Smoke Damage Restoration

“What are the main risks to watch for whenever a fire occurs at your house or business? And what steps can you take to Smoke Damage Restoration? While fire poses an immediate threat, that isn’t the only concern you must consider. Your building’s structure, electrical systems, and any possessions exposed to smoke may suffer severe damage due to smoke from the fire.”

 

Smoke Damage Restoration

 

Even after a small fire goes out, smoke damage can occur. Smoke Damage Restoration is essential because smoke is acidic and affects surfaces differently. If not cleaned correctly, smoke damage can quickly take its toll.

You’ll learn about the different types of smoke damage and how they affect your property, as well as how to restore the damage.

 

Smoke damage types

Smoke does not destroy buildings or objects immediately; it can cause long-term damage. It is crucial to distinguish smoke damage from fire damage. It is essential to be prepared for smoke damage and fix it quickly, as it can cause corrosion, discoloration, odors, structural weaknesses, and health problems if left untreated.

It depends on the temperature, type of fire, materials burnt, and what cleanup measures are required. Furthermore, smoke particles can easily penetrate any crack and crevice, making cleanup even more difficult. To save as many belongings as possible after smoke damage, it is crucial to ensure proper ventilation, debris removal, cleaning, and odor neutralization. However, timing is the most critical factor in repairing smoke damage.

Besides smoke damage, fires may also cause soot damage. Although soot discolors surfaces and prolongs the cleaning process, it can damage fabric, upholstery, and appliances. It can also damage walls beyond repair, corroding hard surfaces, destroying flooring, and causing them irreparable.

Different types of smoke damage exist, depending on the fire and objects burned.

 

The dry smoke

Fires that spread rapidly at high temperatures cause dry smoke. It often occurs in fires that burn through paper, wood, and building structures. Dry smoke residue is powdery and easy to clean but incorporated into a broader range of surfaces. This can cause structural and internal damage to wiring, HVAC systems, and foundations.

 

The Wet Smoke

Fires involving burnt plastic and rubber goods, called wet smoke, generate fumes from low-temperature fires. Since wet smoke comes from burnt plastic, it smells like burnt plastic and leaves a black residue, which rusts and corrosions metals. Due to the grease left behind by wet smoke, it isn’t easy to clean.

 

The protein smoke

Burned organic matter produces protein smoke, which leaves no stains or smears on hard surfaces but can discolor paint and leave a strong odor.

 

Smoke from fuel

The burning of oil, petroleum, and other fuels creates fuel smoke. Although it doesn’t typically occur inside homes, it can be found in garages, sheds, and commercial spaces such as warehouses.

Fuel smoke thickens after settling and becomes hard to remove. Fabric damaged by fuel smoke is irreparable once it comes in contact with it.

 

The Effects of Smoke Damage on Home and Business Contents

There is no guarantee that smoke damage won’t damage a building’s structure, but its contents will undoubtedly be affected. Here’s how different types of smoke damage can affect your possessions:

 

Upholstery, carpets, and curtains

Smoke quickly causes discoloration in smoke-damaged fabrics. It happens after smoke and soot permeate them.

 

Bedding and clothes

Smoke-damaged clothing and smoke-damaged bedding can contain toxic particles as well. When you wear smoke-damaged clothes or sleep in smoke-damaged bedding, you are more likely to breathe poisonous substances.

 

The furniture

There are several ways in which smoke damages wood and metal furniture. In addition to rusting and corroding metal, smoke weakens wood and causes surfaces to change color.

 

The hard surface of the flooring

It can also erode the surface of your home, office, or storefront when smoke seeps into the hardwood flooring and walls. Consequently, you will need to make repairs to your home, office, or storefront.

 

Surfaces with porous hardness

During prolonged exposure to smoke, porous materials like drywall, plaster, wallpaper, and paint can become permanently discolored.

