Cleaning your slate fireplace hearth

Hi readers!

I hope you are all well – I made a reply recently to a Forum about how the best way is to clean your slate fireplace hearth and I felt that it was worth putting a summary here as it may help some of my readers!

Don’t do’s

  1. Sour milk – Some people suggest this. Although I have never tried it, I would imagine that it could leave quite a stench in your house, considering the fact that you need to regularly clean your slate and the effects of sour milk would probably diminish after a few days too.
  2. Linseed Oil – I have also heard of people using this, but in my opinion, this type of oil is a little bit too thick and also can leave an unpleasant odour.

There are probably other oils that could be tried, but always be careful of odour and thinckness…

My cleaning method

  1. First wash the slate thoroughly with warm water and a drop of wash-up liquid
  2. Leave it to dry completely
  3. Apply Teak oil – this is normally available in larger DIY stores and in our opinion is the right viscosity – it is also a reasonable price and most of the pros use it – Some showrooms sell slate oil, but this does tend to be pricey and I really feel that Teak oil is a better choice and does a better job!
  4. Slate needs to be treated twice in the the beginning, but then apply the Teak oil every few months, or when it is required.

As a pointer, Olive oil could be used, but this is as a one-off, as the oil could also leave an unpleasant smell if over-used…

I hope this post has been useful?

Until next time…

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Stone for fireplaces – Part 2

In my previous article on stone for fireplaces I introduced the Travertine stone. In this article, I will be disgussing Portuguese Limestone, passing particular reference to Moca Creme and Semi Rigio – there are several others, but these seem to be the most popular!

Portuguese limestone is a beautifully smooth, almost white stone and as its name hints, 😉 is from Portugal.

Quality grades of Portuguese limestone have only slight veining within – blemishes found in other grades, should not be sold on the market!

Take a look at the image below!

As can be seen from the image above; the veining is minimal and thus produces a smooth creamy effect – a stone found with large blemishes, demonstrates a different kind of effect (rather like porridge with melted sugar within) not a blend that is commonly recognised as aesthetically pleasing!

Incidentally; I went to a stone show recently and a competitor had some of their products on show – I Have always wondered why they have been able to under-cut our prices? (we always use the highest quality stone)

And then… 😉

It jumped out at me! Literally!

I suddenly noticed porridge-like blemishes within the sides of one of their show-pieces – there were no blemishes on the front of the fireplace, but down the sides they were hideous!!

What did they expect (I wondered)?

Maybe they expect their customers to have a permanent plant, or similar object placed conveniently next to the blemishes to cover them up!!

I could not believe my eyes – I now know how some of these online competitors can charge such low prices – be warned!

A quality fireplace!

A quality Portuguese Limestone Fireplace, should look like the one pictured here!

Of course, if cheap stone is what you are looking for then blemishes can be hidden, but it is not an ideal choice and could ruin the effect of your room!

I chose to put the this particular fireplace in as an example, as we fitted one last week. The durrington, of contemporary design and a great centre-piece to any room… The client was more than satisfied with the finished product and his room effect was wonderful!

I have to mention here; had he been given a fireplace that had the ‘porridge’ effect, then hey… It would probably have been a complete design disaster!

Some questions to ask sellers:

  1. Do you cut out all blemishes?
  2. Do you craft fireplaces from the same pieces of stone?
  3. Have you got a showroom where I can see your fireplaces on display?
  4. Have you got any testimonials from previous customers that I can read?

I hope this post is useful?

Hasta 😉 luego…

Published in: on July 16, 2008 at 1:16 pm  Comments (2)  
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Pay a high price for a fireplace, or pay an even higher price!

Hi Peeps,

 

We recently had a customer come into our showroom to purchase a fireplace.

 

Nothing unusual..

 

We spent some time with her, as she required us to go through a number of package deals and non-package deals to see which one was most appropriate for her needs.

 

After looking at the fireplaces, we moved onto stone – this particular lady was interested in tumbled travertine.

 

It’s interesting how Travertine is becoming more and more popular with our customers, especially those Travertine stones with gold colours within..

 

The golden blend does tend to up the price; but still, as with all stones, there can be less expensive options too..

 

As a designer of stone fireplaces, I like most forms of Travertine! There are many variations to choose from… For example; Travertine is naturally a holey stone.  Travertine can be left in its natural form – it can also be filled and honed, or, as previously mentioned, it can be tumbled..

 

Some of the travertine stones have clear golden patches, whereas others have none or almost no gold at all!

 

Heck it’s a matter of choice I suppose..

 

 

Anyway!

 

The Lady..

 

Having chosen the fireplace and the stone she wanted, (of course, with the kind assistance of one of our skilled sales team), she left the store and bought the fireplace from one of our online competitors! (A competitor who does not have a tangible showroom and customer service facility and probably, the years of experience I will hasten to add)

 

I know all of this, because the Lady, after purchasing it from our competitor, came back to us to fix the problems with their installation.

 

The rest is history really.. The Lady ended up paying way more than she would have paid, not to us specifically, but for the whole job!

 

My advice in this case, is that if you get advice from one fireplace showroom, don’t expect the same level of service from another company in the same industry, just because they are in the same line of work – everyone is different after all!

 

Ciao for now, Buck!

 

Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 11:27 am  Comments (2)  
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How to get almost any colour of Fireplace Hearth or Surround!

Choosing the right stone can be as frustrating as choosing a pair of shoes!

Stone differs so much!

In fact, you can get one variety of stone, two sets and the stone will vary slightly on each..

How annoying? All you want, is the colour of your choice!

Well,

With Quartzite stone, this can be achieved!

red quartzite stone

Quartzite can be purchased in almost any colour, with many differing patterns… Checkout the image to the left, it’s of red quartzite (Prisma Rosso) – this colour could also be purchased with a clear pattern.

We recently designed a fireplace, for an Ultra-modern room, where the fireplace surround was in this colour – it was a Hole In The Wall design…

Although not my choice for a fireplace, I must say… The finished job was actually fantastic!

Buying Quartzite

I would advise having a browse round your local fireplace showroom, to see what is available – they would normally be able to order this stuff in, this is if they don’t have the colour you are after!

Be careful…

Quartzite can be expensive!  It’s adviseable to have a good shop around, if you are going to go for this as a choice!

Before you buy…

Make sure the same can’t be achieved with The Real McCoy!