Fire Damage Restoration | Smoke Sealing After a Fire (2022)

February 6, 2018

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The devastation of a fire can wreak havoc on a building and significant work will be required to restore it. Fire damage restoration works to reverse the destruction of a fire and return structures to their former states — and implementing coatings to walls and surfaces is a crucial part of that process.

Smoke damage sealers are a special kind of coating that adhere to damaged surfaces, block stains and prevent the detrimental odors from lingering smoke after a fire, protecting a building from the after effects of the fire.

You might not realize how important sealers are to successful fire restoration, but smoke sealing after a fire is an integral part of preparing the site for reuse, covering damage after cleaning and contaminant removal, and ensuring deodorization and the absence of additional harm. From picking the right primer and differentiating between sealers to the process of painting over fire-damaged walls, here is everything you need to know about smoke odor sealers.

When a Sealer Should Be Used

How useful can sealers be and when is the right time for fire restoration professionals to use them?

With more and more restoration companies popping up over the years to remediate damage from fire and other disasters, smoke sealers are often used in a variety of ways.

Smoke sealers are intended for use only after all cleaning and contamination removal has been completed to the satisfaction of all involved parties. They are not intended to cover up poor restoration work. The point at which a sealer should be applied – and even if one should be applied at all – will depend on the individual scenario, with factors like the type of fire that occurred and the extent of the damage affecting the choice.

In 2016, fire departments across America responded to approximately 1,342,000 fires, 74 percent of which were structural fires. With home structure fires occurring, on average, every 90 seconds and other structure fires occurring every 66 seconds, the scale of national fire damage is significant, and the need for restoration is crucial.

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Because fires occur for different reasons, the type of chemical and physical damage differs from structure to structure:

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  • Cooking equipment causes approximately 47 percent of home fires
  • Heating equipment is responsible for 15 percent
  • Electrical equipment accounts for 9 percent
  • Smoking materials account for 5 percent

In addition to the presence of chemicals responsible for beginning the fire, the fire itself produces a variety of toxins that contaminate the building – these may also affect the choice on when and if to use a sealer.

Why Use Smoke Sealant at All?

The heat, flames and uncontrolled combustion of fires lead to the production of a mix of harmful chemicals, including gases, liquids, aerosols and partially-oxidized particles, some of which adhere to surfaces and corrode materials. Even after the fire is extinguished, toxic odors and volatile emissions can continue to damage the structure and make the area hazardous.

In combination with effective cleaning and contaminant removal practices, sealers can be an effective way to prevent the returning of smoke odors or stains and serving as a primer by adhering to difficult surfaces so that a final paint coat can be applied.

Remember that sealers are not a cleaning agent in themselves, and they should never be used in an attempt to cover odors or contaminants that should have been treated and removed. Sealers serve to bind surfaces, block pores and prevent the return of odors, stains and additional damage. They should only be used after proper, thorough cleanup and contaminant removal.

Sealer vs. Encapsulant: What Is the Difference?

Even in the professional restoration industry, people sometimes use the terms “sealer and “encapsulant” interchangeably, but they should not. The two types of coatings have very different purposes, and confusing their uses could lead to problems.

What is the difference? Encapsulation describes the process of enclosing or repressing something, so it makes sense as a term used to designate wall coatings and primers. Technically, sealers encapsulate porous surfaces, stopping odors and damage from returning. Encapsulants perform a similar task by being applied to walls to permanently manage and abate the presence of asbestos and lead-based paint in older buildings.

While on the surface, these two types of coating appear to serve the same purpose by preventing further damage through the release of odors and chemicals, they are fundamentally different in terms of process, which is where the danger lies in confusing them.

  • Encapsulant: A coating that is used to manage exposure to the underlying materials or contaminants. This term is commonly used when referring to managing exposure to asbestos or lead-based paint.
  • Sealer: A coating that is applied after all contaminants have been removed ad surfaces thoroughly cleaned in order to prevent the reoccurrence of damage such as stains or odor.

