Question: We have a 74 year old house in downtown Toronto. The fireplace was not used by the previous owners, and was painted an ugly blood brown. We scraped off the brick surround and the hearth, but were warned not to remove the paint inside the fireplace. Well, several years later, some of the paint has blistered off to expose the brick underneath, but much still remains. What can I use to remove the areas of intact paint, and still ensure that the brick sides won't combust the first time we light a fire after the cleaning? Heat gun did not work... Answer: I don't see why anyone warned you against removing the paint from the inside of the fireplace. Would seem perfectly OK to me. Why don't you try some paint stripper chemicals? Just make certain that you wire brush the brick (this will remove all traces of the stripper) after you finish. If there are areas of mortar missing from inside the fireplace, you can simply purchase some fireplace mortar (in tub or in a caulk tube) and fill the spaces in.