Monday, 13 August 2012

How to renovate a cast iron fireplace

I am lucky to have found some original features in my house. One of them was a beautiful cast iron fireplace in the master bedroom which had been painted white. You can see it hidden behind the bed in the photo below. The floral wallpaper is the original decor. The whole room including carpet, ceiling and curtains were this shade of pink. I knew that I wanted to restore the fireplace to it's former glory, so here are my tips on how to do it.

Thing's You Will Need
  • Wire brush and/or wire wool
  • Paint Stripper (I used nitromors but any brand at your local DIY store will work)
  • Rust Remover (I used Liberon)
  • Paint Brushes
  • Cast Iron Paste
  • Plastic sheets for the surrounding area
  • Safety equipment - gloves and a well ventilated area
Step 1

Before you start, ensure that you have your gloves on and that the area you are working in is well ventilated. Cover the surrounding area with plastic sheets as this process can get very messy. Using the paintbrush, apply the paint stripper to the fireplace. Ensure that you follow the instructions on the paint stripper tin, but usually it will tell you to apply a layer and leave it for half an hour before adding a second layer. After the specified time has elapsed, the paint should start to bubble and crackle as you can see in the photos below.

Step 2
Take your wire brush and start scrubbing the fireplace to remove as much of the paint as possible. This can be quite a laborious process and took me about 5 evenings to complete. I found that after the majority of the paint was removed, wire wool was much more effective to reach in to the corners and areas of detailing. Repeat these steps until all traces of paint are removed.

Step 3

Wipe down the fireplace using an old cloth to remove any traces of the paint stripper. You are now ready to apply the rust remover. Using a clean paintbrush, spread the rust remover over the fireplace. After around half an hour any areas of rust will turn a white colour and you will need to use your wire brush or wire wool to scrub away the rust.

Step 4
Once all of the traces of rust have been removed, it is time to apply the cast iron paste, again, please ensure that you follow the instructions on the back of the packet. I used a clean cloth to rub a small amount of paste on to the fireplace and then buffed the area to remove any excess. If you apply too much paste and do not buff the excess away it can create smoke once the fire is lit, which is never good! Repeat this step until the whole fireplace is covered. Ta Da! You should now have a wonderfully restored cast iron fireplace that you will be proud of.

This is one of my favourite features of the house and even more so because I restored it myself. It took me quite a few evenings work to complete, but the end result is well worth the effort!

Moving on

I am very excited to let you know that I am in the process of buying my first home. It belonged to my Nan before she passed away and my Mum and Uncle have agreed to sell it to me. It is a real fixer upper, the house hasn't been touched in over thirty years. Because our flat lease doesn't end until the end of September we have an opportunity to get some work done before we move in. It's a slow process but we are starting to see some changes. I am really excited to see it finally get finished, I have lots of ideas and promise to start sharing some photos of the process.