How to… Restore a Cast Iron Fireplace

8 top tips

    If you can remove the fireplace from its place in the wall, this will make your job easier. If not, make sure you put down protective sheeting as the job can get messy.

    Remove any old paint. Don’t try to burn it off with a blowtorch, as cast iron is brittle and can crack easily. Use a paint stripper to remove the paint. Make sure you wear protective gloves, goggles and old clothes, and ensure the room is well ventilated.

    For intricate bits of detail, a stiff nylon brush will be of help.

    Clean the fireplace with a cloth soaked in white spirit once you’ve got the paint off. Don’t let water get anywhere near the cast iron or it will start to rust quickly.

    If there is any rust on the fireplace, use wire wool to clean it off.

    Once your fireplace is restored back to its original state, you need to decide whether to paint or polish it. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you buy the right stuff to do it with. Grate polish can be applied with a rag, or if you prefer a burnished look, you can use WD40.

    If you are planning to paint the fireplace,
    give it a coat of red oxide first to prevent
    rusting. Buy a specialist paint, available
    from most DIY shops.

    If your fireplace is likely to be exposed to
    cold air at all, then a coat of iron paste
    or black lead can be applied, which will
    protect it. This can be buffed to a polished

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