A fireplace plays a vital role in your home, and it needs proper maintenance. When it is cold, you can build a nice fire in this place and keep yourself warm. On top of that, a hearth can also improve the appearance of your living room if it has a beautiful design. In most living rooms the fireplace becomes the focal point of the room.
However, the appearance of the fireplace deteriorates over time due to factors like heating, soot and wood scraping of the bricks around the place. When your hearth becomes old and less attractive, you can bring it to new life again.
You can do it yourself, or you can hire a professional to perform the task. The homeowner can try a fireplace makeover which will give it a new look. You do not necessarily need to destroy the old one but spruce its image through renovations.
There are different measures that you can take to renovate your hearth, and several options are listed below.
Cleaning A Brick Fireplace
Brick fireplaces also consisting of concrete mortar are durable, but somehow they are susceptible to elements like soot and grime. These make the place unsightly hence the need to restore the hearth to its original status to make your house look good. There are several ways by using different chemicals to clean the bricks on your fireplace. Get a bucket, rubber gloves, and a small hand brush ready.
1. Use Common Dish Soap
When you realize that the build-up on the bricks is not that intense, you can use ordinary dish soap and water to clean them. You clean the bricks the way you do when you are washing your dishes. It is crucial that you get a sponge or brush to scrub the surfaces of the blocks.
If the dirt on the bricks is challenging to remove, you can get strong material to scrub them. The main advantage of using dish soap is that it consists of components that can remove grease and other sticky stains on the walls. The dishwasher is also advantageous in that it does not disfigure the grout that holds the bricks and it also does not stain them.
2. Stone And Brick Cleaners
All stores that deal with home improvement commodities sell brick and stone cleaners. These stores also offer chemicals specifically meant to clean charcoal and soot build up in and around fireplaces. You should not worry about brand type but the chemical’s ability to clean soot.
Mixing the chemicals according to the manufacturer instructions is essential. When cleaning, it is also vital to follow the directions provided so that you do not cause damage to the bricks. The most effective method of cleaning involves scrubbing and rinsing the surfaces with clean water until they are clean.
Different cleaners have similar application methods, and they are likely to give you same results if you carefully follow the instructions. The soaps are also tested to ensure that they are not harmful to the users. However, gloves are essential when cleaning the buildup on the bricks around the hearth in your home.
3. You Can Use Grout Cleaners
Grout cleaner may be necessary if the soot stains the grout. Scrubbing the grout using rough brushes is not advisable since they can remove the grout holding the bricks together. Instead of solving a problem, you may end up creating many issues.
You should mix the grout cleaner according to the instructions by the manufacturer then apply it on the grout joints. After that, you then use a toothbrush not a hard brush to scrub the joints then rinse with clean water afterward. You may need to patiently scrub the surfaces of the fireplace if they consist of heavy soot.
Source: This Old House
4. Vinegar And Water
When cleaning bricks, grout, and stones, you can use vinegar and water, but the mixture is slightly acidic. You should use a sponge or spray to apply the vinegar and water mixture in the proportion of 50/50 to the surfaces around the fireplace. Make sure you use protective gloves when applying the combination that can affect your hands.
You apply the vinegar solution and leave it on the surface for some few minutes. By so doing, you give the acid a chance to dissolve the dirt particles on the bricks. After a short period, you should scrub the fireplace and wash it clean. A straight vinegar mixture can also work, but the primary challenge can be the overpowering smell.
Cleaning the surfaces of the fireplace can produce excellent results that make the fireplace look new. Even if you want to perform other tasks like renovation and to paint the bricks, you must think first of all clean them. Paint may not stick to the dirty surfaces so you must make sure that they are clean before attempting to paint them.
When cleaning the surfaces around the hearth using different chemicals, you must wear eye protection. The chemicals used for cleaning have potential irritating effects, and they can also affect your hands. Rubber gloves are essential when you perform the task of cleaning your hearth.
Repairing The Fireplace Bricks And Mortar
After cleaning the mortar on bricks and you realize some gaps and chips, it is vital to seal the holes. If you leave them open, they can continue to widen which causes more damage to the surface.
You can repair the gaps using a mortar repair tube to fill the holes then smoothen the mixture with a dowel rod before it dries. This action will give the mortar its original sunken look, and you can wipe off the excess motor filling mixture using a cloth.
You can also repair the bricks that appear damaged using mortar caulk or concrete. Fill all the gaps, and you should paint them later so that they match the original color. It is important to wash all the bricks to ensure that you give them a uniform look.
