No matter how careful you are, there is always the chance of a bit of splatter when you are painting. Covering surfaces up will help you avoid any damage but you can’t always avoid it completely. Paint splatters on brick walls look very unsightly, especially if you’re using a bright white paint that really sticks out. If you’ve experienced this problem before, you’re probably wondering if you can get the paint off. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about removing paint splatter from brick.
Will Paint Come off Brick?
Yes, there are ways to get paint splatter off your brickwork. But, depending on the nature of the stain and how long you leave it, some splatters will be much harder than others to remove. The key to getting the paint off without damaging it is knowing which method is most suitable for the situation.
Does the Type of Paint Matter?
No, it shouldn’t matter what type of paint it is, you will still be able to get it off. That said, it’s useful to know what type of paint you’re working with so you can choose the most effective method for removing it.
Does it Matter How Long the Paint Has Been on the Brick?
Yes, bricks are porous so the paint will permeate through the brick over time, creating a more stubborn stain. While you may still be able to get it off, it will be a lot harder if you leave it for a long time. But if you deal with it right away, you can get it off without too much trouble.
Does the Amount of Paint Matter?
Yes, you should always think about the amount of paint when deciding how to get rid of it. For example, if it’s just a few spots, you can easily scrape it off. However, if half the wall is covered in thick paint splatters, you will need to break it down with a paint stripper or look into options like sandblasting. Larger stains will permeate the brick more too, so they will be harder to get off.
How to Get Paint Splatter off Brick?
The best way to remove paint from bricks is to use a paint stripper. This will break the paint down and make it quick and easy to clean off. It also prevents the need for any vigorous scrubbing or sandblasting, which risks damaging the brick underneath.
There are a lot of excellent paint stripping products on the market and it’s important that you choose the right one. For large, stubborn splatters, a sodium hydroxide stripper like Peel Away. This is a heavy-duty paint remover that is designed to fully strip walls, so it can easily deal with large splatters. Just make sure to do a test spot first and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
For smaller splatters, you can just use a general purpose paint remover. You can check the guidelines on the tin to see if it’s designed for use on oil-based paint, latex-based paint, or both. Choose the right type of paint stripper for your paint and apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once the paint stripper has worked its magic, the paint should come away easily if you gently scrub it off. Use a fairly soft brush with nylon bristles rather than a wire one to carefully remove paint without damaging the brick underneath. Then, you can rinse it down with water and your brick wall is left perfectly clean.
2. Scrape it Off
In some cases, you can scrape the paint splatters straight off. This works best if they haven’t been on there for a long time, so the paint is mainly sitting on the surface. Use a normal paint scraper or a wire brush to scrape the paint off. Work slowly and don’t be too aggressive because you can easily damage the brick underneath with this method.
If you are working with an old wall and the brick is not in great condition, you should avoid using this method because you will take large chunks out of the wall.
3. Spray with WD40
WD40 can be used to remove paint, in some cases, but only if you act right away. WD40 is a water displacement lubricant. If there is still a lot of moisture present in the paint then it can lift it easily and help you clean it off. But once the paint has dried, it is nowhere near as effective. That said, it can be a useful method for getting to paint that has dried in the crevices between the bricks. It’s worth trying this method, but you will probably have more luck with a proper paint remover.
If you want to use WD40, simply spray liberally over the paint splatters and then use a brush to scrub it right away. It may come away easily but if not, it’s best to rinse it off and then apply a paint remover.
4. Acetone and Wire Brush
Acetone is excellent for breaking down paint, that’s why it’s used as a paint thinner to clean your brushes. This is a good option if you want something environmentally friendly and you want to avoid strong chemical cleaners. You can also use nail polish remover, which is acetone-based. Often, acting quickly is the key to dealing with big splatters, so grabbing a bottle of nail polish or paint thinner and applying it straight away may be preferable to letting the splatter dry while you go to the hardware store for paint remover.
To remove paint with acetone, take a small rag and soak it with the paint thinner or nail polish remover. Hold the rag against the splatter for a minute or so – acetone dissolves paint very quickly. Then, take a wire brush and gently scrub away the softened paint, making sure not to damage the brick in the process.
5. Pressure Washer
Pressure washing is a quick and easy way to remove paint splatter from brick. However, it’s vital that you check the condition of the brick before you start. Blasting an old brick wall with a high-pressure jet of water can rip it apart and cause some serious damage, all for the sake of a few paint splatters. So, inspect the wall and check for any areas where the brick is cracking or flaking away. If you find anything, look for another method of removing paint splatters.
