Stripping the Bricks

Did you know it’s incredibly difficult to get layers of paint off of brick?

This is on the outside of The Building.

Stripping the BricksWow. Layer and layers and layers of paint. There’s brick under there, I promise!

Now, some of you may be thinking what I thought a couple of months ago, which was “Just get a sandblaster or power washer in here and strip that paint right off!”

For me, there’s not much that a sandblaster or power washer can’t fix.

Stripping the BricksI was wrong. On the right is the brick in its “original” state with the baked-on glaze that keeps the bricks sealed and protected. On the left is a small section of the building where we used a power washer to strip off the paint. (We also used a sand blaster on another small section.) It definitely did the trick…but it also blasted the glaze clean off the brick. And once the glaze is off, there’s really no way to get it back on. And brick that isn’t glazed is a disaster waiting to happen, as moisture seeps into the brick and causes all sorts of problems.

I’m glad we tried just a small section first!

Stripping the BricksSo at this point, it’s coming off by hand, using gentle solutions and gentle brushes.

If you looked up “painstaking” in the dictionary, it would say “the act of stripping the paint off the bricks on the building.”

If anyone might have experience in this realm or know of another thing we can try, let me know! I think we’re trying a heat gun next.

After that, I think we’ll try toothpicks.

Just kidding on that last part.

Stripping the BricksMeanwhile, the brick walls inside the building are just about perfect!

Stripping the BricksYou may remember this space when it looked like this!

Stripping the BricksAnd a little later, when it looked like this.

Stripping the BricksEventually, we got all the plaster off the walls and it looked like this.

Stripping the BricksAfter the plaster, there was still a good amount of residue left behind.

Stripping the BricksAnd that’s what’s been getting cleaned off…brick by brick by brick.

This project is definitely teaching us the value of patience.