You can also use a particular type of sealer designed to give bricks a sparkling shine. This type of sealer makes cleaning the blocks easier since it does not attract dirt and other particles like soot. When you decide to paint the blocks, start by applying primer on the surface so that paint can readily adhere.
You can either paint individual bricks or the entire surface to give it a new look. When you decorate the inside of the hearth, you should get heat resistant paint. Other people decide to paint the interior part of the fireplace black so that the soot is not visible.
Contrasting colors on the chimney make it attractive to many people who visit your place. Different artwork on the stack can make it outstanding in comparison to other colors on the walls. The method is budget friendly but eye-catching at the same time. However, you need to clean the interior part of the chimney regularly since soot can catch fire.
Alternatively, you can give your fireplace a new look by tiling it without building another one from scratch. You start by adding mortar on the brick surfaces then place tiles on top using any pattern that you desire. You then fill the gaps between the pipes with grout then clean them after it dries.
A fireplace is a focal point in your living room, and you need to be creative when you decide to spruce its image. You can consider art tiles for your chimney since these are attractive. Art tiles are handmade, and they consist of various designs that help to improve the appearance of the room.
Choose the art that is suitable for the place, and you should also make sure that it matches with other surfaces in the living room. Other tiles are excellent while others are rough and these give different impressions of your house. The primary aim is to give your chimney a new look since it plays a pivotal role in improving the appearance of the living room.
Change Fire Place Appearance
You can also update the appearance of your fireplace by adding a new screen or mantle. The mantle serves various purposes since you can display different things on top of it. The other issue is that a cape is not permanent hence you can periodically change it to improve the appearance of the chimney.
A fireplace should be the center of attraction in the living room so you must put effort to make it attractive. If you want to improve the appearance of the room, you can cover the mantel with pine boards. Paint the boards with beautiful colors that also match with other things inside the living room.
A wood mantel on your chimney is budget friendly while at the same time making the appearance of your living room great. A wood mantel is affordable, and the good thing is that its presence is outstanding. You can place attractive decorations on top of the shelf as well as portraits.
If the outer surfaces of the chimney consist of wood panels, you can give them a shiny and gloss paint that is eye-catching. The other advantage of gloss is that it does not attract dirt as well as dust particles. It is also easy to clean since you can wipe all the soil with a wet cloth.
It is crucial to choose a screen that is suitable for the place, and that can spruce up its image. A small screen can dress up the outlook of the fireplace such that it appeals to many visitors to your house. Filters come in different designs and shapes, and you can choose the appropriate one that suits your hearth.
The other method you can use to improve the appearance of your hearth is to extend it right to the ceiling. You can only do this if the original structure ends midway up the wall. An extension of the chimney will make it more visible to the visitors.
1. Glass Fireplace Doors Can Improve Its Appearance
The other way of sprucing up the image of your old fireplace is to put glass doors on its front. Glass doors on your hearth improve its appearance since they come in different shapes and designs. These can fit on any opening of the firebox and fire cannot escape when you shut them.
Apart from that, glass doors improve safety in the house in case you forget to put out the fire. The glass doors come with manufacturer instructions about how to fit them if you do not want to hire a professional to perform the task. The glass doors are also durable, and you can enjoy the heat from the fire even when you close them.
2. Add Marble Or Granite
Marble granite is dark and shiny such that it significantly improves the look of the living room. The main advantage of putting polished granite is that it is smooth and easy to clean. Soot gathers on its surfaces over time, and you can quickly wipe it with a wet cloth. You do not need chemicals to clean marble stone like other surfaces of the hearth.
Stone tiles are also ideal for the fireplace since they give it a natural touch. There are different types of stone tiles that you can use to decorate your hearth, and they come in various shapes and sizes. The advantage of granite slabs, as well as stone tiles, is that they are strong and they do not easily crack due to heat.
3. Consider Fireplace Insert
The other alternative idea is to replace your old hearth with a gas or electric fireplace. Gas gives you warmth, and it does not need constant tending to keep it burning like wood. The fireplace also requires minimum cleanup since gas does not produce soot that stains the surfaces.
Gas fireplaces are modern, and they give you a golden glow especially at night, and this is attractive. The orange flames significantly improve your living room when it is dark, and they produce equally warm temperatures. There are different types of gas fireplaces, and you can choose the one that suits your place. They also come with installation instructions that are easy to follow.