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You can only apply sealers to surfaces after a thorough cleaning and removal of contaminants, and they bar the return of damage. Encapsulants, on the other hand, are put directly over the undesirable substance, covering it rather than removing it.

During restoration, contaminant removal always comes before coating with a sealer, so encapsulants and sealers should not be confused or used interchangeably in the fire damage restoration industry.

Considerations When Choosing a Sealer for Fire Damage Restoration

Now that you are familiar with the basic purpose and usage of sealers, how can you determine the best primer for smoke damage?

Each kind of sealer comes with its own specific attributes and limitations, so it is important to select the type that best meets your needs based on individual project. Here are some questions to consider when evaluating the features, functions and benefits of a sealer for restoring.

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Does It Stick?

The first step to evaluating the benefits of a particular sealer is observing whether it adequately adheres to the surface you coat. If the sealer does not stick well, it is not particularly suited to the surface, and it will not make a good choice for aiding restoration.

Will It Suppress Lingering Fire-Related Odors?

Half of a sealer’s job is to hinder the return of unpleasant or harmful odors from smoke and fire-related chemicals. When selecting the right sealer, make sure it is effective in suppressing existing odors and inhibiting those scents from returning through the pores of the surface. If not, the coating will be just for show — and that is not useful to your purpose.

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Can It Seal Stains and Residues Reliably?

The other half of a sealer’s functionality rests in blocking the spread of stains and residue. The goal is to keep the decontaminated surface clean and presentable, restoring it to its former state, so the risk of bleeding smoke stains should be reduced as much as possible. An effective sealer must prevent unsightly and unwanted stains from spreading if there is potential for this to occur.

Will Water Vapor Be Able to Breathe?

If the structure you restore experiences internal moisture of any kind in keeping with its function, make sure the sealer you select will allow for some release of water vapor. If you use an incompatible coating in an area that will see moisture buildup, it could lead to other problems with your restoration job in the future, including water damage and warping of the walls.

Will the Use of the Sealer Simplify Cleanup Complications?

During your restorative process, consider where the use of sealer fits in. If you have been able to clean, decontaminate and deodorize without many remaining issues, sealing is one of the final steps to ensure restoration, so make sure it simplifies the process rather than adding unnecessary steps.

Sealer should be suited to the environment in order to streamline the process of returning the structure to its pre-damage state. If adding the sealer makes cleanup more difficult, it is not the right kind or it may not be needed at all.

Is the Sealant Sustainable for the Future?

Finally, smoke damage sealer is a step intended to ensure sustainability of the restored space. Make sure you select a coating that will continue to perform its purpose and hold up over time, protecting the structure from stains, odors and chemicals well into the future and giving the building a long second life.

Types of Fire and Smoke Damage Sealers

Now that you know the critical considerations involved in choosing a well-suited sealer, you should become familiar with the different categories of sealers, along with their attributes, capabilities and limitations.

Selecting the appropriate sealer for application in a particular job is a matter of balancing the capabilities and limitations with the project’s most pressing needs and considering the criteria based on preferences including price, performance, personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements and sustainability.

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Available sealers are mainly differentiated based on chemical formulation, and they fit into four categories:

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  • Water-based
  • Shellac
  • Alkyd
  • Fixatives

Water-Based Fire and Smoke Damage Sealers

This type of sealer is made up of acrylic polymer systems sometimes blended with specialty resins in a water-based vehicle. Some water-based solutions — like RECON smoke sealer — are specifically intended for fire damage restoration and formulated to fit its needs. Professionals typically use this category of sealer for sealing stains, and it is available through professional restoration distribution centers at a similar or lower cost than shellac.

Water-based sealers are useful because they boast the capability to seal smoke odor while still offering water vapor permeability, meaning they will not develop condensation layers. They are also highly flexible and have a minimal odor and a low volatile organic content (VOC) level. As opposed to other types of sealer, this category is relatively inoffensive to environments or occupants with high chemical sensitivities, and it does not need any special handling for excess waste disposal. It also has no extra PPE requirements.

