How to Restore a Brick Fireplace

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Brick Fireplace

Besides the obvious practicality of brick fireplaces in homes, this traditional piece of architectural design has immense aesthetic appeal, creating a romantic ambience in the room. Providing comforting warmth, the fireplace is a source of backup heating that helps reduce energy bills. Fireplaces, like the rest of the home, need facelifts and a spruced up area lends character and charm to the room. Of the numerous ways to restore a brick fireplace, homeowners can select from options that are inexpensive and yet have a classy-looking interior. For those looking to splurge, a makeover using various modern materials could result in a magical transformation of the room and shoppers can check out a range of materials on websites such as eBay.

Replacing Bricks in the Fireplace

A major fireplace repair job, such as replacing the bricks on the fireplace exterior, requires meticulous planning and the person working needs adequate eye and body protection while working on it. A sledgehammer and cold chisel chips away the mortar loosening the old brick, to make room for the fireplace replacement brick. An electric demolition hammer would accomplish the job faster. Prepared mortar seals the joints between all the new bricks replaced in this manner. While the interior of the fireplace has special firebricks, the exterior and mantel can be created using bricks in different sizes and hues.

Painting the Brick Fireplace

A brick fireplace is a resilient structure that does not damage easily, and most often it would only require a fresh coat of paint on its facade to restore its original good looks. A surface that does not have too many stains can be cleaned using hot water and a mild detergent. Applying paint stripper dissolves old paint easily. Rubbing the bricks with sandpaper or wire brushes is another way to prepare the surface for painting. However, a heavily-painted fireplace might need sandblasting to prepare the surface for a fresh coat of paint. All loose debris is thoroughly cleaned away using a vacuum cleaner before applying the latex primer that fills tiny holes on the brick surface. After the primer has dried thoroughly, a latex paint formulated for masonry may be applied using a long-nap roller, while a paint brush is ideal to fill paint into the crevices and to cover the mortar. The latex paint may be flat, semi-gloss, or high gloss, rated to withstand high temperatures generated around the fireplace.

Application of a second coat after the first coat has dried ensures a perfect finish. However, painting the natural brick fireplace in a different color robs the whole room of the pervasive charm created by the presence of a fireplace and most folks would rather spend time and energy reconditioning it regularly.

Reconditioning the Brick Fireplace

Though fireplace fires are well contained, creosote and soot accumulation on the exterior brick facade does happen. Cleaning the brick facade of the fireplace regularly restores the original clean look of the facade and ensures that the structure remains looking fresh. Also, the job requires only a mild detergent and hot water, as opposed to other more expensive restoration work.

Using protective gear for the hands and eyes and laying down a tarp to cover the flooring around the fireplace are important safety measures before beginning any fireplace cleaning job. Other cleaning methods help rid the fireplace facade of tougher stains.

A simple cleansing method involves spraying a soot-cleaning solution directly onto the brick, rubbing the solution vigorously with a nylon brush, and wiping the surface clean simultaneously.

A paste made using equal quantities of dishwashing liquid and salt is applied on the bricks. After a few minutes, the paste can be scrubbed off and a subsequent rinse with warm water leaves the bricks clean.

A multipurpose cleaner, borax, is a comparatively safe chemical mixed with other cleaning agents to enhance their efficacy. A cleaning solution prepared using 2 tablespoons of borax and dishwashing liquid each mixed with 4 cups of hot water makes an excellent fireplace brick cleaning solution.

Another effective chemical is ammonia. Household ammonia cleaning solutions may be used to remove stubborn stains on bricks. A mixture of half cup ammonia, one fourth cup dishwashing detergent, and 4 cups of hot water makes an excellent brick cleaning solution. Spraying this solution on the brick and working it into the crevices and holes using a nylon brush dislodges soot. Rinsing using water or wiping with a soft cloth leaves the surface looking fresh.

Creosote removers , or creosote destroyers, are readily available that can be added to the wood or coal, as per the instructions on the label, to help clean creosote residue.

How to Buy Materials to Restore a Brick Fireplace

Homeowners wishing to restore their brick fireplace by simply cleaning the bricks, having them painted, or even replacing the bricks, can find most of the items for the job, on eBay. Typing relevant keywords into the search bar for products such as replacement bricks, latex paints, primers, or creosote destroyers, displays listings for these items, which shoppers can browse to make the right selection.

eBay Daily Deals offer suitable products at reasonable rates that also qualify for free shipping under Home Deals. With most items needed for a successful brick fireplace restoration job available at one convenient location online and with numerous choice options on every product, shoppers enjoy a satisfying online shopping experience.

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