Expert Tips for Maintaining the Beauty & Elegance of Your Natural Stone Fireplace
Few materials look as lovely when surrounding a fireplace as natural stone like granite, fieldstone, limestone and marble. There’s just something rustic and hardy about this material, yet the sense of elegance is unmistakable. The only problem with stone is that it tends to become sooty and gritty over time.
Here are some expert tips to keep your natural stone fireplace looking great inside and out.
Tip 1: Clean the firebox
The best time to clean your firebox is during the off-season. If you clean during the burning season, make sure to wait at least 12 hours after the last fire.
To protect surrounding areas, lay drop cloths or old sheets around the hearth area. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dusty, and consider wearing a breathing mask, like doctors wear, to avoid inhaling airborne soot.
Remove the fireplace grate and any remaining chunks of logs, then use a small shovel to gently scoop out ashes and place them in a metal container for safety. Use a vacuum to remove the remaining ashes. With a semi-abrasive sponge dipped in a mild detergent solution, thoroughly wipe down all the surfaces of the firebox.
Tip 2: Clean the stone
The same detergent-and-water mixture you use to clean the firebox can be used on the stone. A scrub brush that’s small enough to get into the stones’ crevices and pores will work well to remove soot and grime. This cleaning task can be done periodically during the season the fireplace is in use to keep excess buildup from forming on the stones.
If you’re dealing with more than the usual amount of soot stains, switch to a solution of ½ cup TSP (available at most hardware/cleaning supply stores) and three quarts hot water. Use as stiff a brush as necessary. TSP should cut through any built-up stains that exist on the stones.
Rinse all worked-on areas with clean water and a clean rag, making sure to remove all soot and soap. This may take several passes.
Tip 3: Stone sealers
You can purchase specially made sealers for natural stone fireplaces that will prevent excess soot and grime from adhering to and penetrating the stone. Various strengths of sealer are made for different types of stone, so read the labels and buy the formula recommended for the kind of stone you’ll be treating.
If you’re unsure of the right brand and composition of sealer, your chimney sweep can help. Wood fireplaces need annual cleaning to ensure safe operation, so when your chimney sweep visits, that’s a good time to ask about stone sealers. If you’ve already purchased your sealer, your chimney technician can apply it correctly for you.
Natural stone fireplaces bring beauty and elegance to any home. Clean and properly maintained fireplaces allow you to enjoy the appliance with peace of mind, year after year. If it’s time for a professional chimney cleaning, chimney inspection or chimney repair work, the certified chimney experts at Chimney Saver Solutions of Richmond, VA, are standing by. Get your questions answered or arrange an appointment by calling (804) 440-5000.