Replacing an entire slate fireplace surround can be quite an expensive investment, so if the damage on your fireplace surrounds is not serious, you should consider repairing it instead of going for a replacement. It is not difficult to repair slate fireplace surrounds, so if you want to save money, follow the simple steps below to do the job yourself.
Step 1 – Clean the Area
Clean the surrounds of your fireplace using a damp cloth. Make sure that you remove all the dirt and grime from the surface of the surround before you start making repairs. After wiping the surrounds of the fireplace, let it dry completely before you continue working on it. While waiting for the surrounds to dry up, push away the furniture surrounding your fireplace and then cover the floor near the fireplace with old newspapers. The old newspapers should be able to protect your floor from stains as you work on the fireplace surrounds.
Step 2 – Remove and Replace the Damage Slate Tiles
If some of the slate tiles are damaged beyond repair, you need to remove these tiles and replace them with new ones. You need to replace these tiles before you repair the minor problems on the slate surrounds. To remove the damaged tiles, use a flexible flat heat putty knife to remove damaged slate tiles from your fireplace surrounds. Be careful not to drive your knife too deep into the walls of your fireplace to avoid causing further damage. After removing the damaged tiles, clean the area carefully before you install the new tiles.
To install the replacement tiles, put thinset mortar on the wall then let the material cure for about 24 hours. Curing the thinset mortar is very important to create a strong base for your tiles. After curing the thinset mortar on the wall for 24 hours, you may now install the new tiles. To do this, apply thinset mortar at the back of the replacement tiles then lay the tiles firmly on the area previously occupied the damaged tiles. Be sure that the tiles are properly installed and the thinset mortar have completely dried up before you repair the small cracks on the fireplace surrounds.
Step 3 – Repair the Cracks
Check the slate tiles for cracks and chips then repair these minor problems. To do this, clean the cracks carefully and remove all lose materials around it. After cleaning the cracks, fill in the cracks with caulking materials. Using your gloved fingers, push the caulk firmly into the cracks. Let the caulk dry completely before you sand out the rough and uneven areas.
Step 4 – Apply Color Enhancing Sealer
To enhance the look of your fireplace surrounds, apply color enhancing sealer on the surface of the slate tiles.
Step 5 – Finishing Up
Put away all left-over materials and remove the old newspapers that you used to cover the floor.