Frances Badayos | author
ICHQ | Site Author
When fire roars through a home or business, most people think about the fire damage left in its wake. However, smoke damage can be just as — if not more — destructive.
Insurance Claim HQ’s fire damage claim attorneys serve the New Orleans area and the state of Louisiana, helping victims of smoke damage like you get the most out of your insurance. That way, you can keep moving forward and rebuild even after this devastating hurdle in your path.
Everything You Need To Know About Smoke Damage
When you are dealing with repairing smoke damage, it’s helpful to know what it involves. Smoke damage can be a complex matter, and knowing the ins and outs can give you a better standing when you face your insurance company.
Smoke damage refers to any physical or structural harm to a building, whether a business or home, caused by smoke rather than fire. Damage happens when smoke coats objects within a room or the room itself with soot, causing stains and a stench to seep into the material.
Soot and smoke can also be surprisingly greasy. It’s not usually a light dust sprinkled over your home. If you leave soot and smoke for too long, it can seep into porous materials like wood or fabric and even begin to erode metal.
Unfortunately, smoke can get into any open space, including pipes, wiring, and any small gaps you may have in your walls. That makes clean-up a tedious and extremely difficult process. Sometimes, there are things you can’t save or restore at all.
What can smoke usually damage?
Before you start seeking smoke damage restoration, you have to understand what smoke can damage in the first place.
Smoke can damage anything it touches. However, some household items and areas are at higher risk than others.
- Porous materials like carpets and clothing can absorb toxic smoke and soot.
- Walls and floors may sustain visible damage like blackening or staining.
- Hard-to-reach areas like unsealed gaps in the wall or flooring under appliances can hold onto smoke for a long time.
In addition, smoke can seriously threaten the health of residents, and smoke damage isn’t much better. Even without an active fire, smoke damage can cause lung problems, skin irritation, and even carbon monoxide-related health scares.
What Are the Types of Smoke?
Knowing the type of smoke your fire produced can help you determine what path to take when you start looking into repairing smoke damage in your home or business.
There are four major types of smoke:
- Wet smoke tends to come from burnt rubber or plastic and is a result of low-heat and smoldering flames. This smoke is thick, black, and greasy, making it extremely hard to clean up.
- Dry smoke stems from high-temperature and fast-spreading fires that usually start with paper or wood. They result in powdery residue that can find its way into every nook and cranny.
- Fuel smoke comes from burning oil, petroleum, or other fuel sources. It has a thick and sticky residue that destroys porous material. The fires that cause this type of smoke are most common in warehouses and garages.
- Protein smoke comes from burning organic material. It’s uniquely hard to manage because it doesn’t leave many visible traces behind, but it still lingers and causes discoloration and material damage.
Getting Professional Repairs for Smoke Damage
If you’re wondering how to repair smoke damage in a house, the answer is that you should be calling in the professionals. No matter what type of smoke damage you’re dealing with, experts are going to be better equipped to handle it.
Professionals have training in proper cleaning techniques. They can provide deep cleaning services that go well beyond the surface. They have tools, equipment, and access to industrial-grade cleaners that let them treat both visible and unseen damage.
Repair specialists focus on:
- Getting rid of the smoke odor
- Cleaning all of the places you can’t see
- Ensuring that your wiring is in good working order
- Cleaning all visible damage
- Being upfront about things they can’t save
However, not even the experts can revive every single smoke-damaged item in a house despite their best efforts.
Deciding When To Replace Items
Repairing smoke damage is possible in many situations, but there are some cases where it’s best to call something a lost cause and replace it if you can.
Several things will affect the number of items and the parts of your building that you can salvage. This includes the intensity of the fire itself, how far it spread, and how long it took you to get professional help to salvage your home or business.
Unfortunately, the hotter the flame, the thicker the smoke, and the longer you wait to call in professionals, the higher your chances are of losing something precious. The smoke type can also make something harder to save, with dry and protein smoke having a weaker impact.
Fortunately, most hard surfaces like floors and walls are salvageable with the right cleaning. However, soft and porous items are always at the highest risk of permanent smoke damage. This can include:
Despite the best efforts of home and business owners and professional cleaners, it’s not uncommon to lose items made of softer, natural fibers or porous builds. People unfortunately often find themselves having to discard heirloom blankets, baby clothes, paintings, sentimental jewelry, and other precious belongings.
In addition to the pain of losing sentimental and meaningful items, the loss of so many things can put a serious strain on your wallet. After all, you most likely bought your furniture and clothing throughout the years, with the total tab resulting in thousands of dollars worth of purchases. How can you replace them all at once?
Insurance Coverage for Smoke Damage Restoration
Smoke damage restoration coverage will depend on your unique homeowners insurance policy, but it’s widely considered a basic risk for insurance to cover. These policies typically cover professional cleaning services after a fire, as well as the replacement of items damaged irreparably by smoke.
Many policies cover not only smoke from a fire in your own home but smoke from a neighbor’s fire as well because smoke travels farther and faster than flames.
Make sure you check your homeowners insurance policy closely to see what the stance on smoke damage is, in addition to the fire policy.
Get Help With Making a Smoke Damage Claim
The last thing you want to do when you’re already worried about repairing smoke damage is have to deal with insurance companies during a claims case. They’re going to want documented evidence and proof supporting any claim you make, which takes time and effort on your part.
This is where Insurance Claim HQ comes in. We can handle dealing with your insurance company and walk you through the process of filing a claim. We’ll guide you from start to finish, leaving you with the time and space you need to focus on the more important, personal steps of recovering from a fire.
Don’t let the chance to gain compensation for smoke damage slip through your fingers. If your business or home has suffered from a fire resulting in smoke damage, contact our home insurance claim lawyers by phone or online to learn more about your options.