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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Soot Removal for Wood Surfaces after Fire Damage in Sarasota

4/25/2017 (Permalink)

Every type of wood finish requires a different approach after fire damage. Call SERVPRO to make your floors look great again after a fire.

SERVPRO Technicians Approach Each Type of Wood Surface Differently During the Restoration Process


Wood is one of the trickiest substances to clean and restore after a residential fire. It is a naturally porous material, so it absorbs soot and smoke odors, instead of trapping them on the surface like plastic or metal. Wooden floors, for instance, often require fairly aggressive cleaning and deodorization to bring them back to their original condition.

There are typically two types of wooden surface which repair teams tackle after fire damage in Sarasota homes. They are finished (or treated) and unfinished wood. Each requires a slightly different approach, so it is important for SERVPRO to inspect damaged items before restoration work begins.

Finished (Treated) Wood

Most pieces of wooden furniture in a home are treated or finished in some way. Desks, dressers, cabinets, tables and hallway railings are all usually coated with a protective layer. It makes them less vulnerable to fire and smoke damage, but it does not mean that they are impervious to the effects of high temperatures.

In this case, the best way to remove soot stains is a gentle cleaning agent. It gets carefully worked into the grain of the wood, where it keeps the dirt suspended for easy removal later. The drier and dustier the soot, the easier it is to eliminate. Dry residues are wiped away with a duster or captured with a HEPA vacuum.

Wet, oily stains are more likely to lift with the addition of a wood cleaning formula. In rare cases, the SERVPRO technicians use steel wool to lift stubborn stains. However, this method is only suitable if we can maintain the appearance of the grain. Afterward, the surface goes through a refinishing stage to bring it back to its original shine.

Unfinished Wood

Unfinished surfaces present a bigger challenge because they do not have that protective layer. They are much more susceptible to deep, embedded soot and smoke stains. The good news is that unfinished wood tends to be limited to structural materials and the interior of things like cabinets, dressers, and wardrobes. So, it may not be a very visible problem.

Nevertheless, SERVPRO is committed to restoring all wooden surfaces, whether they are a prominent part of the room or not. The first step is to use a HEPA vacuum or a dry sponge to remove dry soot. Then, we apply a suppression spray to reduce smoky odors. The technicians use a suitable degreasing formula to lift residues off the surface.

Especially stubborn stains may need a more extreme solution. For instance, we can sand smaller patches until the marks are no longer visible. Don’t worry about compromising the aesthetic of the floor or piece of furniture because a concealing finish gets added later. Finally, the space is thermal fogged to drive lingering odors out of the wood and into the atmosphere, where they are captured and neutralized.

At SERVPRO of South Sarasota, we are committed to helping customers bounce back after a residential fire. We provide a local service, so we are ideally placed to assist homeowners in the Sarasota area. Call us 24/7 at (941) 552-6319 today.

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