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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Fire Damage Factors Involved in Cleaning

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

Cleanup Post Fire May Included Many Specifics for Success

Many homeowners think about a house fire, and the picture that comes to mind is flames exploding out of their windows and up through their roofs. What many of them don't realize is that the actual flames are usually located in just one room (frequently the kitchen) and quickly put out by a home sprinkler system, foam fire extinguisher, or members of the fire department.

Fire damage to Lynwood homes is primarily from the accompanying smoke rather than the heat itself. SERVPRO inspectors and technicians have seven factors that our inspectors and technicians consider to determine how difficult it will be to clean items of smoke residue and restore them to their original state.

1) Type of Surface - A porous surface (flat latex paint or paper wall covering) lets smoke and odor penetrate more easily and is difficult to clean. A non-porous surface (enamel paint or vinyl wall covering) resists smoke and odors and is much easier to clean. For fabrics, synthetic fibers are easier to clean than natural fabrics, but they attract more smoke residue.

2) Age of Surface - The older an item is, the more difficult it is to clean. This applies to carpets and fabrics as well as paint. Even enamel paint becomes more porous as it ages.

3) The amount of Heat - High temperatures cause surfaces to expand, which makes them more porous. This expansion allows smoke residue and odor to more easily penetrate them. If the heat melts or bubbles a finish, then no amount of cleaning will restore them.

4) Amount of Moisture - If sprinklers were activated or firefighters had to soak down a room, the water left standing can combine with smoke damage to permanently yellow surfaces

5) Type of Material Burned - Synthetic materials like plastic and rubber leave a wet, 'greasy' type of soot residue. This is harder to clean than natural materials such as wood that leave a dry, powder-like residue that is easier to clean even if it becomes wet.

6) Air Pressure and Impingement - Heated air expands and circulates faster through a structure. This forces smoke residue farther into cracks and crevices, making cleaning more difficult. It also drives smoke into surfaces with greater speed, pitting and damaging them.

7) Temperature Change - Depending on the material burned, some smoke residues may contain hot oils. If they are cooled very quickly, the residue may form a film that adheres to a surface which is very difficult to clean.

Regardless of the extent of the damage, we do our best to serve our community. SERVPRO of Chicago Heights / Crete / Beecher understands that these are our neighbors and we do everything we can to help them restore their homes and property to their original state if we can. If you need our services or even just have a question about our training and equipment, call us today at (708) 672-0077.

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