If you insist on handling your own smoke and fire damage, take quick action and use the right things to counteract and clean away what remains after a fire.
We’re sorry for your loss. Not enough people say that. And we hope you choose to leave most smoke damage restoration to professionals. That saves you a world of hassles, and many cost are covered by insurance. But if there’s some part of the smoke damage restoration process you’d like to handle yourself, we have some advice for you.
Good Preparation and Planning Will Help With Smoke Damage Restoration
One common issue after a fire is smoke damage from soot. Soot is very simply the residue that smoke in a confined space leaves behind. It can be on walls, ceilings and just about anywhere, and ordinary household cleaners won’t clean it away. To tackle the problem yourself, you’ll need several things, including:
• a special cleaner called TSP, which stands for trisodium phosphate
• an oversized sponge like you might use for washing a car
• two different buckets
• lots of warm to hot water
• heavy-duty gloves
• plenty of rags
• safety glasses or goggles
Never use TSP without gloves. Use only about a tablespoon of the cleaner per gallon of water. Wipe it on the area impacted, then wash it away soon after using your sponge dipped in clean water from the other bucket. Wash and rinse the entire area and see how the results look. Remember that saturating walls with this solution can cause additional damage, so apply liberally but don’t over-apply.
How long the cleaning process takes depends on the extent of the soot and smoke damage and how large an area is covered. Keep in mind that if an area is charred, the paint or other material has actually been burned away and cannot be restored by cleaning.
You may notice bubbling and blistering caused by the excessive heat on the paint and ceiling tiles. This kind of damage also can’t be undone and must be repaired.
Do It Yourself Smoke Damage Repair
To repair bubbling or blistering, you will need:
• a good putty knife
• a trusted brand of spackle
• fine-grit sandpaper
• primer paint
• paint that matches the damaged area
The process is simple: scrape away the blistering or bubbling with the knife, then sand the area until it is as flat as possible. If there’s an indentation, imperfection or any missing drywall, use spackle to repair it. When the spackle has dried, resand the area until the spackle has blended smooth with the drywall.
Then, prime the area and paint it. Using primer will ensure the smoothest finish and one that matches the original professional paint job in your home or office.
You can get rid of smoke odors by washing walls and all surfaces with a solution of vinegar or baking soda or perhaps with the commercial product Febreeze. But truthfully, the smell is what is likely to linger longest after fire and smoke damage if you don’t use a professional restoration service. Professional fire and smoke damage restorers can use ozonation and many other processes to actually break up smoke particles and make smells go away.
There’s a lot to do after a fire, and dealing with your own restoration doesn’t have to be on that list. Instead, you can leave the restoration to experts so you can get on with something else.
For fire damage and smoke damage restoration in the San Diego area, you can’t do better than our team at Orange Restoration. Please call us in early so we can save as much of your home or office building as possible — and save your possessions from the rapid and continuing ravages of smoke, ash and soot – (619) 432-3381.