When you home was built, your brick fireplace was crafted to function well for many years. Brick is a durable, long-lasting building material, but like any building material it is not impervious to damage. Over time, your brick fireplace has likely become a bit of a mess, with the unavoidable build-up of soot and grime, as well as its share of stains. The good news is your brick fireplace can be restored to its original beauty. Here’s how!
Step One – Your Favorite Dishwashing Detergent
If the stains, soot, and grime on your fireplace are relatively minor, you may find the power of restoration in your favorite dishwashing detergent. Yes, simple dishwashing soap, which features a strong degreaser, is strong enough to rid your fireplace of grime, while gentle enough not to cause harm to your grout or brick. Simply mix your favorite dish detergent with water and scrub your fireplace with sponge or soft scrub brush. In a short time, you’ll known if its working or if you need to advance to step two and a stronger cleaner.
Step Two – A Little Stronger – Vinegar and Water
Vinegar is a bit stronger, due to the acid within. Since it is often used to clean brick, grout, and stone, you don’t need to fear damaging your fireplace. Blend a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Using a clean spray bottle, spray the mixture on the areas that need cleaning and leave it for a few minutes. Next, use your sponge or soft brush to scrub the area. Before long, you will know if this solution worked or you if you need to proceed to step three.
Step Three – More Power – Brick, Stone, and Grout Cleaners
If the dish detergent and vinegar mixture fell short, visit your favorite home improvement store for brick or stone cleaner and grout cleaner. Both brick and stone cleaner have been developed to remove charcoal and soot, but you will need to follow the instructions for best results. Next, use the grout cleaner to remove stains from the grout. Again it is important to follow the cleaner’s instructions for best results.
What about a Painted Brick Fireplace?
If you previously painted your brick fireplace to cover dirt, chips, or other damage, you discovered a fast and simple solution to get a brand new look. But now, what do you do if you want to restore your painted brick fireplace. You can, but it isn’t an easy job. To begin, you’ll need a paint stripper to remove the paint. Test the paint stripper in a small area, out of sight, to ensure it causes no damage to your brick. Once you’ve tested it, you’ll need goggles and gloves to use the paint strippers. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and after the paste is applied be sure to leave it the recommended length of time (up to 48 hours) to make sure the paint dissolves. One you’ve removed most of the paint, you’ll need to scrape off the remainder of the paint. Next, you spray the bricks with water, wait approximately 15 minutes, and then scrub off the remaining bits of paint. Finally, with all the paint removed, you can clean the bricks and grout as described above.
What if My Bricks Still aren’t Clean?
If your fireplace is really dirty or has never been cleaned, you may need to try the above cleaning methods multiple times to achieve the appearance you desire. After all, charcoal and soot are difficult to get rid of, especially if they have been there a long time. Once you get the clean you are looking for, you’ll want to clean your fireplace regularly to keep it clean.
If you’ve tried all the steps above and still haven’t restored your brick fireplace to its former beauty, call on the professionals at Turnbull Masonry to get the job done right!