Natural-stone fireplaces will never go out of style, particularly those that feature elaborate surrounds made with creamy Carrara marble, but they can easily lose their visual appeal if they’re not given proper maintenance. The marble itself will last for several decades, but its appearance can become compromised by soot, ashes, and even common stains such as moisture rings from hot mugs and wine glasses. Since marble is a porous stone, it’s bound to absorb substances that come in contact with its surface if it isn’t cared for properly, thus resulting in stains. Some spots can be easily removed, while others may cause an etching effect that can be difficult to manage without the help of stone restoration professionals. Here are some recommendations when caring for a marble fireplace.
Ensure Proper Airflow and Ash Removal
Wood-burning fireplaces actually benefit from some level of ash and coal accumulation, ideally not higher than two inches. As long as the firebox has proper ventilation, you won’t be bothered by smoke, the wood will burn without smoldering, and the ashes will smoothly settle at the bottom without flowing out into the hearth, surround, and chase. When the ash pile gets higher than a couple of inches, you should remove small amounts a few times a day.
Keep It Sealed
One of the most important aspects of caring for marble structures is to keep a strong surface seal, and this includes fireplaces. Regularly using a natural-stone sealer can keep your fireplace protected. To test the seal and see if it has weakened to the point of requiring another application, perform a simple water test. Pour water about 3 inches in diameter on the surface of the marble in several places and let it sit for 30 minutes. If you notice dark marks or rings, it’s time to reseal the stone on your fireplace.
Make sure you use a specially formulated marble and granite cleaner for frequent cleaning of your marble fireplace. Forget about vinegar or common household cleaners, as they increase the potential of breaking down the surface seal and making your marble vulnerable to staining. Instead, use Granite Gold Daily Cleaner®.
Prevent Mantle Stains
Fireplace mantles tend to be magnets for hot cups of coffee, cocoa, and tea, particularly on the coldest days of winter. When you invite people over for dinner parties, wine glasses and beer bottles will likely accumulate on the mantle because people naturally gravitate toward mantles even if no fire is burning. Aside from the keeping your stone sealed, mitigating stains on marble is simply a matter of providing enough coasters for everyone to use.
If stains from beverages don’t come off when wiped down with natural-stone cleaner, you may still be able to remove them. Soak paper towels, cotton balls, or a white terry cloth towel in liquid bleach, then place it right over the stain. Leave it for 24 hours, then remove it and rinse with water. Once stains have been removed, make sure to wipe down the marble with natural-stone cleaner followed by a coat of sealant. After the sealant has cured for 24 hours, use a marble and granite polish to enhance the shine and luster of your fireplace.
For more information on caring for surfaces made of marble and other types of natural stone, such as granite, soapstone, limestone, and slate, reach out to Granite Gold® at 1-800-475-STONE (7866). You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive tips and other information on quartz and natural-stone care.