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Water-based sealer is versatile, available in a multitude of tints, colors and finishes from matte to gloss. It is also extremely safe, posing no threats in terms of flammability and combustibility.

For all their excellent qualities, water-based sealers do possess a few limitations, including:

  • A greater preparation period requirement
  • A softness to their cured film
  • A variability in drying time
  • A changeability in stain-blocking performance — while some sealers are effective with only one coat, others may need two applications or more

They are also sensitive to material types, meaning high-solvent topcoats can deteriorate them, and they can be repelled by high-silicone content in surfaces.

You cannot use this type of sealer at surface and air temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and not all water-based solutions are applicable in the same way, meaning some require brushes or rollers, while others come as airless sprays.

Shellac Fire and Smoke Damage Sealers

Composed primarily of processed lac resin, which is secreted by insects native to Indonesia and India, this sealer is created through suspension in alcohol. In the past, shellac has been the most commonly used sealer in fire damage restoration because of its prime ability to control fire odor. In fact, it boasts a decades-long history of successfully sealing smoke odor in treated surfaces. This sealer is available at almost all home paint centers and retail paint stores, and it is the most expensive type.

Shellac possesses multiple useful characteristics, including its ability to be cured and applied at much lower temperatures than other sealer formulations — down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also:

  • Adhere to tough or difficult surface conditions
  • Accept almost any type of top coat as a primer
  • Dry in less than 30 minutes for maximum restorative efficiency

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When dry, the cured finish is especially hard in comparison to other sealers and is ideal for stopping stains.

In addition to its commendable qualities, shellac possesses some limitations, so make sure its characteristics fit with your project.

(Video) Fire Damage Restoration

This particular sealer is impermeable to water vapor transmission, meaning it can trap moisture and form a barrier of condensation. It can also be brittle when exposed to direct impact, making it an unsuitable choice for outdoor use. Be mindful that shellac requires extra attention to detail with denatured alcohol cleanup, and exposing its vapors to ignition can be a hazard.

Shellac also needs special handling — in the form of solvent recycling — for the disposal of excess material. While it serves to bar smoke odors, it also leaves behind an unpleasant lacquer odor for up to a week, which can require carbon filtration to eliminate completely. It also requires PPE for application, such as protective respiratory equipment to make inhalation safe, and you should pay attention to regulations regarding maximum VOCs, which can make it unavailable in certain areas.

Alkyd-Based Fire and Smoke Damage Sealers

Alkyd primers are oil-based and typically used more frequently for sealing stains from water damage. None are technically designated for fire restoration use, but they can fulfill these kinds of applications. Water-based alkyds and other hybrid coatings are currently emerging within this category. Alkyds are typically available in home centers and retail paint stores, and they are one of the least-expensive formulations of sealers.

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Alkyds have a number of positive attributes, including their toleration of difficult or imperfect surface conditions, excellent stain blocking abilities and quick drying capabilities. This sealer is also easy to sand, and after thorough curing, it accepts almost any oil- or water-based topcoat as a primer.

Some of alkyd-based sealers’ limitations include:

  • Uncertain permeability or lack of permeability
  • Expected VOC restrictions
  • PPE requirements
  • Flammability and combustibility
  • Persistently lingering odor
  • Specialized waste handling requirements

Alkyds also need extensive mixing before application, and they involve a lengthy cleanup process with mineral spirits, which can increase exposure to solvents and cost more in labor and productivity.

Fixatives Fire and Smoke Damage Sealers

Fixative sealer formulations are especially low in solids, and they help residual particulates adhere to surfaces, keeping them from contaminating the air and becoming respirable. This can be useful in isolating and eliminating toxins to stop further circulation after fire damage cleaning, but it is not particularly suited to avoiding further surface damage or keeping smoke stains from seeping, because it forms no tangible film.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Smoke Damage Sealers

With the details of sealer uses, categories and considerations under your belt, you are almost ready to incorporate them properly into your fire damage restoration projects. Just make sure you follow these crucial do’s and do nots with any smoke damage sealer application process.

