Caring for a Stone Fireplace
The warmth and character of a stone fireplace is a welcome addition in any home. Whether your fireplace was built into the initial design of your home, or you’ve recently remodeled, you’ll want to know the proper care instructions for stone to ensure long-lasting beauty. Continue reading to learn about both short- and long-term care processes for a stone fireplace:
The Importance of Sealing
The majority of stones used for fireplaces are relatively soft (limestone, soapstone, etc.). While this makes it easy to shape the stone for installation, it also means that fireplace stone is fairly porous. As a result, standing water and other liquids can easily stain a fireplace. To minimize such disasters, it is recommended that your fireplace be sealed with an adequate stone sealant. Such products are available at most home repair stores.
Sealant was most likely applied to your fireplace upon installation. However, sealant is prone to wear away over time, and should be re-applied regularly (every one to two years).
Once a sealant is in place, day-to-day cleaning of a stone fireplace is exceptionally easy. Dry mopping is suggested for removal of dust and dirt. For smudges and spills, a damp sponge and simple liquid dish detergent should suffice. However, acidic or alkaline cleansers that contain vinegar, alcohol, lemon juice or ammonia should be avoided. This is because they can eat through sealant and damage the underlying stone.
If scrubbing is required to remove a stain, it is recommended that you use a soft-bristled brush. Spills and standing water should be wiped up as soon as possible to minimize the potential for water damage.
Re-application of chemical sealant is the main type of long-term fireplace care. However, special processes may need to be implemented to clear up any visual damage that may have occurred to the stone over time. The use of polishing stones or pads may be necessary to rid the surface stone of stains or light cracking. If larger spills and stains accrue on your stone fireplace, then it is recommended that you hire a professional stone repair expert to handle the job.