How to Maintain Your Stone Veneer Fireplace
Your stone veneer fireplace should last for decades. Like other types of fireplaces, stone veneer does not require a great deal of daily maintenance. Just an occasional cleaning and some good housekeeping habits can help your fireplace look its best for many years to come.
Read the Warranty
If your stone veneer fireplace is newly installed, and you purchased the veneer from a quality company that stands behind its product, then it likely comes with a warranty. The warranty may give instructions regarding which cleaning products to use and the number of times to clean. Failure to follow the instructions could damage the product and invalidate the warranty. Read the warranty before performing any maintenance.
Sweep the Hearth Regularly
Sweep the hearth on a regular basis. This prevents dirt and grime buildup that could negatively impact the appearance of your stone veneer.
To sweep the hearth, use a broom or a dry mop every other day to clean out wood chips and other dirt. Dirt can eventually stain the mortar on the hearth, so wipe it down periodically with a rag.
Ensure Good Airflow Up the Chimney
If you have a fireplace that burns real firewood, you may start to notice soot buildup on the surrounding wall over a period of many years. This happens because of smoke that escapes the fireplace and rises into the room.
Smoke is supposed to rise up into the chimney and out of the house. However, if the chimney experiences a blockage or if wind outside blows in the wrong direction, this could cause smoke to flow into the room. This can then cause soot to build up on your stone veneer fireplace.
Keep your fireplace well-maintained and have a professional chimney sweep inspect it on a regular basis. This will prevent any blockages that could send smoke into the room instead of up the chimney.
If you want to build a fire on a windy day, consider opening a window before building your fire. This can help encourage airflow into the room, which can send the smoke up the chimney.
Burn Seasoned Wood
Seasoned wood, when burned, produces a manageable amount of smoke. Green wood, when burned, will produce a very smoky, oily flame. Green wood also produces small fires that are difficult to keep lit. Both of these problems can cause smoke to enter the room, leading to a fast soot buildup on your veneer.
Burn only well-seasoned wood in your fireplace. You’ll be able to tell if the wood is properly seasoned by the small cracks in the ends of the logs. When the logs clink together, they will make a hollow sound. Wood that is well-seasoned will also be gray or silver in color.
Clean the Veneer When Necessary
Despite your best efforts, your stone veneer may occasionally develop a layer of soot on the space over the firebox. Cleaning the stone on a regular basis can prevent this soot from building up and becoming difficult to remove.
To clean your veneer, use a soft bristle brush and a designated stone veneer cleaner. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions carefully during this process.
Alternatively, you can also use a mixture of water and cream of tartar to clean your bricks. Mix the two ingredients into a paste, and apply the paste to the soot. After allowing the cream of tartar to sit on the mortar, wipe the cream of tartar away with a damp sponge. Repeat as needed.
Some stone veneers have color only on the surface of the stone and cannot tolerate harsh cleaner. Using harsh bleach or acidic cleaners on these stone veneers could cause the color to rub out. If you use a cleaner that you’ve never used before and you’re not sure whether or not it’s safe for your fireplace, apply the cleaner to a test area before applying it to the entire structure.
Scrub down the stone. Do not use a wire brush, as this could lead the stone to scratch. Rinse the surface with a damp rag to wash away any cleaner. Allow the stone to dry fully before lighting a fire in your fireplace.
Keep the Hearth Clear of Flammable Objects and Debris
To prevent house fires and keep your hearth — as well as your house — safe, keep the hearth clear of debris and flammable objects. Do not put anything on your fireplace that could potentially light on fire because of flying sparks.
Talk To Your Stone Veneer Manufacturer for More Information
If you own a stone veneer fireplace and have more questions about how to maintain your fireplace, contact a stone veneer manufacturer such as Harristone. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. We also can help you select the best materials if you want to install a new stone veneer fireplace.