Cleaning or Restoring Your Antique Fireplace

An antique fireplace cleaning and restoring project may seem daunting, but it can be done fairly easily with some extra time and efficient cleaning tools. Read the helpful information below in order to clean or restore your antique fireplace without too much trouble.

If Your Fireplace Just Needs a Lift

If your antique fireplace has been a little neglected and could use just a bit of cleaning, then the process is not very complicated at all. Use a soft cloth, warm water with mild soap, wash down the outside of the fireplace. Make sure not to scrub with an abrasive or any item that can scratch the surfaces. Also, use bronze cleaner or a tarnish remover to brighten up brass fixtures.  

If Your Fireplace Needs Full-On Restoration

Your fireplace may need to be fully restored if a simple cleaning can't take off the dirt, rust, or tarnish. Follow the steps below to restore and remodel your antique fireplace:

Step 1- Remove Surround and Hearth

The first step is to remove the fireplace surround. Depending on the type of facade on it, this could take some time and a good amount of effort to remove. Brick and stone are the most common types of antique fireplace surrounds. However, it could be made of brass or metal as well. Remove the surround piece by piece by using a small 3-lb. hammer and flat chisel. Resist the temptation to pull off the entire thing in one big smash as this can damage the area. You will want the to be flat and undamaged for the placement of the new surround.  

Step 2- Replace Firebox or Use Insert

Once you remove the outside surround, either replace the firebox with new cement or metal box or purchase an insert that will slide in the fireplace hole. You can use coal, gas, and wood pellet burning fireplace inserts for a more modern and efficient burning. When restoring any antique fireplace, an insert of some sort, is a great choice and can be easily installed.

Step 3- Check Chimney

Chances are if the antique fireplace is cracked or hasn't been used for some time, there will be problems with the chimney. Be sure to check it yourself or by a professional to ensure it is fully functional. Also, be sure to clean or have it cleaned professionally before lighting any fires in your fireplace.

Step 4- Finish With New Modern Surround

Finish off your antique fireplace restoration with a new surround. You can use a variety of materials such as stone, brick, limestone, brass, or metal. Flat tiles can also be used and add a contemporary touch to any fireplace.