Do:

    • Consider the needs of the particular project. These may include environment, exposure, level of damage and future function of the structure. Being careless with choosing your sealer can mean the site will not reach its full restoration potential in the future, and it can lead to later problems down the line.
    • Use a product intended for fire or smoke damage. Be especially careful to select a sealer you know addresses smoke damage and odor, especially in a structure with extensive damage or a sensitive environment. As the categories above indicate, some sealers — like alkyds — are intended for other purposes, so approach them with caution and always choose the product specifically designed to do the right job.
    • Pay attention to the preparation of your sealer. Some sealers require extensive mixing or safety preparation before use, and failing to follow these requirements or using them incorrectly can lead to damage or dangerous conditions. Even before selecting your sealer, make sure you know exactly what is involved in its preparation and application.

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  • Perform proper cleanup and waste disposal. Some sealers are safer, while others are flammable, hazardous, high in VOC and specific about PPE and toxic waste requirements. To ensure health, safety and effectiveness, make sure you are aware of how to properly handle and dispose of all materials you use.

Do not:

    • Use sealers to cover up poor work. It is imperative that a structure is fully cleaned, deodorized and decontaminated before the application of any smoke damage sealer. Sealers cannot cover remaining contaminants or incomplete cleanup work — they can only serve to prevent additional stain spreading and odor escape.
    • Use just any paint primer. Sealers are specially formulated for damage treatment and are the only coatings you can use to cover smoke damage and block smoke odors. Using an ordinary paint primer on smoke- and fire-damaged surfaces creates an incompatible situation and will only lead to further damage to the surface.

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  • Use sealers interchangeably. Every sealer has a unique set of characteristics, properties and limitations that make it more suitable to certain environments and situations. Never assume two different types of sealer will have the same effect or that you do not need to research their use in relation to the particular project. Pick the best-suited sealer and do not combine types.
  • Be careless with application and cleanup. Just like every sealer is different in properties, the procedures for preparing, applying and disposing of the coating vary with the type of formulation. Pay close attention to the directions for handling your particular sealer to ensure the coating is effective, the procedure is safe and the chemical cleanup is properly performed.

Use smoke damage sealers with care and consideration at all times, and best of luck in your fire damage restoration projects.

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Categories: BLOG

FAQs

How do you treat walls after a fire? ›

To remove soot and smoke from walls, furniture and floors, use a mild soap or detergent or mix together 4 to 6 tbsp. tri-sodium phosphate and 1 cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach to every gallon of warm water. Wear rubber gloves. Be sure to rinse surfaces with clear warm water and dry thoroughly.

How do you seal smoke damage? ›

Use just any paint primer.

Sealers are specially formulated for damage treatment and are the only coatings you can use to cover smoke damage and block smoke odors. Using an ordinary paint primer on smoke- and fire-damaged surfaces creates an incompatible situation and will only lead to further damage to the surface.

How do you seal smoke damaged walls? ›

Shellac is the best primer for smoke damage. It will mitigate all of the issues that a traditional oil primer cause. Shellac dries fast, blocks odor, adheres to various surfaces, and the odor dissipates quickly. We recommend applying two coats of Bin Shellac primer for all minor to mid-smoke damaged surfaces.

What can be salvaged after a house fire? ›

Fortunately, with the help of a professional restoration service many objects with hard, porous, and non-porous surfaces (like glass and metal) or belongings that can be washed (like clothing) can usually be salvaged if they didn't come into direct contact with the fire.

What needs to be replaced after a house fire? ›

Fire damage cleanup. Soot, smoke, and water damage caused by fire can be pervasive, even if the fire was contained and quickly extinguished. It's likely that every item in the affected rooms will need to be cleaned at a minimum. That includes walls, ceilings, flooring, furniture, and personal items.

