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How to restore a Cast Iron Antique Fireplace

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How to restore a Cast Iron Antique Fireplace

How to restore a Cast Iron Antique Fireplaces

Restoring a cast iron fireplace is not difficult, but does require time and patience, by following these few simple steps you can restore your tired looking antique fireplace back to its former glory!  Although at Strippadoor we are ready and waiting to do all the dirty work for you! (http://www.strippadoor.co.uk )  PLEASE NOTE: As this point we need to let you know that although cast iron is a hard wearing material, it is very brittle and does not like to be twisted or bent, it can also be very heavy, so maybe asking a friend/family member to help when you need it moving.

  • If your cast iron fireplace has fireplace tiles in it, these must be removed first. They are fixed into cast iron tile racks, often with plaster at the rear. The cast iron racks are attached to the rear of the fireplace by nuts. Apply lubricant (WD40) to these nuts and gently remove or loosen them, using an adjustable wrench or spanner until such a point that the tiles can safely be removed. Do not over-stain any fitting or they can snap the tile.
  • Tiles now removed your antique fireplace is ready to be stripped of paint by us, or if not local, your nearest ‘stripping’ place. This is the quickest and often the cheapest way of removing all the years of paint.
  • With your reclaimed fireplaces now stripped back to the bare cast iron, it will need to be wire brushed. Using a cup wire brush (available at most DIY stores) attached to a drill or angle grinder work all over the cast iron fireplace. NOTE – EYE PROTECTION, DUST MASK AND EAR PROTECTION SHOULD BE WORN DURING THIS PROCESS. 90 percent of the first look is in the time you spend in the preparation.
  • If you have any cracks, broken or missing parts, it is worth employing a professional to restore your fireplace. See http://www.strippadoor.co.uk . Once the fire place has been wire brushed and is smooth to the touch, apply Graphite paste, also known as black grate polish – available at Strippadoor. Apply this with a brush working it all over the fireplace, ensuring that it does not get clogged up in the fine detail. Allow to dry for 2-4 hrs.
  • Once dry buff up with a stiff brush and finish with a cloth. The more elbow grease used the higher the shine and the better the end result.
  • You now have a beautifully restored antique cast iron fireplace.
  • Now the tiles: If the tiles are painted then use paint stripper to remove this paint. NOTE – GLOVES AND EYE PROTECTION SHOULD BE WORN. If they are not painted they may still benefit from being rubbed down with fine wire wool, and a scrub with a cream cleaner.
  • Slide the now shining antique tiles down the cast iron tile rack that are attached to the rear of the fireplace. Ensure they are straight and line up where necessary. Hold them in this place with small folded bits of cardboard. Again, getting to avoid tile breakage and don’t force the cardboard down Note: the cardboard is not a fire hazard.
  • Using bonding plaster, cover the tile racks, ensuring it is worked between the tiles and tile racks. Allow time to dry – may take up to 5 hours.
  • Sit back and admire your handy work.

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