Fire damage will leave three different types of destruction in your home: water, soot and smoke damage. Depending on the severity of the fire damage you may be able to reclaim some of your valuable possessions.
Our first task is to focus on the water damage. Yes, with a fire will come water damage due to the use of water to put it out. It is crucial anything you want to salvage with water damage that has wood is NOT dried in the sunshine. Why is this? In North Carolina we have strong hot sun rays. This will increase the chance of the wood will drying to quickly causing it to warp and twist. Dry these salvageable items in a ventilated area with open windows, fans and a dehumidifier.
Fire damage will cover all the surfaces with soot, whatever you do DO NOT touch or clean the fabric by rubbing. Follow these three guides to begin the cleaning process.
- Hold the vacuum nozzle over the fabric without touching the surface. If you touch or rub the nozzle on the surface of the soiled upholstery you will press the soot into the fabric.
- Remove as much soot as you can. Vacuum until you can vacuum no more!
- Clean with a mild cleaning solution.
Now what to do about that lingering smoke odor that a house fire leaves in its wake? Getting that campfire smell out of your home is a BIG BIG challenge. Heat will cause materials in the home to expand and be “porous” this allows the smoke to get deep into the fibers. Once the fire is put out and the home has returned to a normal temperature the fibers are cooled and contract trapping smoke deep within.
There are some things you can do yourself to get rid of smoke odor in your salvageable homes textiles.
- Take them to a dry cleaner.
- Soak washables for 24 hours in one cup of dishwasher detergent per gallon of water.
- After a good soaking, launder them as you normal.
- Wiping surfaces down with a mild detergent. This will take a few times to completely clear the soot.
Is the project to daunting? Call RE Davis Builders 910-426-1800.
Roddy Davis is a general contractor who has been rebuilding fire damaged homes for the past 30 years. He has experience in all the processes from bulldozing to insurance claim rebuilding.