Recovering from Smoke Damage
Even small home fires can result in significant smoke damage. Since the particles are so fine, one of the worst ways that smoke causes damage is by infiltrating every nook and cranny of your home. You may not even realize the particles are there, but they will leave a smoke smell that can last for months. The only way to remove the smell from your home is to remove or clean all of the affected items and to clean your home completely with chemicals and equipment designed to remove the smell. Soot and smoke particles are acidic, therefore time is of the essence when it comes to the removal of it. The longer it remains unhindered in your home, the more of a chance it will have to make the items it comes in contact with unsalvageable. That is why it is vitally important to contact professionals immediately to start the process of recovering your home.
So where do you start?
How does a homeowner know what to keep and what to dispose of, or what is able to be salvaged after the damage has been done? It can be overwhelming walking into your own situation to determine these things. Personal attachment, emotional weariness and memories can cloud your vision when it comes to sorting through your affected belongings. When you reach out to experts such as Shrock Restoration, you are gaining the unbiased view of a professional that will be able to quickly determine what items should be cleaned, replaced, or disposed of. The type of fire and the type of materials which have been burned have an effect on what is and is not salvageable, and a smoke damage expert will be invaluable in this time-sensitive first step of clean-up. Timing is absolutely crucial in the remediation of your home after smoke damage has occurred.
The process of cleaning
Curtains & Upholstery – To avoid driving the smoke and soot particles even deeper into your couches and chairs, specialized tools and filters are necessary. A professional is equipped with the correct tools and will know which techniques will be most effective and the least likely to exacerbate the problem.
Clothes & Bedding – Clothing and bedding will absorb smoke like little sponges, even while stored inside of a dresser or a closed closet. Normal laundering may take care of the problem, but depending on the extent of infiltration, commercial cleaning detergents may be necessary in order to completely remove the smoke smell.
Wood – Wooden furniture and wooden floors are porous and can hold smoke particles in places undetectable to the naked eye. If the damage is minimal, special cleaning products may be able to remove the odor, however, refinishing the wood or even a complete replacement may be necessary. A restoration specialty will have the knowledge necessary to determine which steps to take with the wood in your home.
How soon does permanent damage occur?
As mentioned earlier, it is imperative to act quickly when it comes to remediating smoke damage. Porous materials such as drywall and paint will quickly become permanently discolored. The outside of appliances and fiberglass objects, such as a bath or shower enclosure will begin to turn yellow within mere hours if the particles are not removed. Metal surfaces that are left with soot particles will begin to corrode – remember, soot and smoke particles are acidic and acid and metal do not mix well. Plastic and other synthetic surfaces can start to discolor after a few minutes. Porcelain will also absorb smell and become discolored if not cleaned in a timely manner. The longer that soot particles are allowed to remain on fabrics and fibers, such as carpet, the more deeply embedded they will become, making it more difficult to remove later, even to the point of necessitating replacement.
A fire is a devastating thing to go through and the lingering smoke smell is a constant reminder of the loss that you have incurred. Contacting a professional restoration company as soon as possible after the event has occurred is essential in expediting your complete recovery from smoke damage – they will help you get your life back.