No matter what the size of the fire, smoke damage will travel swiftly throughout a property and even the smallest fires can cause considerable damage. Smoke damage can range from just cosmetic to damage that runs much deeper.
As properties become pressurised during a fire, smoke can often affect hard to reach places, such as wall and floor voids, and piping conduits.
After a fire, the air will inevitably cool causing soot particulates to fall. If it were an oxygen starved fire this would create a black dusty substance across floors, walls, ceilings, and contents. If oxygen rich, then the fire would create a hard greasy residue across the same area. Sometimes this black smoke residue is difficult to notice until a surface is touched.
Further problems can arise if the substance becomes wet, as stains and acid erosion can appear on surfaces and stainless-steel appliances. This acid erosion can occur swiftly following a fire if water was used to extinguish.
Cleaning Smoke Damage
Cleaning of a property after smoke damage needs to be thorough yet cautious. Applying the correct PPE for the type of fire being dealt with is industry standard. Too much scrubbing of some surfaces could grind-in the soot particles by mistake resulting in materials having to be replaced. It is important that the correct techniques are used on the correct surfaces.
Patch work is often required, as some surfaces may appear untouched while others show clear signs of damage. A mixture of dry and wet cleaning techniques should be used. Often, soot is first removed using a Hepa filtered vacuum cleaner. The surface is then either dry cleaned with a chemical sponge, or wet cleaned, dependant on the level of contamination and material being works on.
Valuable items such as jewellery may need to be handled by a specialist cleaner. Soot particles are often acidic and could cause metals to corrode in a short period of time. Neutralising precious metals and triaged metal appliances soon after a fire with an alkaline solution will allow for these types of items to be fully restored.
And what about the smell?
Smoke damage can leave an appalling odour in a property. The range of materials inside a home or business can release toxic gases and residues when they are burned. Extensive cleansing is required to remove stubborn smoke odour from a property and all its voids and hidden areas.
If the damage is minimal and you are not making an insurance claim, there are household staples that can be useful when trying to rid your property of smoke odour. Although professional restoration is always recommended.
Unlike many air fresheners that simply mask the smell, baking soda absorbs the odor. Leave small bowls of baking soda around the room for at least 24 hours to help purge the nasty smell.
Smoke molecules have a high PH. The low-PH of white vinegar neutralises to reduce the smoke odor. Leave small bowls of white vinegar around the room overnight to help remove an unpleasant smoke smell.
It may seem like you are replacing once odour for another. Don’t worry, the white vinegar stench will dissipate once the bowls are removed.
Beware of Health Hazards
If your property has been affected by fire or smoke, we always recommend seeking professional help. There are numerous health hazards in a property following a fire, most especially soot. Loose soot particles are toxic and can cause respiratory issue if inhaled or ingested. Those with pre-existing breathing problems, infants and the elderly are often worst affected.
Therefore, it is always important to follow advice of the emergency services following a fire and only reenter the property if it is safe to do so.
Fire and Smoke Damage Insurance Claims
You should inform your insurance company of the damage as soon as you are able.
If your claim is complex or of a significant value, a Loss Adjuster may be appointed by your insurer if your claim. The Loss Adjuster works on behalf of the insurer, assessing the damage and suggesting a value for settlement.
The settlement can only be agreed upon within the terms of your insurance policy. It is therefore important to read your insurance documentation.
If you are struggling to manage your claim, or simply do not have time to deal with all the elements and insurance claim brings, Aspray are here to help.
How Aspray can help with smoke damage insurance claims
Aspray has been helping people with fire and smoke damage claims, of all sizes, for many years. We understand the emotional impact that a fire can have. This is why we address each claim with the utmost sincerity, attention to detail, and sensitivity.
For many reasons, including those mentioned above, fire and smoke damage insurance claims can be complex in their nature. Many distinct aspects of cleaning, reinstatement and decorating must be accounted for.
Our care and attention, as well as our expert knowledge in property, are reasons why so many choose Aspray to manage their smoke damage claim.
Destroyed by Fire. Reinstated by Aspray
When a 3-bedroom house in Northampton caught fire, the tenant just managed to make a lucky escape. After fire fighters bravely tackled the blaze, the property was left in a destroyed state. The first floor suffered most of the damage as smoke and soot damage covered every surface.
Thankfully, the landlord contacted Aspray for help with their insurance claim.
Our loss assessor, Kylie, scoped the extensive damage and negotiated the settlement directly with the landlord’s insurer. Once agreed, damage restoration could begin.
Extensive strip-out works were carried out across the first floor before the cleaning process could begin. Kylie instructed a fire restoration company to ensure that the damage was professionally handled. Unfortunately, the smell caused by smoke was so intense the contamination cleaning had to be repeated several times to ensure all odours were eliminated.
The landlord was delighted with the reinstatement works, saying: “Kylie was second to none. 10/10 for the service.”
Check out more of our fire and smoke damage insurance claim case studies below.