How to Restore a Brick Fireplace

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A brick fireplace can serve as the center of attention of any home. A fireplace lends an atmosphere of serenity, peace and relaxation to a gathering of close friends or a romantic night at home, Brick is resilient and does not damage easily, so chances are that if your brick fireplace is in need of restoration, you'll only need to remove the surface detritus to restore your fireplace to its traditional beauty and style. Light stains may require only a basic cleaning and application of paint stripper, while heavily stained or painted areas may require sandblasting.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Dish detergent
  • Scrub brush
  • Fan
  • Paint stripper
  • Paintbrush
  • Taping knife or wire brush
  • Wet/Dry vacuum
  • Protective plastic
  • Protective gear
  • Sandblaster and compressor

Cleaning

  • Clean the brick surface with a mixture of hot water and mild detergent, such as dish detergent. Clean with a scrub brush to remove surface dirt, dust and other such contaminants. For lightly stained brick surfaces, this type of cleaning alone may suffice to restore the brick.

  • Prepare for stripping by ventilating the work area. Open all windows and doors or run a fan to circulate fresh air to help reduce harmful effects of chemical paint stripper.

  • Apply paint stripper to the brick surface with a paintbrush or rag. The paint stripper will remove old paint, as well as other stains like soot. Allow the paint stripper to dissolve the paint and stains for five minutes.

  • Scrape away loosened paint or other stains with a taping knife or wire brush. Be sure to use the flat edge of the knife only to avoid scratching the brick surface. Continue until you have cleaned the whole surface of the fireplace.

  • Wash the brick again with the water, soap and scrub brush. Vacuum away any remaining moisture and dirt with a wet/dry vacuum. If stains or paint persist, sandblasting is called for.

Sand Blasting

  • Hang 6 mil plastic sheeting from your ceiling so that it covers the walls, floor, ceiling and all other areas of your room except the fireplace. The intense blasting from the sand will easily damage areas of your home. Wear full-body protective gear; makes sure you have no exposed skin and that you wear a ventilator to protect your lungs from inhaling too much sand.

  • Hook up the sandblaster and compressor outside and feed the hose into your work room. Set the blaster on low or medium until you get used to it.

  • Blast the brick with the sandblaster to remove stubborn paint or stains. Work from the top of your fireplace down..

  • Clean up your room and wash the brick surface again with soap, water and a scrub brush to remove residual sand.

Tips & Warnings

  • Find materials needed for this project, including rented wet/dry vacuums and sandblasters, from hardware and home improvement stores.
  • Practice sandblasting outdoors on a brick or other sturdy surface so that you can gauge the right distance for the work and pressure for the hose.
  • Never spray the sandblaster at people or at any surface other than the brick; the sand coming from the blaster can easily cause injury or extensive damage.

References

  • Photo Credit fireplace image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from Fotolia.com
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