How do you remove smoke damage from drywall? ›

You can remove the smell by washing the walls and ceilings with water and detergent. You can also try a solution of water and white vinegar. If the smoke damage to your walls and ceilings is severe, seek the help of licensed and experienced professionals.

How do I get the smoke smell out of my house after a fire? ›

Baking soda is an inexpensive and natural odor-absorber. Peek suggests leaving a few bowls of baking soda around the house for several days to help absorb the odors. “Activated charcoal also is an option to help absorb odors. Use it like you would baking soda and place it in bowls around the house for several days.

How long does it take for fire smoke to clear out of a house? ›

But you should try to begin the recovery process a few days after the blaze has cleared. Depending on the steps you take, and how diligent you are in combating the smoke particles, your odor removal timeline could range anywhere from two weeks to a month.

How do you repair fire damaged wood? ›

You can't repair burned wood. You can only replace it. If you experience a fire and wood burns during the event, you must determine if it needs to be removed or sealed. If the wood is salvageable, a sealer will minimize smoke odors, cover stains, and serve as a primer for surfaces.

How do you paint over fire damage? ›

Applying paint directly over top of the remaining stains or odor will not cover them up. You'll need to apply a good, solvent-based stain-blocking primer to prevent them from bleeding through the paint. You may be able to get by with a product such as Zinsser's Cover Stain, which is an oil-based stain-blocking primer.

What is smoke sealant? ›

1. Product Description. 3M™ Smoke and Sound Sealant SS 100 is an economical, ready to use, gun-grade, elastomeric sealant that dries to form a monolithic flexible seal that helps prevent unwanted noise infiltration and mitigates the spread of smoke and toxic gas during a fire.

When should drywall be replaced after a fire? ›

You must replace drywall if the temp reached 140. Part of manufacturing drywall is adding water to the material, and when board is heated and water evaporate, you have no way of reintroducing the water to the board, and that water is the main item in fire resistance.

What paint to use after a fire? ›

Use 2 coats of Zinsser Perma-White Interior Paint in a Matt, Satin or Semi-Gloss finish to decorate the primed, fire-damaged area, allowing 2 hours between coats for it to dry.

Will smoke stains bleed through paint? ›

Can You Paint Over Smoke-Stained Walls? Smoke stains on walls, whether from cigarettes, or soot from a fireplace, are impossible to cover with paint alone. Nicotine is by far the worst. The tar and chemicals from cigarette smoke penetrate drywall and bleed through paint no matter how many coats are applied.

Is anything salvageable after a fire? ›

Generally, any item that's strong enough to survive the heat and the flames without absorbing water and smoke is completely salvageable after a fire. It might be a little stained, but it's nothing a little cleaning won't fix. If you need help cleaning up after a fire, contact a home restoration specialist.

Is it safe to use appliances after a fire? ›

Electrical appliances

Do not attempt to turn on, clean or use any electrical items that have been exposed to fire, smoke or water. This includes turning lights on, especially if the ceiling is wet. The fire and the actions taken to put it out, make have damaged both the appliances and electrical wiring.

What is left after a fire? ›

Soot is the result of a fire. It's a powdery black substance that occurs when the fire doesn't completely burn the fuel source. Soot ionizes and can get stuck on all different types of surfaces. It also is INCREDIBLY difficult to clean and remove.

Can a burnt house be repaired? ›

Depending on the amount of damage, you may need to hire a structural engineer to assess the condition of the floors, walls, and roof. These specialists evaluate the condition of the house's foundation, framing, and building envelope and recommend repair or replacement of any damaged portions.

Should I buy a house that had a fire? ›

If the home is safe, buying a house that's been renovated after a fire can save you a lot of money. You have a higher return-on-investment for fire-damaged homes because they're often undervalued. But if the home has not yet been repaired after a fire, the repairs may be less expensive than estimated.

