Can soot and smoke damage be removed from my home?

Fires have always been a serious threat to homes and buildings in California. Although San Diego has remained relatively unaffected during the most recent wave of wildfires, it’s difficult to determine if smoke and soot damage is something home and building owners will deal with during the coming months. With that, we’ve compiled some tips to help you identify and detect smoke damage, better understand why damage from smoke and soot are serious issues, and the importance of consulting a professional before attempting to remove smoke and soot damage by yourself.


How can you detect fire and smoke damage?

Soot and smoke damage is so dangerous because it is not always visible. Although building owners and homeowners may not be able to see black soot or other evidence of smoke damage, that does not mean it does not exist. The most common way of detecting smoke damage is odor. If you smell a lingering smoky smell in parts of your home or office, you most likely have smoke damage. Another indicator of smoke damage can be visible gray or black powder-like substances.

There are three different types of smoke damage:

  • wet smoke,
  • dry smoke, and
  • fuel oil smoke.

Wet smoke damage results from fires that burn at low temperatures and produce fewer flames, but more smoke. Wet smoke can generally be identified by a thick coating and poignant smell.

Dry smoke results from high levels of heat but is often easier to clean when compared to slow-burning fires from wet smoke. Dry smoke damage is can generally be identified as powdery, dry and thin.

Fuel oil smoke damage is created by flames burning in an oil furnace and creates a strong odor. Fuel oil smoke is able to destroy furniture and most commonly requires expert assistance

What are some common examples of smoke damage?

Fire and smoke create soot and ash. Without immediate restoration, prolonged exposure to either of these can permanently harm surfaces, furniture, clothing, carpets and other property inside the home or building. Acidic soot can also stain surfaces as residue settles.

Discoloration from smoke damage generally begins on walls and is usually permanent on ore porous materials, like textiles and soft goods. These materials are often affected by smoke damage since they can become saturated with smoke more quickly.

Can smoke damage be removed?

Both soot and smoke have an acidic nature, making them difficult to remove. They not only contain unpleasant odors, but particles that make it hard for inhabitants to breathe. Repairing smoke damage and odors takes careful time and consideration. Different cleaning methods are required for different materials. Therefore, it is often best to consult a professional.

Fires can char walls, create odors and damage the foundation of your home. Soot has the ability to cling to interior walls, leave carpets soggy and damage your roof, so it’s important to address these issues immediately in order to minimize destruction. The more time odors have to seep into walls, carpets and furniture, the harder it will be to get rid of the smell.

Why is it important to have interior and exterior smoke damage by a qualified professional?

As a homeowner or building owner, it is possible to clean damage from fire and smoke by yourself, however, professional soot and smoke specialists can clean your structure at a deeper level and limit further damage to your structure. Since smoke damage is not always visible, extensive professional cleaning can assist in eliminating odor sources and completely removing any damage created by smoke. Experts can perform tests to determine the extent of fire, smoke, soot and water damage, as well as, examine the framing of your house and floors for safety to assess the type of fire and what may have caused it. Licensed professionals can also expedite the process of cleaning smoke damage and eliminating odors.

Professional and experienced soot and smoke damage testing

If you believe your home or business is at risk of having soot or smoke damage, you should contact an experienced and professional soot and smoke testing company, like Rarefied Air Environmental. Only a skilled professional can perform a test to identify whether your home or building has been affected by soot or smoke damage and help you develop a plan to safely (and completely) remove the harmful effects of soot and smoke. Contact us today for a quote!