Friday, 13 November 2009

Cleaning and Protecting the Limestone Fireplace

After a few weeks of use we realised our lovely new off-white limestone fireplace was getting spots and stains - a combination of drips from cleaning the stove door glass and ground in dirt from oak logs and burnt cinders.

We began to wonder if the products we used on the tomettes were suitable for limestone. We read the labels carefully and decided that as Sarpasol is an acid, designed to remove the lime bloom from terracotta tiles, it was not appropriate; but there didn't seem to be any reason not to use the hydrofuge / oleofuge protection product. We couldn't find anyone who had used a similar product on a domestic interior, although there seems to be occasional use of water repellant compounds on the exterior of large limestone public buildings.

Sanding clean the limestone fireplace.
We asked Monsieur Douady what he thought. He said that if it was his, he would do nothing and let it develop patina, but he obviously knew what type of product we were talking about and agreed that there was no reason we should not use it on the fireplace.

So, one morning I went over any spots and marks on the smoothly cut stone with dry 150 grade wet'n'dry sandpaper, just as I had seen Monsieur Douady after the masons left size 12 bootprints on the hearth stones. The stone is so chalky a light sanding removes all surface spotting, although nothing will safely remove deeply impregnated stains and some marks become permanent because of being 'fired' by the heat of the stove.

Then I wiped off the dust with a slightly damp cloth and gave all the smooth surfaces a coat of Protecteur hydrofuge oléofuge made by Chimybat. Four hours later I gave the hearth a second coat, as it is at the most risk of staining. The product is very easy to apply with a paint brush, which washes out with water. It's invisible once dry and doesn't change the colour of the stone.


PS Rather annoyingly, the stove itself has developed a fault, with one section of its door seal coming adrift. Up until Wednesday evening we were utterly delighted with the stove, as it heats our sitting room and the old kitchen (which is currently our office), as well as our bedroom and the shower room upstairs. It takes logs of up to 15cm diameter and 50cm long, and would burn slowly right through the night. Now, with a piece of door seal missing, it burns faster. I guess we will have to take it back to Bricomarché, where we bought it, or get in touch with the manufacturer, Invicta, and get a new door. I certainly hope this will be covered by some sort of guarantee.


IanJ said...

You would expect the door seals to stay in place for at least the first year, but it's a very common problem and easily fixed. High-temperature glue and replacement rope in different thicknesses is available everywhere. Down to Brico again!

Jean said...

Oh "saggerst" ! - that's the word verification and probably sums up how you felt when you found the fault in the stove.
Taking it back to Bricomarché sounds like an awful lot of trouble. I believe you can buy new sealer for the doors. Would it be worth trying that first ? Maybe they would give you a bit to try or something.
I hope you can sort something out soon. Being without your stove is not a good prospect at this time of year.

Jean said...

Ian - you just got in before me with the same suggestion !!

Anonymous said...

One is meant to replace the glass-fibre seal every year to prevent the leakage of gases. As the fire is enclosed rather than open, the oxygen supply is restricted and the gaseous product may include a bit of carbon monoxide as well as CO2. As IanJ says one can get tape and glue at any hardware shop.

Carolyn said...

Susan, your hair looks so shiny in that photo. How long have you been using the hydrofuge/oleofuge on it?

Ken Broadhurst said...

It sounds like it might be easier to just take the door off the stove, depending on the hinges, and take that to BricoMarché, rather than take the whole stove. I have to say we have had our stove since 2006 and we haven't yet replaced the door seal. Maybe we should think about doing that.

Simon said...

Ian, Jean and Anon. Thanks - I will investigate that. It does mean me having to spend hours standing in Bricomarché making my mind up as to which glue I need though!!

Ken. Thats what I was thinking. Not sure why (or how!!) Susan thought we would return the whole thing!!!!

Tim Ford said...

Simon... a couple of years back the Brico in Wyzerz* had an English guy called John working for them. I found him very useful when I couldn't work out "wot woz wot"... he may still be there. The short-haired lass on the checkout has called him down from somewhere [out back or office?]for us.
We're over in GP [well, between GP and PP actually]

*[Yzeures s/C - our name for it]

Simon said...

Tim. It has been pronounced the same way here, too :) I haven't met the English guy at BricoMarché, but they did have a Canadian working for them earlier this year and he was quite useful.

We mut drive Célestine past your place occasionally - the road from PP to GP is one of our faves.

Tim said...

I have encountered similar problems with an old Limestone Fireplace that was part of the new property I am currently in now. I can never understand the logic of using acidic washes, but this sanding and double protection makes much more sense to me!

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