LESLIE: Charlotte in California needs some help with a fireplace makeover. Tell us about the project.
CHARLOTTE: Yes. OK, I moved into this house a few months ago and it’s a brick fireplace that was painted white. And I tried some solution on it, on part of it. Ooh, my goodness; it was very sticky and gooey and it didn’t really take all the paint off the brick either.
TOM: Alright. Well, I mean this is a fairly common problem and there are a couple of different strippers that out there that Leslie and I have had experience with that work better than others.
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean I have good success with one called Rock Miracle but the problem, when you’re dealing with brick, is that the brick itself is so porous; so as soon as you put paint on it, it gets sucked in not just on that top layer but all the way in through the brick. So, you know, no matter how much success you have with a paint stripper, there’s still going to be some residue of this paint left. And I’m telling you, it’s going to take coat after coat after coat and a lot of elbow grease.
CHARLOTTE: Oh, brother.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean just sort of sandblasting, which always tends to be the most successful with paint removal on brick, but that’s a huge disaster and not something you can do yourself.
TOM: Are you trying to get back to the original brick?
CHARLOTTE: I would like to, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. You know what? You might want to consider repainting with a brick color. I mean if you use a flat paint and you get off as much of the old stuff as you can, it’s going to be pretty close to original color and it’ll be a lot less work on you. Because remember, brick is very absorbent. It’s one of the hardest materials to strip paint off of. And even if you get – you know, you work on this thing for hours and hours and hours, you’re still going to have that white haze of paint showing through the pores of the brick.
LESLIE: The other option, Charlotte, is that if you’re feeling like taking on a little bit of a project – and it’s as simple as a tiling project – there are products out there called brick veneers which is, essentially, one whole brick but sliced into several thinner layers. So it’s maybe – what are they; like ¼-inch, Tom, ½-inch?
TOM: Yeah, about.
LESLIE: And then you can use that to almost tile over the existing brick, so now you have beautiful, brand new brick with beautiful fresh grout that doesn’t have any paint residue within the grout itself. And it’s not a terrible project, it’s rather easy to do and you can get so many beautiful varieties of brick tones; you know, not just from that traditional red. You can go in browns and in blues. I mean it’s really a beautiful opportunity.
TOM: Yes, absolutely.
CHARLOTTE: Do you get that at Home Depot?
LESLIE: Hmm, I would start with a masonry distributor, just to sort of see. Because Home Depot may have just one variety where, if you go to a more specialized store, you would see a lot of different color options.
TOM: Alright, Charlotte. Now you have a couple of options, OK?
TOM: Alright, well thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.