 

Materials such as fiberglass and porcelain

If smoke damage has been left unattended, it’s essential to see if you can salvage porcelain, fiberglass, and appliance surfaces. These surfaces are light-colored, so once smoke damage discolors them, you won’t be able to save them.

 

Appliances made of metallic materials

Soot contaminated with acids can lead to pitting and corroding of metal surfaces, which can be catastrophic for large appliances. It can also cause electrical failure and internal damage to metal surfaces.

 

PVC and plastics

A plastic surface or synthetic can discolor in minutes. These surfaces are also more challenging to clean without using alkaline cleaning solutions.

 

Getting your property back to normal after smoke damage

Even though flames do not directly affect items, smoke still damages them.

 

Getting your property back to normal after smoke damage

 

Different types of smoke damage will result in various kinds of damage on your property based on the temperature and type of fire. Smoke can cause negative consequences depending on the material it comes into contact with, challenging Smoke Damage Restoration. If a grease fire occurs in the kitchen, the cabinets will suffer more damage from smoke than the carpet.

It is possible to restore your property to its pre-loss condition as soon as possible, regardless of where the fire occurred or what type of smoke damage you are experiencing.

The first step is to determine what damages have occurred, which may involve inspecting the affected areas and determining what is salvageable and what does not need salvaging when it is safe. Cleaning and restoring your property may begin as soon as you have a good idea of the extent of the damage.

It is possible to clean yourself of smoke damage if it is minor. Porous materials such as plastic, wood, and marble can become stained and irreversibly damaged within minutes, so wash them as quickly as possible.

In addition to corroding metals and metal structures, smoke can erode pipes and weaken them from extensive smoke damage. When pipes break down, they can result in leaks and water damage.

 

Remember A Few Things Before The Smoke Damage Cleanup Process Yourself.

It is essential to remember a few things before beginning the smoke damage cleanup process yourself. When cleaning up smoke residue, wear protective equipment (PPE) like rubber gloves and safety glasses to avoid injury. Asthma and other respiratory illnesses can deteriorate due to smoke and smoke residue.

We recommend using alkaline-based cleaners to remove soot and smoke particles from plastics. Clean wood furniture with soap made from vegetable oil and warm water. Please do this as a temporary fix until you can clean it properly. Cooking oil is a temporary fix for cleaning metals until a more thorough cleaning is possible.

If you have upholstered furniture, remove soot particles immediately to prevent permanent smoke smells. If smoke smells persist on fabric and materials, they can become permanent. Soot stains can be difficult to remove and might cause your items to look dingy.

If you want to clean upholstered items at home, you should not use brush attachments from your vacuum cleaner. They can embed smoke and soot molecules more deeply into the fabric.

 

The Things You Need to Know Before Calling a Restoration Company

Smoke-damaged ceilings and walls may require professional help to restore them to their original condition.

It is the job of a professional restoration company to assess the damage and devise a cleaning plan for the damage when you call. When you call the company, you will receive an assessment from a professional fire restoration team.

We tailor the procedure to your situation. It’s based on the type of smoke damage you have and the amount and type of materials involved.

Getting an estimate from several companies before deciding on one is a good idea since prices can vary significantly from one company to another. Do your research and find a reputable company with experience dealing with smoke damage. You will know your property is in capable hands once you’ve found a trustworthy company.

Despite the long and complex process of smoke restoration, a professional company can assist in your effort to restore your property. With the proper knowledge and a little help from professionals, you can repair smoke damage quickly and efficiently.

 

When It Comes To Smoke Damage, What Might Be Salvageable?

Smoke damage is more significant when a fire is more intense. Therefore, you may be unable to salvage your property after a fire. Fabrics and soft surfaces are the most damaged, followed by porous materials and upholstery.

Despite this, more complex objects and materials can withstand smoke damage more quickly but are still susceptible to long-term and initial damage.

Professional cleaning services can usually salvage hardwood floors, countertops, and tile structural elements. Dishwasher and oven equipment can also avoid most of the worst damage with professional cleaning services.

