The Fireplace Hearth

August 18, 2008

One of my (several) ongoing projects is the fireplace hearth, which is finally in the home stretch. When we moved in, it was painted a deep red, and D. wanted to strip both it and the fireplace itself. The latter turned out to be beyond our abilities as DIYers….we might still try it one day if we ever refinish the floors in there, but basically it involved bringing in a sandblaster and making a wreck of the space for a somewhat uncertain result.

The hearth, on the other hand, was simple to strip with Soygel, a great organic (so it claims, at least!) paint stripper. Here’s the before and after:

The Labradane on top of the old painted hearth

The Labradane on top of the old painted hearth

and now:

The fireplace, sans several generations of paint

The fireplace, sans several generations of paint

So now I have to figure out what to do about all of the creosote and soot stains. I wonder if that’s why the hearth was painted in the first place! We have a slate seal to use once it’s as clean as it will get, but I’m running out of options to get the stains out. (We’ve tried various organic cleansers, bleach, baking soda, even TSP, bleh! …but nothing worked.) Should we just leave it as-is and figure that’s character? Is there another way to get soot out of stone? Not sure what kind of stone this is, unfortunately, though it seems to be on the harder side.



  1. We used a diluted mixture of miuriatic acid on our stained fireplace chimney and hearth and they look brand new.

  2. Thanks Lori—maybe we’ll give that a try! I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that the hearth has been sitting there ever since I wrote this, still waiting to be cleaned and sealed….argh.

  3. If that doesn’t clean it well enough you could consider overlaying the hearth with some thin slate tiles.

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