We have just had our 100 year old bricks cleaned and repointed after having ten layers of paint on them. The best way to remove paint is to use a product called Peel a way. If the top layer is latex then use Peel A Way 7 if the top layer is not use Peel a Way 1. You can purchase this product either on line or at a Sherwin paint store. The great thing about this product is that it is non-toxic and won't hurt the environment. Also, it works! If you use peel away 1 make sure you nutralize the area with a mix of vinegar and water when you are done.