What Do I Do with Paint-Covered Tiles?

Good Questions

Q: I recently moved into a rental house with three beautiful old fireplaces. The previous tenants seem to have begun a DIY project to remove the paint from the fireplace tiles in all three rooms, but they gave up halfway. The paint that remains is flaking and unsightly. I'd like to finish the job, but don't know the best way to remove the paint.

Scraping with a metal scraper has been very time intensive (and not terribly effective), but I worry about the toxicity of paint remover (I have two cats). Any advice? P.S. I most likely will not want to replace the actual tile--can't invest that much time and money into a rental!

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.