For brick that is in good condition, you can use a pressure washer, as long as you are careful because it can still do some damage. It may be a good idea to put some acetone on particularly stubborn areas anyway, just to help things along.
Start on the lowest setting and concentrate the pressure washer on the paint splatters, moving back and forth over the area. If it doesn’t come away, gradually increase the pressure and try again until the paint starts coming off. This allows you to find the lowest possible pressure that will still remove paint, thereby protecting the brickwork as much as you can.
Once you are finished, make sure to clean up the paint chips that are on the floor as they will stick when they dry.
6. Mineral Spirits and Wire Brush
Mineral spirits are another substance commonly used for thinning paint or cleaning equipment. As such, they can be used in the same way as acetone to soften up and dissolve the paint before removing it with a wire brush. Mineral spirits tend to be better for removing oil-based paint than acetone is.
The process is essentially the same. Take an old rag and soak it with some mineral spirits, and then apply to the paint splatter. Once it has dissolved the paint, use a wire brush to scrub it away and then rinse it off with water.
7. Soak with Wet Sponge
For latex water-based paints, you may not need to use any paint remover or do a lot of scrubbing. When the paint dries and the water in it evaporates, it bonds to the surface. If you can stop that process and return the paint to its initial state when it first landed on the brick, most of it will come away easily.
You can do this by soaking a sponge in water and holding it against the paint for a few minutes. It should then wipe away no problem. That said, this will only work if you do it straight away. Once the paint has dried, you probably won’t be able to get it off with this method.
8. Use a Heat Gun
Heat guns are great for removing paint from bricks and they are often used for stripping an entire wall. The heat will melt the paint in no time and then you can wipe it off with some warm water and a sponge. This method is particularly good for getting into hard-to-reach areas between the bricks too, and it will make short work of large splatters.
Before you start, make sure you put some sheets down to catch any drips as the paint melts and you wash it off the walls. Apply heat carefully and evenly, making sure not to get too close to the brick to avoid burning it. It shouldn’t take more than a minute for paint splatters to come off.
The only downside to this method is that it’s quite expensive if you don’t already have a heat gun. You can expect to pay $50-$60 for the cheapest models, which is quite a lot to spend on a few paint splatters. Although, heat guns are useful tools to have, so it’s a worthwhile one-time investment.
9. Sand Blasting
Finally, you can try sand blasting the brick. If there is a paint splatter that you simply cannot get off with any other method, sand blasting will do the trick. However, I would avoid this method wherever possible because it will strip away the top layer of the brick itself. Even a professional will struggle to remove paint splatters without damaging the brick, leaving it open and porous with a sponge-like texture to it.
These bricks will then take on more moisture and you could cause problems with damp in your home. If you were removing paint from a garden wall, for example, this may not be an issue. But on the exterior walls of your house, you should be very careful.
If All Else Fails, Paint the Brick!
Sometimes, you try everything and you just can’t get rid of the splatters. You could learn to live with it but if you really can’t, why not paint the brick? You could try painting it a similar color to the rest of the bricks to blend it in as best as possible. Alternatively, you could just paint the entire wall if there are a lot of splatters. This is a good option if you want to weatherproof your home and good-quality exterior masonry paint can cover up a lot of damage on an old brick wall.
Is it Possible to Damage Brick When Trying to Remove Paint?
Yes, absolutely. You need to be careful about the methods you use when removing paint. Pressure washing and sandblasting will easily tear apart a brick wall. You can even cause damage with scrapers and brushes if the condition of the brick is particularly bad. Paint removers should be safe, but it’s always a good idea to do a small test spot first, just to be sure.
What’s the Best Way to Remove Paint from Brick Indoors?
Avoid lots of scraping or pressure washing indoors because you will make a huge mess. Instead, use a paint remover or some acetone or mineral spirits. These methods allow you to apply the substance to the paint carefully, then gently remove it without causing a big mess. They are also the best for preserving the wall.
Paint splatters on brick can be a pain, but there’s no need to worry. Most normal splatters can be removed easily with paint remover or other similar products. In some cases, a sponge and some warm water will do the trick. The most important thing is that you act fast and remove the paint before it has time to fully dry. It will be much easier that way. For very stubborn, dried on paint, you can try pressure washing or even sandblasting. However, I would always avoid this where possible because it can ruin your walls.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.