire brush, scraper and a hammer & chisel.

Choose wisely depending on how the plaster comes off.

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    What kind of a wire brush? Was it a steel wire brush, or brass or other wire material? What type, size, and weight of hammer and what shape and size of chisel? Dec 23, 2021 at 13:54
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    @RichardChambers can’t remember - last time I did this was some 20 years ago… but the wire brush was cheap steel… hammer was in one hand so less than 15lbs, but I did have a 10lb sledge with a short handle that I used as a tapping stick. Chisel had a taper point and a second was 4" wide for larger bits. Common sense to be used liberally.
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 23, 2021 at 14:16
  • I used a chisel and a mallet to remove the plaster from the brick in the first place, so I will continue to do so in the difficult spots. Also, I'll accept this as the answer as I couldn't easily locate places that will rent a needle gun. Home Depot does sell them Dec 24, 2021 at 14:43

To do this rapidly, you'd use either sand/shot blasting [hugely messy & better for outdoors] or a needle gun [still messy but not much more than a wire brush] - mains or air powered.
You can hire these by the day - maybe $£€ 50 pd. UK example

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