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Restoring a Victorian Fireplace

DIY Victorian Fireplace Restoration

Last year I went on a search for some Victorian Fireplaces to re-instate in the two bedrooms which would have originally housed fireplaces and have sadly been taken out. I searched both Gumtree and eBay for some time and ended up finding and buying two. One was a reproduction and was clearly quite newish (a slightly regretful purchase that I think I'll re-sell!) and the other was a true Victorian beauty. It had been saved from a house by a builder in Leicester whom popped it on eBay and sold it to me. I paid just £70 for the fireplace, complete with an insert, soot hatch and grill. It's just stunning!


Fireplace Restoration Before
Victorian Fireplace in Layers of Paint
Victorian Fireplace Insert with Soot Hatch and Grill

Over the years it had been covered in various layers of paint as trends changed, just like most fireplaces. I knew I wanted to bring it back to its former glory, stripping it of all paint and polishing it up back to its original matt black appearance. This fireplace will be going in the smallest bedroom eventually, where we've already opened up the chimney which had been bricked up, which you can read about here. To strip this fireplace and bring it back to its former glory, I used a tutorial from one of my favourite blogs, Little House on the Corner. I wont be repeating the tutorial on here (so go check out their tutorial here) but I wanted to share the progress of the fireplace restoration and a few little things I did differently too.

So, I used Peel Away 1 for this (as recommended in the tutorial), which is a chemical paint stripper with blankets that sit over the top and literally 'peel away' the layers of paint, as the name suggests.

Using Peel Away on a Victorian Fireplace
Peel Away Chemical Paint Remover Working
Removing Paint from a Victorian Fireplace

After being left for a night, the layers peeled right off, revealing a level of detail on the fireplace that I hadn't seen before - I'm completely in love with it! After neutralising the fireplace, I found the residue had really clogged up in all the little details and it was proving a nightmare to remove. I posted my a picture on Instagram (you can follow me here if you're wondering) and the lovely couple from A Foot on the Ladder advised me to use this little nifty tool...

Wire Brush Drill Bit

A wire brush drill bit - Something I didn't even know existed! And oh boy I am glad to have discovered it! It worked amazingly, buffed up the fireplace to a shine and literally took away the need for hours of scrubbing. It really got into every little nook and this tool brought out all the intricate little details.  

How to Buff a Cast Iron Fireplace
Cleaning Intricate Detail on a Victorian Fireplace

The level of detail is absolutely stunning and you really couldn't appreciate any of it under the layers of paint it was initially hidden within! I can't be more thrilled with how this restoration turned out, it was surprisingly easy to do (Peel Away is amazing!) and restoring this fireplace was definitely worth it. I apologise for the picture spam - but c'mon, just look at it!

Victorian Fireplace Detail
Intricate Detail on Fireplace
Cast Iron Fireplace with Detail
Restoring a Victorian Fireplace

To finish up, I added a little bit of black grate polish to protect the fireplace and also add a bit of a matt finish to it as well. I also used it on the inset and grill to match. I think the inset could have done with a bit of paint removing as well to be honest as there seems to be a tiny bit of black paint around the top, but it's definitely not very noticeable.

Grate Polish on Victorian Fireplace Insert
Victorian Soot Hatch
Victorian Fireplace Fully Restored
DIY Fireplace Restoration

I still have the shelf to restore and heath to tile before we can properly fit this to the wall, but I'm ridiculously pleased with how well this has turned out and it's definitely going add some lovely period charm to this room!

Have you ever restored an old fireplace?


Costs

(rounded to the nearest pound)

New Tools Purchased:
Wire Drill Bits £4

Materials Used:
Peel Away 1 £35
Grate Polish £5

Total: £44

1 comment

  1. Wow! That looks amazing. I have a little bedroom/bathroom size victorian fire surround that would benefit from this treatment! I just need to find somewhere to use it!!!

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