Many older homes were built with ornate fireplace mantels. Over the years, different owners of the home may have added their own touch to the decor such as painting the mantel. With some time and elbow grease, you can restore the fireplace to its former glory as the centerpiece of the room by safely removing the paint from the bricks, marble or stone.
Preparing the mantel
To avoid damaging painted or paneled walls that surround the fireplace, you will need to prepare the area before beginning the paint removal process. Use painter's tape and plastic film to cover areas around the fireplace where you want to protect and preserve the existing paint. Generate ventilation by opening the fireplace flue and any nearby doors and windows. Consider bringing in a fan or turning on the room's ceiling fan for added airflow. Cover your eyes and hands with safety goggles and protective gloves. Place a wastebasket near the fireplace so that any garbage can be placed into it without having to cross the room and drip chemicals on the flooring.
To make sure that you get the desired results, first test the paint removal product on an inconspicuous area of the mantel. Apply it according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you're not satisfied with the result on the test area, try letting the product sit on the mantel a little longer. If you're still not happy with the result, try another product. Once you are satisfied with the result on a test area, it's time to begin working on the rest of the mantel. Apply the paint removal product to the entire mantel. Be sure to apply the paint removal product evenly. Allow it to set and then remove it according to the manufacturer's specifications. The product may need to rest for several hours to do its job.
Once the paint removal product has been removed from the mantel, you'll need to clean the residue off its surface. A spray bottle filled with water and a strong nylon bristle brush should do the trick. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of the mantel. Apply a light coat of neutralizer to the mantel's surface. This stops the chemical reaction between the mantel and the paint removal product.
If your home is a historic one or if you are afraid of causing damage to the materials of the mantel, consider hiring experienced professionals to complete the fireplace renovation. Proper care during the paint removal process helps to ensure that the structural and aesthetic integrity of the mantel are preserved.