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How Does Smoke Damage A Home’s Interior?

by Allied / Monday, 10 August 2020 / Published in Fire Damage Restoration

Fire can bring visible and irreversible damage to one’s property. What’s even worse is that once the fire is gone, you are left to deal with the harmful nuisance, which is smoke damage. Regardless of the size of the fire, smoke damage can affect the entire home. This can get into vents, stick on walls, and even find its way into hard-to-reach places inside the house. Removing residue from smoke damage is just as important as repairing the physical damage brought about by the fire. Furthermore, it is unsafe to live right away inside a house with smoke damage, even if all the smoke is cleared away. This is why it’s crucial to have an fire damage expert thoroughly assess and check the property after a fire.

What Is Smoke Damage And How It Can Affect Your Home?

Smoke damage is more than just the smell and stain left after a fire. Toxic ingredients that are both visible and invisible can be harmful to people and pets. Additionally, smoke damage also contains acidic compounds that corrode metals and etch glass. These toxic gasses and fine particles produced by the fire can easily get into closets and drawers. It can also settle in cooler areas such as behind drapes or blinds, as well as inside walls and other crevices.

To determine the right steps to take in dealing with smoke damage, an understanding of how the damage progresses is needed. Here are a few points to remember:

  • In just a matter of minutes, smoke can cause permanent discoloration of many porous items. This includes marble and alabaster as well as plastics that are commonly used in appliances.
  • Within a few hours, metal tarnishes and corrodes. This affects the insides of most appliances and other electronic gadgets. Stains left on walls and clothing becomes permanent. The same stains can also be found in bathroom fixtures and grout between tiles. Moreover, wooden furniture may require refinishing, and the flooring may need to be refinished or replaced.
  • As days pass, fibers in synthetic carpets turn yellow and become permanent. At this point, it may be impossible to remove the stain caused by smoke damage. Silverware becomes irreparably corroded. Additionally, glass and crystal become etched.

How To Treat Smoke Damage?

The cleanup of smoke damage and soot is time-sensitive. Proper ventilation, debris removal, and odor-neutralizing efforts are critical to saving as many belongings as possible. Here are some of the essential steps that you need to take in treating smoke damage in case it’s past the point of preventing fire and smoke damage entirely.

Curtains and Upholstery

Treating smoke damage from curtains and upholstery requires special techniques and tools. Using regular vacuum cleaners is highly discouraged since this can do further damage. Standard brushes can push soot and smoke particles further into the material. The ideal step to take is to seek a professional’s advice to do the task for you.

Clothes and Beddings

Smoke damage on clothes and beddings cannot be easily spotted. Even if these items are kept inside closets and drawers, smoke from a fire can still seep in. Unique washing methods using commercial detergents and other specialized cleaning agents may be required to eliminate the odor.

Wooden Furniture

Another tricky part is treating wooden furniture. The heat from the fire mixed with increased humidity opens up the pores in wood furniture, allowing smoke to seep in. These pores close up upon returning to its original condition, trapping smoke particles and other toxins. Using the incorrect cleaning agent will only strip away varnish and stain. Seeking help from a restoration specialist is critical at this point.

Hardwood Flooring

During a fire, hardwood flooring often gets water damage and requires replacement. On the other hand, in some cases where water damage is absent, there is always smoke damage that needs to be dealt with. Resurfacing and deodorizing can salvage your hardwood floors.

Hard Porous Surfaces

Drywall, paint, wallpaper, plaster as well as exposed wood are just some examples of hard porous surfaces. These surfaces can become easily discolored because of smoke damage. Using chemical sponges or dry cleaning sponges is the most appropriate tool to initially clean porous surfaces.

Metal Surfaces

Smoke particles and soot are acidic and can corrode metal surfaces if left untreated. Most home appliances and electronic gadgets around the home have metal surfaces. One quick and easy way to prevent this from happening is by wiping metal surfaces with cooking oil. This will help against rusting and permanent staining.

Plastic and Other PVC Surfaces

Another common material that is found in most items inside a home are plastics and PVCs. However, unlike metal, plastics and PVCs absorb more smoke particles and soot, which can produce discoloration in just a matter of minutes. To avoid this, immediate action must be taken. A mild alkali solution can be used as a cleaning agent for plastic and other synthetic surfaces.

Porcelain

For materials made from porcelain such as bathtubs and basins, immediate cleaning can prevent permanent damage or staining.

Cleaning Smoke Damage Beyond the Surface

Aside from treating smoke damage that has affected your belongings, a thorough cleaning regime to neutralize harmful compounds and other chemicals is needed. Smoke particles and soot that linger can damage the health of everyone staying inside the house. The use of ozone generators can help get rid of the remaining soot and odor. Getting treatment for smoke damage and removing further smoke contamination isn’t only good for your home, but also for your health.

When dealing with smoke damage, the sooner it is treated, the less possibility of incurring permanent damage to your belongings. The longer smoke damage is left untreated, the more extensive the damage will become, and the cost to mitigate will continue to rise. To deal with such incidents, making sure you have the proper know-how about smoke damage is critical. Although you can clean initial portions of your home, calling a professional is vital in cases of extensive devastation. Professional restoration services can access and treat the interior and exterior of your home at a deeper level. Moreover, seeking professionals’ help to treat smoke damage immediately can make all the difference you need. In many cases it is very likely that insurance will cover smoke damage repair.

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