Cleaning a Flood Stained Limestone Fireplace in Chelmsford


The UK has been experiencing an increasing amount of rain over the last few years and this has resulted in quite a few areas being flooded. One of those areas is the old city of Chelmsford in the middle of Essex which is prone to flooding due to the rivers Cam and Chelmer that run through the town.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Flood Staining Chelmsford

I was asked to visit a property in the town that had been flooded over winter and the red dye in the carpet that was lying on the floor adjacent to their lovely Limestone Fireplace had stained the hearth in several places but primarily around the edges.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Red Dye Staining Chelmsford

The fire place had never been sealed and because of this the stone had sucked up the flood water like a sponge. They had drying equipment installed and as the moisture evaporated the red staining became more and more evident. Since then several companies had been to try and remedy the problem and each one was unsuccessful. The couple contacted us, and we went to assess the problem fully equipped to carry out the work.

Cleaning a Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace Hearth

Had the Fireplace been sealed we our first task would have been to remove to ensure we would have no issues sealing the fireplace later. In this case however that wasn’t an issue, so we were able to move straight onto cleaning up the stone using a set of diamond encrusted hand-held burnishing blocks. We started with the coarsest block (50 grit) and rubbed the stone with a bit of added water as lubrication, before wet vacuuming away the excess residue. This process was then repeated with progressively finer blocks (100, 200 and 400 grit), and the hearths were given a final rinse with fresh water.

The burnishing blocks are excellent tools to remove scratches and marks from tile and stone and did a good job of removing the red dye from around the hearth. They also took care of some marks that had appeared where the owner had placed a couple of slate tiles on the flat part of the hearth.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Along with these marks were some corrosion spots where a metal ornament had been sitting on the hearth for several years. I treated these with Tile Doctor Rust Away which is a specialist product for removing rust stains from tile and stone after a few applications the stain was gone.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace Hearth

After we had cleaned the fireplace up to the satisfaction of the client we used a smail dryer to dry everything out so that we could finish the job and seal the fireplace the same day. Once the stone moisture levels were at the correct level the Limestone Fireplace was sealed using three coats of Tile doctor Ultra-Seal leaving twenty minutes between coats.

Ultra-Seal is a no-sheen product that impregnates the pores of the stone protecting from within without changing the look of the stone thereby leaving it with a natural appearance. I’m please to say our efforts paid off and the Limestone Fireplace and Hearth is now stain free and looking like new.

Limestone Fireplace After Rust Stain Removal Chelmsford Limestone Fireplace After Flood Stain Removal Chelmsford

 

Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace and Hearth Restoration in Chelmsford



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Filthy Limestone Fireplace Restored in Oxford


A stone fireplace adds a classic and period look to any home but like the stone floors we deal with its only a matter of time before the appearance degrades, however not from foot traffic but from soot. This process happens so gradually it goes without being noticed until one day you realise it really does need a good clean and the dirtier it gets, the harder it is to clean.

I recently visited a customer living in the historic city of Oxford who had never once cleaned their black Limestone fireplace. One day, they decided to finally clean it but found that it would take a lot more than just a light scrub with some soapy water!

As you can see from the photograph below, the Limestone was extremely dirty, dusty and stained. Upon examining the situation, I decided that the best way to restore the stone to its original condition would be to use a polishing process known as burnishing. Keen to see the natural beauty of the Limestone again, the customer was more than happy to book in the job.

Limestone Fireplace Before Cleaning Oxford

Cleaning and Burnishing a Limestone Fireplace

As I would be focusing solely on the Fireplace, it was necessary for me to start by protecting the surrounding area with tape. I then began the process of burnishing, starting with a 200-grit diamond encrusted handheld burnishing block. I sprayed a small amount of water onto the fireplace to act as a lubricant and rubbed the diamond encrusted block onto the stone.

This coarse grit pad helps to grind away the thick layers of dirt on the surface of the Limestone and starts to gradually polish the surface beneath. I completed the burnishing working in small sections at a time, rinsing with fresh water and wiping excess off regularly as I progressed.

After finishing with the 200-grit block I then repeated the process using a 400-grit block. This block possesses a finer grit and really helped to achieve a high-quality polished effect.
While the Limestone was drying, I treated the black fire grate with the correct grate paste (or polish) which cleaned it and recoloured it.

To complete the cleaning process, I paid attention to the black tiles on the floor. These were cleaned using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with water, and scrubbed into the stone and grout using a small specialised brush. Finally, I rinsed the area with fresh water and dried it with a towel.

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace

I then had to leave the fireplace to dry for about an hour so it would be ready to seal. To seal the Limestone, I used Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which offers the natural looking finish that the customer wanted. This sealer is formulated to provide maximum protection against stains and dirt, and is suitable for use on all types of natural stone.

The customer has decided that although this will no longer be used as a working fireplace it, will certainly give the room a focal point – so she was very happy to have it back to looking its best!

Limestone Fireplace After Cleaning Oxford
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Limestone Fireplace in Oxfordshire



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