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Smoke, soot, odor – it all needs to be dealt with

Even the smallest house fire can leave behind a large amount of devastation. Smoke and water damage has to be cleaned before the real work of restoration can be completed. There will be soot to contend with; chemicals used by firefighters to remove; walls, carpets and furniture will need to be assessed and cleaned, repaired, or removed; clothing and upholstery will need to be recovered where possible. Plus, of course, the acrid smoke odor will need to be removed.

In this article, we look at smoke damage repair after a house fire, with links to articles to help you decide how to deal with each aspect of fire repair and restoration.

How much does smoke damage repair and fire restoration cost?

We tackled this question in our recent article ‘What does it cost to clean up after a fire?’.  In that article, we described the need to act as quickly as possible, before soot and smoke settled and infiltrated furniture walls and carpets, making them impossible to recover. We noted, too, that the cost of cleaning up after a fire – including the smoke damage repair – depends on the extent of the damage caused. The costs could be as little as $2,000 to $3,000, and as much as $100,000 and more.

Smoke damage repair recommendations

When tackling smoke repair damage, it is important to take a systematic approach:

  1. Get the air circulating to prevent further damage
  2. Remove the soot
  3. Remove smoke odor
  4. Clean furnishings
  5. Remove stains from walls
  6. Concentrate on smoke odor

For a more detailed explanation of this process, read our article ‘7 smoke damage restoration tips’.

Beware of health hazards when restoring after smoke damage

One of the by-products of a house fire is soot, and soot comes with a list of health hazards attached, particularly for pregnant women, people suffering respiratory conditions and/or heart problems, children and the elderly. In our article ‘What is the healthiest soot remover to avoid hazards?’, we discussed washing soda as an alternative to chemical soot removers, and the part that experience plays in combating health risks.

You may also wish to discover ‘What is the best soot cleaner to use after a house fire?’.

What should you use to clean smoke damage after a house fire?

To do the best job of cleaning smoke damage after a house fire, it is best to follow what the professionals use. This is a combination of three things:

        I.            Experience

      II.            The right equipment and clothing

    III.            The best cleaning solutions

One of the best smoke damage cleaning solutions is trisodium phosphate (TSP), which is hazardous and must be used with care. Smoke odor can be tackled using household items such as white vinegar, baking soda, and activated charcoal.

To find out more, and how to use these solutions in the process of smoke damage repair, read our article ‘What do professionals use to clean smoke damage from fire?’.

Difficulties encountered during smoke damage repair

You’ll encounter several difficulties when cleaning up after a house fire. Smoke discolors everything it touches, and smoke odors invade almost every item in a home – soft furnishings, textiles, clothes, drapes, carpets, etc. Smoke may also damage air ducts and air conditioning units. Repairing and removing smoke damage is a difficult task, with several methods and strategies that may need to be used.

How can smoke damage be tackled best?

When professionals carry out smoke damage repair, they employ a number of methods to get the job done. These include:

  • Ozone treatments
  • Chemical sealers on drywall, air ducts and flooring
  • Chemical additives to carpets and drapes
  • Restoration strategies to remove soot from floors, walls and ceilings before final restoration and redecoration
  • The use of industrial fans and dehumidifiers to aid ventilation and drying out

Final considerations

While the more damage and larger the area that has been affected by a house fire are the main factors in the cost of restoring your home after a fire, you should consider your insurance policy and how much it will pay.

It is also a certainty that the longer you leave restoration work, the more difficult it will become, and therefore more expensive.

Depending on the severity of the damage caused by fire, the use of professional chemicals and equipment may be unavoidable. If this is the case, it is best to leave the job to the professionals.

If you are the victim of a fire in NJ, contact Porter’s Cleaning. We’ll be happy to provide an estimate for the clean-up, and to provide the personal and bespoke restoration your home deserves.

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