How to Deal with Home Fire Damage
Having even a small fire in your home can create significant damage. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) states that about 40 percent of home fires begin in the kitchen. Space heaters come in second. Electrical fires, candles, and cigarettes finish the top five causes of home fire damage.
The amount of damage to your home from even a small fire depends on the type of fuel the fire feeds on. A fire that burns mostly wood will leave smoke damage, even in areas untouched by the fire. If the fire involves any oils, a sooty film can spread throughout your home.
You can normally clean curtains and draperies, along with small throw pillows and furniture covers to remove both smoke and soot. If the fire does not spread an oily film, you can probably clean your walls and ceilings with a mild detergent.
Unfortunately, many small fires leave behind oily soot that will not wash away easily. In order to restore your walls and ceiling, the exposed areas will need to be cleaned professionally. Then, depending on the extent of the soot, the areas will require repainting. The best results will come from using a quality primer to seal and prepare the surfaces properly.
Many household items, including books, cannot be cleaned with water. However, you can salvage many items if they were only exposed to smoke. Activated charcoal is an excellent deodorizer. Place one or two books or other items in a large plastic bag. Add a few pieces of charcoal and close the bag. This may take a few days, but the unpleasant odor will be absorbed by the charcoal.
In many small fires, the flooring in the area will have damage. With a kitchen fire, hot grease can splatter onto the floor, creating a discoloration on most surfaces. If you have ceramic tile, it can normally be cleaned without excess effort. Hardwood flooring can also be durable but may require sanding and refinishing.
Laminates and vinyl tile will suffer the most damage. The heat from the oil or fire discolors and may melt the material. In many cases, only the damaged portion will require replacement, if a matching pattern is available. As long as the fire did not contact the flooring, the underlying sub-floor should be in good condition.
Carpet areas that are exposed to fire will need to be replaced. The padding underneath will probably require replacement, especially if it was exposed to heat or water. If the carpeting was only exposed to smoke, a good professional cleaning may restore it.
Water Damage and Structural Problems
Unless you were able to contain and extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher, you will likely also have water damage. All areas that were exposed to water will require cleaning. Many of these areas can require professional restoration or water removal.
The water needs to be cleaned up quickly to prevent mold. Complete drying includes the areas under your flooring, behind drywall and above the ceiling. If drywall was exposed to a large amount of water, it should be replaced to prevent crumbling.
Structural issues can also occur when either the fire or water damage the interior studs, rafters, or sub-flooring in your home.
After a fire, make sure you have a company you can count on to help restore your home. You can count on Professional Restoration to Respond, Recover and Restore your home and life back to order. If you’ve experienced fire and smoke damage call on our experienced team to schedule a free estimate 303-922-4001.