Assessing and Cleaning Floors After a Fire

By: Leo Nov

Prior to salvaging your home and content, you must confirm that the structure is determined safe and the fire is completely extinguished and cooled down. The reason for this is that many solvents and cleaning items are very flammable. If at all possible, try to work outdoors, or in a well-ventilated room with the windows open.

Additional Water Damage

If there is additional water damage as a result of extinguishing the fire, it is important to address that problem immediately. The structure and content should be professionally dried out to prevent potential mold growth, which will usually begin to grow within about 24-48 hours.

Making an Assessment

If flooring materials are burnt or scorched, you will most likely need to replace the scorched area or even the entire floor. Some wood floors can be sanded down if the burn is not too deep, however, that will need to be assessed by a professional. If the floor damage is mainly smoke odor and soot stains, the floor can be salvaged and deodorized.

Hardwood Floors

A common technique used to clean wood floors is to combine 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water and use a soft cloth to rub the floors in a circular motion. After applying the solution, use a dry, soft cloth to immediately dry the floor. After the floor has been cleaned allow it to dry out completely and apply a layer of wax as recommended for your specific type of hardwood flooring.

Carpeting

If your carpet gets wet from extinguishing the fire, the padding from underneath will need to be removed and discarded. After it is completely dry, you can sweep or vacuum to remove debris and follow up with sponging it with a commercial rug shampoo. Be sure to read the manufacturer instructions as some carpets may shrink when shampooed.

Tile, Linoleum and Vinyl

Tile is the most resistance flooring material. If not severely damaged, you should be able to clean with warm soapy water, or the vinegar method previously mentioned. Linoleum and vinyl damages easily and usually needs to be replaced.

Hire a Professional

A restoration professional can help with the process and can minimize your loss by utilizing the appropriate knowledge and equipment that will yield the best results. A fire damage restorer can, in addition, provide great results for soot and odor removal.

Home Flooring
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