Cleaning

Published on June 22nd, 2014 | by Henri

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Painting a brick fireplace wall

Q.    We have a brick fireplace wall 16 feet by 8 feet that was a pale beige when it was  installed by a previous owner. Years of wood burning, cigarette smoke, and cooking have turned it dark. Could it be painted? If so, what product should we use and would it have to be cleaned first? There is carpeting around it except for a small hearth. What kind of contractor should be hired for this type of job?

A.    The bricks can be painted but they will have to be cleaned first. Smoke, soot and cooking pollutants can be removed by scrubbing the bricks with a cleaner that contains bleach. You’ll have to tape plastic to the carpeting and cover the plastic with old towels to absorb any dripping solution. The bricks will have to be rinsed clean — another difficult exercise. The best contractor to get is a well-respected and experienced painter who will know what is the best paint to use.

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