Stripping Layers of Paint from a 200 Year Old Stone Fireplace in Lingfield

We are often called in to restore stone and tile where others have not been able to succeed, and this was the case with this 200-year-old stone fireplace in Lingfield. To be fair to the previous company its was covered in 5mm of paint in multiple layers so it was no easy task to restore.

Stone Fireplace Before Cleaning Lingfield Stone Fireplace Before Cleaning Lingfield

The church in Lingfield village was apparently rebuilt in 1431 so it’s not surprising to find houses here containing some impressive period features. This property also had an old Pamment tiled hallway which I wrote about in a previous article.

Removing Paint from a Stone Fireplace

To strip the multiple layers of paint off the stone fireplace I would need to apply a strong chemical, so my first task was to protect the adjacent woodwork. I tend to use a thin blue film for this as it sticks well to most surfaces and like professional decorators masking tape it doesn’t remove the paint when you remove it later.

To soften and remove the paint I applied a special paste that is brushed on and slowly emulsifies the paint so it can be easily peeled off. To ensure all the layers could be removed I blanketed the whole fireplace in a thin laminated membrane which ensures the product doesn’t evaporate. The paste is safe to use on Stone and I left it for a couple of days before returning.

I returned to the house in Lingfield and completed the messy job of stripping off the now pliable paint taking care not to damage the fireplace or the surroundings. Once done and the waste removed, I set about cleaning up the now naked stone with Tile Doctor Acid Gel.

Acid Gel is a perfect choice for this job as being a gel its easy to control and sticks to the vertical surface allowing it to be scrubbed in without running down the facia. After scrubbing the gel was carefully rinsed off with a sponge.

Stone Fireplace After Cleaning Lingfield
The restoration took a lot of manual work especially when working around the intricate carvings in the stone however the transformation was well worth it. I think you will agree the Fireplace now looks transformed.

 

Source: Stone Fireplace Cleaning and Restoration Service in Lingfieldm Surrey

Tiling a new Fireplace in Oyster Slate

While at Tile Doctor we are more often than not asked to carry out professional maintenance for existing tiling installation we have also been known to do the installation as well. This was the case with this customer, living at a property in Hull, who contacted me about a full tile installation on their fireplace, situated in a living room which itself was undergoing some redecoration. I recommended an Oyster Slate tile, a natural stone which contains a nice range of black, brown and white shades to give walled areas a really distinct look.

Oyster Slate Fireplace Before Installation Hull

I explained to my customer – who was very happy with the choice of tile – that the fireplace would have be cleaned and sealed once the Slate tiles had been installed. This customer planned on having a coal fire installed following the tiling, but without a robust seal the Slate would be blackened by the coal and become difficult to clean.

Oyster Slate Fireplace After Installation Right Hull

Cleaning and Sealing an Oyster Slate Tiled Fireplace

Once I had successfully tiled the fireplace with the new Oyster Slate, I set about cleaning the area with an application of Tile Doctor’s versatile alkaline-based cleaner, Pro Clean. The tiles were caked with debris and dust from the tile installation, but Pro Clean – which is suitable for use on most types of natural stone tile – quickly cut through the layers of dirt and left the area looking perfectly clean and ready to be sealed.

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Ultra Seal, an impregnating sealer which soaks into and fills the pores of the Slate, thus preventing dirt – such as debris from a coal fire – from becoming ingrained in the stone. Ingrained dirt can make tiles notoriously difficult to clean, so it’s always recommended that you have use a suitable sealer – and keep it topped up – to make your life easier when maintaining the appearance of your tiles in future.

Oyster Slate Fireplace After Sealing Hull

The sealer also enhanced the natural colours in the slate enhancing the look of the fireplace and the customer was very pleased with her new tiled fireplace with a robust seal in place she will not have to worry about its appearance becoming spoiled any time soon.
 
 
Source: Quarry Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Yorkshire

Sandstone Fireplace Cleaning in Market Harborough

We don’t get a great deal of inquiries about the restoration of stone fireplaces so its refreshing when one comes along, however the principles of cleaning and are the same so were always happy to take on the work.

Stone Fireplace Before Restoration
As you can see from the photograph above the Sandstone Fireplace was stained from soot and in need of a good clean. Soot staining is inevitable given the location however it can be reduced with wood burning stoves by fully opening the air vents shortly before opening the door, this reduces the amount of soot carrying gasses being released upwards and onto the stone when the opening.

Sandstone Fireplace Cleaning

Before cleaning the Fireplace we protected the surrounding walls using black plastic secured with decorator’s masking tape. The next step was to mix up a 50/50 solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Ultra-Clean which was decanted into a spray bottle and sprayed directly onto the stone. Pro-Clean is a heavy duty cleaner and stripper whilst Nano-Clean contains abrasive particles so together they form a useful cleaning product. The spray mixes the cleaning solution with air which makes it lighter and more able to stick to vertical surfaces. The cleaning solution was left to dwell on the limestone for 15 minutes, then scrubbed and rinsed. The final step was to seal the fireplace with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying sealer that will provide stain protection going forward, I think you will agree the difference was amazing.

Stone Fireplace After Restoration

 
 
Source: Restoration of Sandstone Fireplace in Market Harborough

Cleaning a Sandstone Fireplace Surround in Thame

Details below of a Sandstone Fireplace surround from a house in Thame, Oxfordshire. The fireplace had never been cleaned as the customer did not know where to start and so gave us a call.

Thame Sandstone Fireplace Before Cleaning

Sandstone Fireplace Cleaning

To clean the fireplace I used a diluted mixture of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and NanoTech Ultra Clean which combines the cleaning power of Pro-Clean with the tiny abrasive particles in Ultra Clean to produce a very effective cleaning product that is safe to use on Stone. This was left to dwell on the stone for a short while in order to let it soak in and work on the dirt before scrubbing it into the Sandstone with a hand brush. This process did a good job cleaning the stone and once I was happy with the result the soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the stone was rinsed with water to make sure all the chemical had been removed.

Sandstone Fireplace Sealing

When dry the Sandstone was sealed using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will protect the stone going forward as well as bringing out the deep colour in the stone. To finish the job off I removed the grate and cleaned it up using some grate black to make it look new again before putting it back; last step was to remove the protective strip I had put around the fireplace to protect the wall and carpet and the job was done.

Thame Sandstone Fireplace After Cleaning
As you can imagine the customer was quite surprised by the results and hadn’t realised what a wonderful fireplace they had until now.
 
 
Source: Sandstone Fireplace Cleaned and Sealed in Thame, Oxfordshire