Refurb Success Story 1 - The Fireplaces, 02 May 2018
Refurbishing the fireplaces was the first major piece of house renovation which was most eagerly attacked, and the timescales most significantly overlooked... Our house thankfully retained three of its four original iron fireplace surrounds (and one day we’ll get round to replacing the missing surround in the kitchen - but that’s for another day.) All the fireplaces had, sadly, been painted at various times in their lives and were covered in thick layers of paint which obscured the arts-and-crafts style deco. The aim was to return the fireplaces to their original iron finish. Sounds simple - but there was a learning curve to this process, and steps along the way…
Step 1 - Nitromors
After extensive research, this product seemed appropriate for removing the more recent layers of non-lead based paint. The green goo mobilised and softened the paint so it could be wiped and scraped away. Generally, it felt this was largely unsuccessful. It loosened the top layers of paint, but didn’t go deep enough and required a number of applications and a LOT of manual scraping. Plus we got very minor lead poisoning from the older paints underneath which were also activated by the Nitromors, which we inadvertently disturbed during the scraping. So heads up - if using this method, adequate ventilation and breathing gear is essential! However, this step was a necessary base for Step 2...
Step 2 - PeelAway
We chose the specific ‘PeelAway 1’ product for lead-based paint, which online research revealed to be effective for similar applications and reasonably time efficient. As this product worked on the lead-based layers of paint, the Nitromors at Step 1 was required to ensure the Peel Away work effectively (or we could have opted for a different PeelAway product). It was remarkably effective. These photos show the paint which was stripped away by the paste adhering to the covering blankets, which were then quite simply peeled away. Small areas of paint remained but based on the overall effectiveness of the product we largely put this down to our application skills!
Step 3 - Cleaning and Polishing
This final step was the quickest and most dramatic, leaving us with a bright, clean and rust-proof cast iron finish.