A house fire is a traumatic experience that results in physical damage to one's property. Apart from the fire damage, smoke also causes damage. In many cases, the damage calls for professional help, although someone who knows the basics of smoke damage remediation can often handle smaller jobs on their own. In a fire, smoke will move to cooler areas, and will also enter small crevices and holes around the plumbing. This leaves different types of smoke residue, even inside the walls of the home. Smoke damage remediation cleans away this residue and eliminates the odors it causes.
Before considering any repairs, look at the extent of the damage and determine if you have the necessary skills to complete the job. If the job is too large and overwhelming, you may require the assistance of a professional. There are fire restoration companies that will inspect the property and recommend the items that can be refurbished, as well as providing an estimate for the cost of cleaning and deodorizing the entire structure.
Even if you plan to call a professional restorer, you can start the smoke damage remediation yourself so that the damage is minimal. Start by checking with the fire department to make sure it is safe to enter the property. Open any closed windows so that the air starts circulating immediately, allowing some of the heavier smoke odors to air out before remediation begins.
Removing Soot and Debris
If the fire was slow burning or smoldering, the smoke residue will be wet and sticky with a pungent odor. A fast burning fire will leave soot that is dry and will smear less, although moisture from fire hoses will usually cause you to still end up with wet soot. This type of soot will have an oily texture and will stain everything in the house, especially textiles, carpets and all other cloth furnishings.
Soot removal requires heavy duty vacuuming, typically with an industrial strength shop-vac. If you are planning to do it yourself, remember to hold the nozzle of the vacuum slightly away from the surface, so soot can be sucked up without getting smeared. Any form of brushing will drive the soot even deeper into the fabric. Cover each area as it is cleaned, so that it does not get dirty again during other clean up jobs.
Smoke Odor Removal
One of the most difficult aspects of smoke damage remediation is getting rid of the smoke odor. The odor has a tendency to linger in fabrics and furnishings, and therefore they need to be deodorized after cleaning. This will require professional help, but this will include a consultation on the different types of chemical substances that can be used to break down the smoke molecules.
Another method applied for getting rid of smoke odor is ozone treatment. In this treatment the affected items are kept in an enclosure, while an ozone generator is running inside. This will help eliminate the particles that are the source of the smell.
There are also special paints that can be purchased to seal away the source of smoke odors. These paints are specially formulated for homes that have suffered fire damage. Not only do they look nice, but they also create a barrier that smoke smells can not penetrate.
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