Second-hand marble fireplace makeover

marble fireplace makeover

Recently, a friend of mine had a long-term tenant leave one of his rental properties. As the tenant had been there for so long, it was pretty obvious the house needed a complete makeover. The plan was to make this a more upmarket type of property so that a much higher rent could be achieved.

Apart from new kitchen and new bathroom, basic must haves for such an undertaking, new fireplaces were also needed. The existing ones were the 1950’s style of tiled fireplaces and were starting to shed their tiles; several tiles on each of the two fireplaces were loose.

Makeover with a second-hand marble fireplace

Normally, the job would get done by just calling into a shop that specialised in fireplaces and they would take care of it. However, with the whole cost of the refurbishment coming to several thousand pounds, paying upwards of £1500 per fireplace didn’t appeal. Therefore, a more cost effective solution would be second-hand fireplaces from on-line auction sites or local ads. The type of fireplaces in mind were Adam surrounds with marble hearths and marble back panels.

After three weeks of auction bidding and answering ads, all the paying for and collecting the various items was complete and all assembled ready for installation in the 3-bedroom rental house.

Well, almost ready. As all the items had been installed previously, they all had some signs of being fitted before and needed a bit of a clean. There were the footprints of the surrounds on the marble hearths. As they were going to have different surrounds to what was originally fitted, those marks needed cleaning off. So back to the computer to look up how to do that.

Fortunately, I too was consulted about what was needed. Why fortunately? Because some of the advice given online was anything from rather misguided to downright wrong!

One bit of misguided advice was where, just to save time, someone advised using an angle-grinder tool rather than an orbital sander to remove old marks etc. This advice was going out to people who maybe had valuable marble, but no experience of using an angle-grinder.

Let me tell you, it takes a LOT of practice to use an angle grinder to get a smooth finish without gouging the surface of a flat piece of marble. Even with a very fine sanding disc fitted, one slightly wrong twist of the wrist, one wrong angle of the disc to the marble for even a fraction of a second, and there will be unwanted damage to the marble’s surface. Yes, Royal Stone’s marble engineers do use angle grinders on occasion but they are very experienced, they do know what they are doing and how to handle such tools properly.

Flat out wrong was where someone asked how to get etching (tiny scratches) and limescale off some marble in a bathroom shower. An idiot replying said to use limescale remover.

Using a limescale remover on marble would dissolve it

Marble is a type of limestone, so using a limescale remover on it would dissolve the marble, not clean it. Same goes for advice that said to use cement cleaner but don’t touch it because it’s acid. Acid is lethal to marble. Many stone cleaners contain acid and must be avoided. Only use cleaners recommended for marble. Preferably cleaners that come with someone to do the job for you, like Royal Stone.

My friend lives in the North of England and it would have been uneconomical for Royal Stone Care to go and clean his fireplaces for him. I’m glad we were able to point him in the right direction and give him the right advice to get his particular problem solved.

Whatever problem you have concerning the cleaning of marble, or any other type of stone, if you live in the London area, Royal Stone Care is local to you and we will always be pleased to help you out and, better still, come and do the job for you. Just give us a call.