Though different from fire damage, smoke can damage your walls, causing long-term issues that require professional attention. It’s why the first 24 hours after a fire are so critical. Removing smoke damage from your home should be the very next step after extinguishing the fire.
Of course, that’s why you’re reading this blog. You likely suspect — or have already detected — smoke in your home, whether from a fire, a cooking mishap, or something else. You’ve identified the problem, and you’re looking for the solution.
You’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about smoke damage on walls and how to remediate it.
What are the Signs of Smoke Damage?
Smoke damage can live right under your nose if you don’t know what to look for, so knowing the signs is essential to remediating the damage. There are four primary signs of smoke damage to pay attention to after a fire.
- There’s an odor that won’t go away – Smoke comes with a strong smell that won’t go away on its own. It can linger for months if not taken care of due to how the smoke particles can seep into the tiniest places. That smoke smell will stay there for as long as the particles are there.
- There are areas with rust and corrosion – The contents of the smoke damage depend on the cause of the fire. A kitchen fire will contain different materials than a candle that lit your curtains on fire. It’s common to find acids and other toxic materials in smoke damage.
Unfortunately, that smoke floats through the air, traveling to areas where the fire didn’t go, making it difficult to rid your home of smoke damage completely.
Smoke can carry moisture with it, affecting the metal in your home. Because of this, rust or corrosion may develop in your home. Your furniture, appliances, and electronics are the most likely victims, so keep a close eye on them.
- There’s damage to your flooring – Smoke can seep into the cracks in your wood tiles and flooring and attach itself to the fibers in your carpet. While smoke naturally rises, it gets pushed back down from the ceiling to the floor. Smoke will rust flooring materials such as nails, screws, and fasteners, damaging your floors.
- There are smoke stains – Smoke quickly leaves stains behind, making it a telltale sign to watch out for. Stains could appear on your walls, your window curtains, and your carpets, not to mention wallpapers, backsplashes, and ceilings. And the stains won’t go away until they’re remediated.
How Do I Test My Walls for Smoke Damage?
The best way to detect smoke damage on walls is to conduct a chemical sponge test on the area where you notice the damage. A chemical sponge is made of vulcanized rubber with tiny pores that capture soot and smoke when they come in contact with each other.
You’ll know you have smoke damage if soot and smoke are visible on the sponge. If they aren’t, you could still have smoke damage, but it could also just be a stain. It’s best to have a restoration company look at the suspected damage.
Can Smoke Damage Your Walls?
Smoke can indeed damage your walls. The longer the soot and smoke are present in your home, the more damage they can cause. Stains are the least of your problems. As bothersome as those stains can be, the damage to your walls and flooring is worse and can ultimately require replacement.
Does the Drywall Need to be Replaced?
While the fire and smoke will damage your walls, it’s often extinguishing the fire that causes the most damage. The water will char the walls and cause smoke damage to seep through the pores in the wall. The damage can reach your insulation, making it very difficult to get rid of and often requiring professional help.
What Does Smoke Leave on Walls?
Depending on the type of smoke, you could have a powdery substance or grease on your walls. Both are unsightly and unwanted, so thoroughly cleaning everything after a fire is critical. Otherwise, the smoke residue and smell will stay on and in the walls.
How Do I Clean the Smoke Damage on Walls?
With how bad smoke damage is, quickly cleaning it is imperative. If your walls are plaster, you’ll want to clean the smoke damage with a chemical sponge, paint thinner, or rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth. Avoid using water-based solutions as these will set the soot into the wall instead of cleaning it.
If your walls are drywall, use a solution of one tablespoon of trisodium phosphate and one gallon of warm water. Clean one section at a time, quickly drying it as you go. Just be sure to wear gloves since trisodium phosphate is caustic.
These cleaning tools are best used within the first 24 hours of the smoke damage occurring. After that, it’s best to call a smoke damage restoration company to deep clean for you. This is because the more time passes, the more difficult it will be to remediate all the damage yourself.
Call Black Diamond Restoration today.
If you’ve detected smoke damage to walls in your home or business, it’s time to call in the restoration specialists, especially if you aren’t sure how long it’s been since the damage occurred.
Black Diamond Restoration is your go-to restoration company for smoke, fire, water, mold, and sewer damage. With decades of experience restoring homes and businesses alike, we have the skills and expertise to remediate and restore damage to pre-loss conditions. Our work is thorough and complete, giving you confidence that your home has been fully restored.
We offer 24/7 emergency services in Salt Lake and Utah counties. Call us at 801.512.4194, or visit our website for more information. Let Black Diamond Restoration restore your home today.