Sitting at home by the fireplace can often be a nice and relaxing time. The cooler months get you excited to cozy on up to a hot burning fire and listen to the crackling of the burning wood. All is well until the fire has burned out. You wake up the next morning and begin your day with a little cup of coffee on the couch. As you look across the room, you notice the filth that is all over your fireplace stonework. It appears time to have your fireplace cleaned. At the end of the cooler season, you begin to look into various ways to clean the fireplace. How to clean a stone fireplace? Protective gear, a bucket, a scrubbing sponge or brush, and a liquid solution are the first items that you need to accomplish this task.
Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process that is recommended for cleaning stone fireplaces.
What Is Needed
Even though you can hire a professional to come and clean your chimney and fireplace, it is likely that you won’t do this more than once a year. In the event that the stonework on your fireplace begins looking dirty and dingy, you should have these items on hand for easy scrubbing.
- Protective mask-necessary to keep soot and debris from your respiratory system.
- Dropcloth or plastic tarp-needed to keep the ash and debris off your floors while you clean the fireplace.
- Fireplace shovel-used to scoop up the ash and burned logs from the fireplace itself to be properly disposed of.
- Bucket or metal container-needed to place the ashes from burned logs.
- Scrubbing sponge-this allows you to scrub down the soot from the stone and dig in between the crevices or grout of the stone work.
- Wet/Dry Vacuum-option to vacuum out the ashes and the soot as you scrub it off the stone walls.
- Dish soap-necessary to create a solution with water. Allows you to really dig into the grime of the soot and wipe it away.
- Water-often times you only need water to get the fresh soot off of the stone fireplace.
What Are The Steps
There is no clear-cut way to keep your wood-burning stone fireplace clean and looking brand new. However, there are some recommended steps to save you time and energy with each cleaning. One of the most important rules of thumb though is to let the fireplace cool for 12 hours after the last fire.
Let’s explore those recommended steps.
- Lay the drop cloths over the furniture and flooring to keep dust and cleaner off.
- Using the gloves and the mask, scoop up the ashes and put them into the bucket or container.
- Put water in the container and then a tight-fitting lid on top and place the container outside until you are ready to dispose of it.
- Using your vacuum cleaner that has an attachment, you will pull the dust from the fireplace. Start at the top and go down to do this.
- Grab the bucket and add 1/4 cup dish soap with a quart of hot water and mix it together with a wooden stick.
- Put on the gloves and the facemask, dip the scrubbing brush in the soap and wipe the fireplace down from top to bottom. The idea is to loosen the dirt.
- After this is done, empty out the bucket and replace it with clean water. Using a dry rag, soak it in the water and wipe down any left over soap on the brick.
- Lastly, take a dry rag and dab the areas around the fireplace and let it dry completely before your next fire in the fireplace.
How Much Does It Cost
The cost of maintaining your stone fireplace can vary by location. The national average for a chimney sweep is roughly $252. Cleaning of the chimney itself can run you between $130 to $375. The good part is, you can clean the stone portion that is seen by the homeowner for around $85 to $100. This includes the cost of materials.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Understanding how to clean your stone fireplace is always a great first step. This allows you to keep that stonework looking in brand new conditions. At the same time, understanding the steps necessary to maintain a fireplace is also important. Make sure that you are also reading up on how to maintain a stone fireplace.
Being able to understand the necessary steps to maintain a fireplace also keeps you in tune with how to clean a fireplace. Knowing how to clean the stone of a fireplace and also the brick of a fireplace is key. Keep in mind that the stonework used on the outside of your fireplace might be more for decoration and to support the mantle. Consider exploring the entire fireplace and chimney construction as you might have stone and brick in your fireplace. It is also good to compare and contrast the various supplies used for cleaning the brick or stone.
Finally, now that you are an expert at fireplace maintenance and cleaning, before even going into the purchasing or a home with a fireplace in it, make sure to carefully read through the home inspection report. Make sure that the recommended maintenance was conducted by the seller of the home. It is always a great idea to have first-hand knowledge of the home inspection process for buyers and sellers.
When Do I Call A Professional
Cleaning the stones of your fireplace is often something that a homeowner can do as a do-it-yourself project. However, understanding what you might damage if not done correctly is also very important. Calling out a professional fireplace and chimney contractor is a great idea here. You can get an inspection completed with some recommended ways to clean the soot, dust, and debris from your stonework. It’s also possible that you get the cleaning completed as part of the cleaning package of your chimney.
Fireplace maintenance and cleaning of the stonework are vital in the aesthetics of your home. Using the fireplace often in the colder months requires regular cleaning of the stonework so that soot and other particles do not build up on the walls inside and outside of the fireplace. It is no different than cleaning your stove regularly. Also, this keeps the stonework looking amazing throughout the year. If you are in need of a proper home inspection to verify that your chimney is intact and does not require repairs, it is a great idea to call your local home inspection team. Heartland Home Inspections are happy to come out and provide you with some fireplace maintenance advice and refer a few quality professionals. Heartland Inspections services the great Minneapolis St. Paul and surrounding areas.