Handling Smoke Damage after a Fire

Getting Soot and Smoke Out

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke… and smoke damage. You may think you can wait to clean the soot while you address other, more pressing issues. The truth is though that leaving the soot only causes more damage.

Soot damage begins almost immediately and continues to worsen over time.

Spreading soot stain

Within minutes, appliances and accouterments begin to discolor. The discoloration of marble and other porous materials may be permanent.

Not long after, grout, fiberglass, and countertops start to stain. Furniture also begins to discolor and become yellow. Some metals could tarnish.

If soot is left for a few days, it causes metals to corrode and rust. It ruins vinyl flooring. It destroys the finish on wood furniture. It yellows the walls.

Let it sit for a few weeks and you are looking at replacing carpeting, glass, china, crystal, and silver.

Hidden damage

The damage isn’t limited to areas you can see.

During a fire, soot and odors are pushed deep into walls, insulation, and furniture. The force behind the fire drives the smoke, soot, and smells so deep into the pores of materials throughout your home, they can often only be removed professionally.

Not only can this hidden soot continue to cause damage to your home, but it can also cause respiratory problems for you and your family. Smoke carries toxins from melted plastic, burned wood, and scorched upholstery into the deep recesses of your home. Until this is professionally removed, it can cause respiratory infections, allergies, and potentially even lung disease.

Water and soot: a messy mix

The water used to put out the fire makes the soot problem worse. It gives the soot an oily stickiness, making it harder to remove. It also increases the damage the soot causes. So it’s both harder to remove it and more important to get it done… quickly and completely.

In addition, touching affected items with bare hands can increase the damage to those items. And just as you can breathe in residual toxins from embedded soot, you can also absorb toxins through your skin. If touching damaged items is unavoidable, it is important to wear gloves.

Clean up is possible

So when soot happens, don’t wait. Contact us right away. We work with all insurance companies to get your home cleaned up and back to normal as soon as possible.

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