What Is Considered Smoke Damage? The Basic Definition
Fire damage is one of the most devastating types of home damage that’s also difficult to remediate. However, smoke leaves a nasty mark on damaged homes as well.
Smoke damage is a combination of smoke and soot. It can destroy prized possessions and ruin the home’s air quality.
Are you recovering from a house fire and wondering if your home has smoke damage? Read on to learn what our company of experts at All Dry USA count as severe fume damage and how it can affect a house and the health of its residents. We also address how a professional restoration service can clean smoke damage to your home to avoid permanent effects.
What Is Considered Smoke Damage?
Smoke damage is any physical or structural harm caused by smoke, not the fire itself. Smoke doesn’t destroy a room, objects, or property the way fire does, but it can still cause devastating results. Some effects may include coating items in soot or a persistent odor, but it can also take other forms.
Many don’t realize how greasy smoke and soot can be. When it settles on precious items, it can make them highly unpleasant to touch. It is especially detrimental to fabric items and furniture.
Soot and smoke particles can also impact porous materials like wood or clothing or even erode materials like metal if left for too long without getting the damaged items cleaned by a professional.
All this doesn’t include how difficult soot and smoke are to clean. It can also affect even the narrowest areas, including wiring, pipes, or any small wall gaps.
Most Common Types of Smoke Damage
We all know the cause of smoke damage is fire, but did you know the type of fire involved can affect the results? The smoke and soot produced will behave differently depending on how the fire originated.
The most common causes of fires in homes and businesses include electrical faults, smoking, cooking, and accidental fires. However, you may experience specific damage due to the following categories of fire smoke:
This term refers to fumes from low-heat, smoldering flames, particularly from burnt rubber or plastic products. They give off a distinctly unpleasant burnt plastic smell.
These plumes are also thick and black, making them perfect candidates for damaging your property. If left for too long, they can also cause metal items to rust and corrode. This type is also especially greasy, making cleanup even more difficult.
If you attempt to clean up by yourself, good luck. It’s frustrating and stubborn. Leave it to the experts.
This type refers to the fumes produced from burning organic matter. It is most commonly present during haphazard kitchen endeavors.
This kind is tough to tackle as it’s largely invisible. There’s no big black stain nor any greasy smears along your unpainted or painted walls. The only tell-tale signs are paint discoloration and a pungent aroma.
Fuel smoke arises from burnt petroleum, oil, or something similar. It’s less likely that you will encounter this form inside a home or business. This kind of fume damage from oil is more common in garages or warehouses that store petroleum.
It’s one of the most foul-smelling types and is especially difficult to clean. Any fabric it touches is likely irreparable. Once settled, the residue is thick and sticky, meaning it attaches itself to just about any surface available. Without expert assistance, it’s a true nightmare.
Dry smoke caused by high-temperature fires can spread quickly throughout properties. They often result from paper or wood, which is why they’re so often associated with home fires. The residue left behind on smoke-damaged items is powdery instead of sticky, making it comparatively easier to clean up.
However, this powdery composition is also its biggest drawback. It can fit into even the narrowest spaces in a room, wreaking havoc on your home structurally. It can also destroy your wiring, potentially leading to prolonged electrical damage in the home. Luckily, the odor isn’t strong, and an expert team wouldn’t struggle to perform an effective cleanup.
Read more: Does insurance typically cover smoke damage?
How Smoke Can Damage Your Home
The effects of smoke can damage both the walls and the furniture of a home. The type of smoke and the intensity of the fire will determine what kind of damage you’re facing.
It can negatively impact porous surfaces, like furniture, carpets, curtains, or even clothing. The particles and odor can get caught in the soft surfaces, requiring professional cleaning.
Additionally, walls and floors can sustain visible and invisible damage, such as black walls and a lingering smell.
Health Risks of a Smoke Particles in the Home
Some of the most dangerous health risks from the effects of smoke include:
- Lung problems: Especially for those with asthma or other issues with the lungs, caused by soot particles or carbon monoxide released from a fire.
- Skin problems: A smoke-damaged house may cause skin issues such as rashes and itchiness.
- Carbon monoxide health problems: This gas may also cause headaches, dizziness, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Read more: Painting over smoke damage
Can Smoke Damage Be Removed?
Yes, in some cases, but only if you call in the experts quickly. Our team at All Dry USA has the tools necessary for effective fire and smoke damage removal. We can remove visible signs and any unpleasant odors left behind by fire smoke particles.
There are plenty of ways to clean smoke damage yourself, but you’re usually only removing the visible signs. Only experts can offer total removal through their expert cleaning. No matter what Google might tell you, vinegar and hot water is not a cleaning cure-all.
If you wait too long, however, you may suffer permanent damage. For example, soot can damage a carpet permanently if not treated immediately. Act quickly for best results.
How Do You Remove Smoke Stains?
While it might be highly tempting to grab a sponge and get to work cleaning your damage, you will not see most of the damage. You might think you’ve done a sterling job, and to the untrained eye, you have! But actual damage goes beyond what is noticeable on painted walls and furniture and requires professional-level cleaning, not just a sponge.
Unseen damage can also include porous materials and surfaces like furniture upholstery, curtains, and other areas you may not see immediately. Unsealed wood can also capture smoke particles and soot beneath the surface and requires dry chemical sponges to prevent soot from seeping too deep into these types of materials. Even items like clothing hanging up in closets or laid out in the home can sustain damage depending on the type of smoke.
You may find the black marks have gone, but the odor remains, or your wiring has become damaged without your knowledge. Neither of these instances is ideal.
Repair specialists trained to clean smoke damage and remove the smell of smoke use expert techniques to get to the root of the damage—no more smell, no more unsightly discoloration. Most importantly, it’s peace of mind for the property owner. It goes beyond a cleaning service and into house restoration for permanent results.
Act Fast to Clean Smoke and Soot
When an emergency strikes, you must act quickly to find a smoke damage restoration company.
If you wait too long, soot particles can begin to set into soft materials, making them hard to get out. Additionally, metal surfaces can begin to rot and rust. To avoid permanent damage, find a restoration company that offers cleaning services 24/7 for emergency response.
What Can I Salvage?
What you’re able to salvage will depend on the intensity of the flames, though some belongings may be permanently damaged.
Soft surfaces may have the most challenging time bouncing back, as fires can often affect them the most. Items such as carpet, clothing, curtains, and other porous materials like upholstery might not be salvageable. With proper cleaning, most hard materials such as walls and floors are.
All Dry USA is available at all hours that can come in with a cleanup service to restore your smoke-damaged items.
Contact the Experts
If you suspect your home or business has smoke damage following a fire, contact All Dry USA today for emergency cleaning! We’re company experts in fire damage restoration with over a decade of experience behind us. We can determine the best techniques to restore your home to its pre-fire state.
If there’s fire, there’s smoke, and that’s when you need emergency cleanup service. Our fire restoration services operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you know we’ll be there when you need us! Call today.