How do you deal with losing everything in a fire? ›

Recovery and coping

Practicing proven stress-reduction techniques, such as regular exercises, meditation, and deep breathing. Allowing yourself to feel bad, cry, and release negative emotions in a healthy manner. Giving yourself permission to feel good. You can have periods of joy even when coping with loss.

Can you get smoke out of drywall? ›

Vinegar, baking soda, charcoal and citrus fruit peels are among the remedies for these types of deposits. Spray a 1-to-1 solution of vinegar and water on the walls and wipe them down with a rag, or place bowls of baking soda, charcoal or citrus fruit peels in the rooms in which you notice the odor.

How do I get black smoke off my ceiling? ›

You can simply use some dish soap and water with a clean rag, or apply vinegar or degreaser for smoke buildup. Scrub the area, then rinse and dry it thoroughly.

Does drywall absorb cigarette smoke? ›

Drywall tends to soak up any smells it's subjected to on a regular basis,” says Ciresi. Unfortunately, replacing the drywall in your home isn't really an option. Instead, thoroughly wash your walls and ceiling, removing any dust from door frames, window frames, baseboards, fan blades, and light fixtures.

Does smoke smell ever go away? ›

Tobacco smoke can even circulate through the entire house via the ventilation system. But there is no need to panic, as the smell will dissipate over time.

What is the most powerful odor eliminator? ›

Best Odor Eliminators for the Whole Home (2022)
  • Best Overall Odor Absorber — All Prime Bamboo Charcoal Bags (4-Pack 500g Bags)
  • Best Room Spray — Febreze Air Freshener Spray.
  • Best Odor Eliminator in the Bathroom — Poo-Pourri Toilet Spray.
  • Best Refrigerator Odor Eliminator — NonScents Refrigerator Deodorizer.
30 Aug 2022

Is the smell of smoke after a fire harmful? ›

Yes, the smell of smoke after a house fire can be dangerous and harmful. It is important that if you are experiencing the smell of smoke, remove yourself until your home is completely free of smoke and soot. Soil-Away is proud to provide 24/7 emergency services for fire, smoke, and soot damage restoration.

How long does smoke linger after a fire? ›

On average, smoke particles linger in the atmosphere for up to two to three weeks, says Yokelson.

What to do after house fills with smoke? ›

Even your doors, cabinets, walls, and floors can retain smoke. Make a cleaning solution consisting of a gallon of warm water, a half cup of distilled white vinegar, and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap or shampoo. For wooden objects such as blinds, you may want to purchase a cleanser formulated to clean wood.

How do you stop smells from coming through walls? ›

Caulk around any fixtures that are on the shared wall or the exterior walls if that is where the odors are coming in – light fixtures, fire alarms, fire sprinklers, lights, etc. Place gasket covers under the electrical outlets and light switch plates. These are foam gaskets that you can buy from Amazon.

How do you cover up burn marks on wood? ›

Use a piece of cork soaked in turpentine and rub the burned area with it. Once the wood burn is gone, put a coat of wax back on the wood. On modern lacquers, clean with a cloth dampened with soapy water, and if the burn stains resist add a few drops of household alcohol or bleach.

How do you restore a kitchen after a fire? ›

If your kitchen has suffered fire and smoke damage, there are a few steps you can take towards restoration and repair.
  1. GATHER THE RIGHT PROTECTIVE GEAR. ...
  2. VENTILATE THE AREA. ...
  3. CHECK FOR BREACHES. ...
  4. REMOVE LEFTOVER WATER. ...
  5. REMOVE THE SOOT. ...
  6. REMOVE THE SMOKE ODOR.
13 May 2019

How do you treat charred wood? ›

You can leave the charred wood bare for a rough-hewn look or apply a drying oil such as linseed or tung oil to lend a soft sheen and enhanced weather protection. These oils harden with prolonged exposure to air, making the wood even more durable. Re-apply the oil every 10 to 15 years for the best results.

