- Maintaining bricks
Brick is porous, so paint sinks into all the grooves on the surface. It is impossible to scrape like wood, and interior walls cannot easily be water- or sand-blasted. Chemical and gel masonry strippers are the solution for inside walls; and while the process of stripping the brick is not complicated, it involves multiple applications of stripper and lots of scrubbing, making it a time-consuming project.
Fresh wet paint should be soaked up with an absorbent material without wiping the paint, as this will spread the stain. It should then be treated with a suitable solvent, such as white spirit, and then the area washed with a de-greasing agent taking care in the disposal of the run-off material.
With dried paint, the paint should be scraped off as far as possible and then a paint remover to BS3761 (4) should be applied.
- Put on safety goggles, a face mask and work gloves to avoid coming into contact with the stripper chemicals or fumes.
- Brush the masonry paint stripper generously over the brick wall with the brush, starting with one corner and working outward and downward. Reposition the ladder to work on the top of the wall first all the way across; then continue working on the next section until the entire brick has been covered in stripper.
- Wait the amount of time specified by the manufacturer. Then begin at the top of the wall again and scrub the masonry paint stripper off with a stiff-bristled brush. Paint will come off in chunks and flakes; continue to wear the protective gear. Scrub the entire wall with the brush, removing as much of the paint as possible.
- Wash the brick wall with rags and warm water to remove clinging paint and the stripping compound. Allow it to air-dry.
- Reapply another layer of masonry paint stripper to remove stubborn paint. Allow it to sit on the brick and scrub again. This step may have to be done several times to get most of the paint off the brick wall. Repeat the rinsing process to remove the stripper.
- Spray the stripped brick wall with white vinegar, and scrub off any remaining paint residue with a clean brush. Rinse with water.
Pressure washing should not be used as it can quickly erode the surface of bricks. Some caustic chemical solutions can cause surface failures or can change the color of old bricks. Rapid deterioration is then likely to occur, resulting in the need for major repairs