Some personal belongings may require a content cleaning service, including:

  • Artwork and photographs
  • The furniture
  • Clothes
  • Books, documents, and other paper materials
  • Computers, televisions, stereos, etc.
  • Decorations and dishes made of ceramics and porcelain
  • Gems, jewelry, and glassware

 

Tips for cleaning smoke damage

Smoke damage, even in small amounts, can threaten health when cleaning. However, following these tips for smoke-damage cleanup should allow you to clean smoke-damaged properties safely.

 

Don’t attempt DIY restoration.

Cleaning smoke damage will cut costs, but the risks outweigh the rewards. Even if you clean mild smoke damage, you may not be able to save your possessions and clean the soot.

Moderate to extreme smoke damage poses excellent health and safety risks. Even if you clean the damage properly, you may miss hidden residues and soot buildup.

 

Make safety a priority.

  • Ensure the area is safe: There should be no structural damage or fire hazards in any rooms. Smoke-damaged areas pose an increased risk of fire and injury.
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE): Protect your skin, eyes, and lungs from soot and other contaminants by wearing gloves, masks, and eye protection.
  • Ventilate the smoke: Whenever you plan to begin cleaning, ensure the doors and windows are open. You should also turn off the HVAC system while cleaning so contaminants aren’t spread throughout the structure. Make sure you replace the filters before the system restarts.

 

Be aware of the timeframe.

According to the IICRC, the most respected organization for inspection, cleaning, and restoration credentials and certifications, follow these time windows:

  • To prevent permanent discoloration, take immediate action on porous materials and synthetics.
  • As long as the damage goes unattended within hours or days of the damage, wood furnishings, floors, painted walls, and clothing can become permanently stained. At the same time, metal surfaces can rust, pit, and corrode, requiring refinishing or replacement.
  • We recommend cleaning the fiber materials within a few weeks. If soot has been exposed to the fibers and surfaces for a long time, it will embed itself into them, causing more extended and expensive restorations with a higher probability of replacement.

 

Inspect appliances and HVAC systems.

Avoiding smoke damage to HVAC systems and electrical appliances and soot residue inside them is always a good idea.

  • Clean HVAC systems. Smoke can enter them. Have your HVAC system cleaned professionally to avoid the recirculation of smoke odors.
  • Replace filters. They capture small smoke. Change your HVAC system’s air filters. Also, consider using HEPA filters.
  • Inspect appliances and lighting. Check your electrical tools and appliances for smoke damage and residue. If they are damaged, take them to a professional cleaner who can remove them.
  • Check electrical systems. Make sure that smoke hasn’t damaged your wiring and components.

 

Damaged and cleaned documents

Photograph smoke-damaged areas before, during, and after you clean them. Keep an inventory of any damaged or destroyed items during the cleanup process.

 

Smoke Damage Restoration FAQs

You may still have questions about smoke damage cleanup and restoration.

 

How Does Smoke Damage Affect Your Home?

Smoke and structural damage pose health risks. They harm your property and belongings. These include:

  • Surfaces with discoloration and damage
  • An odor that won’t go away
  • A space filled with irritants and harmful chemicals
  • Insulation, wood, and drywall weakened.

 

How long does it take for smoke damage to disappear?

If you ignore smoke damage for too long, it will cause further damage to your home and health. You generally cannot restore smoke damage, but it seldom goes away.

 

What is the best way to treat smoke damage?

To treat smoke damage, use a mild soap or detergent. Mix 4-6 tablespoons of trisodium phosphate with one cup of household cleaner or chlorine bleach. When cleaning areas with smoke damage, wear gloves and a face mask.

 

Bottom Line

Smoke Damage Restoration requires preparation, care, and experience, regardless of whether you turn to a professional or tackle the task independently. It is difficult, risky, and time-consuming for the inexperienced.