Dry Ice Blasting & Cleaning Blog

Best Practices for Paint Removal on Brick & Concrete

Removing paint from a brick

Whether you’re the proud owner of a vintage property cloaked under layers of paint accumulated over the years, or a contractor working to revive a brick or concrete structure to its original allure, you’ve got a tricky job on your hands.

Removing paint from brick and concrete surfaces involves a variety of complex factors, including the number of paint layers, the type of paint, and how firmly it adheres to the surface.

In some cases where the condition of the brick is poor, removing the paint might cause further damage, especially to the mortar. However, with careful planning and the right methods, paint can be removed, and the brick can be repaired or restored.

When it comes to paint removal, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The effectiveness of any method – or combination of methods – will largely depend on the specifics of the project.

Cutting Through the Layers: Choosing the Right Method

Each paint removal method has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s an overview of the options:

Method Pros Cons
Abrasive Blasting
✓ Cleaning is faster and cheaper than many methods
✓ Can adjust pressure and test different media
✘ Very dusty
✘ May damage brick/concrete
✘ Cleanup and containment requirements can be tedious and expensive
✘ Risks of contamination issues with lead paint (requires trained and certified contractor)
Power Washing
✓ Potentially effective, depending on the project
✓ Little to no dust
✘ May damage brick
✘ Potentially toxic runoff
✘ Water usage restrictions and disposal can be costly
Sponge Blasting
✓ Effective and fast
✓ Low-dust method
✓ Less time needed for containment and cleanup
✘ More expensive media
✘ Could damage old brick
Dry Ice Blasting
✓ Dustless, non-abrasive
✓ Faster cleanup, less containment needed
✓ Lower risk for lead paint removal
✘ Not effective for well-adhered paint
✘ Can still damage brick
Paint Stripper
✓ No blasting, easier cleanup
✓ Easiest disposal for lead paint
✘ Involves chemicals, potential residual odor
✘ Very slow
✘ Caustic chemicals may damage old brick

The Polar Clean Advantage: Multiple Methods for Optimal Results

Polar Clean offers a wide range of expertise and tools for tackling the delicate job of removing layers of old paint from brick and concrete surfaces. With decades of experience in challenging projects that include historic restoration and lead paint removal, our process includes a careful assessment of each project, including containment and cleanup requirements. Often, the best option to safely remove layers of paint without damaging the surface is a combination of methods.

During the restoration of the historic U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Lexington, Kentucky, the Polar Clean team used a combination of Peel Away® paint stripper, hand scraping, and dry ice blasting to remove lead-based paint from hundreds of windows – with superior results.

Paint removal from brick and concrete surfaces takes expertise, experienced hands, and careful planning to prevent damage and ensure high-quality results. Polar Clean is equipped to deliver on all three fronts, ensuring that your restoration projects are a success.

Contact us to learn more about paint removal best practices