Can you primer over soot? ›

Use a disposable paintbrush to apply the primer to the areas that have soot stains. After it dries, apply a single coat of primer to the entire surface that you want to repaint. Allow it to dry for a couple of hours, then apply a new coat.

How do you remove yellow smoke stains? ›

  1. Make a solution of 1 quart warm water, 1/2 teaspoon white, liquid dishwashing detergent and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Apply the solution to a cotton ball or a folded absorbent cloth and place over the stain. ...
  2. If any stain remains, apply rubbing alcohol to an absorbent pad and blot the stain until it disappears.

Will kilz cover smoke damage? ›

It tackles tough stains including heavy water damage, rust, smoke, nicotine, grease, tannin, ink, pencil, felt marker, pet stains and more. KILZ RESTORATION Primer also seals persistent pet, food and smoke odors.

Where are smoke seals required? ›

In some circumstances, smoke seals are a Building Regulation requirement. Acoustic seals may also be required in certain situations such as in flats, apartments, doctor's surgeries and schools. These act to provide an additional role to reduce the sound which can travel between the door and frame, or door and floor.

Where do smoke seals go? ›

A smoke seal is a brush that goes around a door, or a door frame, to prevent smoke from passing through the gaps.

What is smoke and acoustic sealant used for? ›

This sealant is designed to seal construction joints and through penetrations in non-fire rated wall and floor assemblies, including smoke partitions and acoustic assemblies.

Does smoke damage affect appliances? ›

The flames may be out and the smoke has dissipated, but the soot left behind can still cause lasting damage to appliances. This burned residue often covers everything in the home after a fire.

Can smoke damage ruin appliances? ›

Soot from smoke contains acidity that will destroy metals and cause disintegration and discoloration. These harmful traits can completely destroy electronics even after the fire is put out. This damage is even a risk if there isn't a fire. Smoke and soot will linger and corrode circuity, causing short circuits.

How do you get smoke stains off walls and ceilings? ›

Directions for Removing Smoke Stains from Walls
  1. Remove soot from walls. Wipe away or vacuum up any excess soot left on the surface.
  2. Mist with water. Lightly spray the surface before cleaning.
  3. Apply Simple Green. ...
  4. Scrub. ...
  5. Rinse with water. ...
  6. Dry.

Can you kilz over soot? ›

KILZ® Primer is a preferred choice of pros for stains caused by fires, floods, persistent exposure to pets or smoke stains from fire damage, soot and charring. Stain blocking primers also work great on permanent marker, grease and nicotine stains.

Does primer paint cover smoke damage? ›

Even with non-smoke damaged walls, you need to put a primer down before painting. For smoke-damaged walls, you need to make sure that there are no more stains on the walls before applying primer. Double-check to make sure your walls are completely clean, then begin priming.

How do you seal smoke damaged walls? ›

Shellac is the best primer for smoke damage. It will mitigate all of the issues that a traditional oil primer cause. Shellac dries fast, blocks odor, adheres to various surfaces, and the odor dissipates quickly. We recommend applying two coats of Bin Shellac primer for all minor to mid-smoke damaged surfaces.

How do you treat smoke damage on walls? ›

You can either purchase commercial soot and smoke remover or citrus degreaser, or you can make your own with vinegar, TSP, or degreasing dish soap in a gallon of hot water. Using a clean cloth, wipe all the walls with the degreaser.

How do you get smoke smell out of walls before painting? ›

Clean the walls with a TSP cleaner

TSP stands for TriSodium Phosphate, and it's a powerful cleaner used before painting. It removes dirt, grease, grime, soot, and chalked paint.

Can a burnt house be repaired? ›

Depending on the amount of damage, you may need to hire a structural engineer to assess the condition of the floors, walls, and roof. These specialists evaluate the condition of the house's foundation, framing, and building envelope and recommend repair or replacement of any damaged portions.

Does a house lose value after a fire? ›

Another study published in the Journal of Real Estate and Economics found that house prices fell by 10% after a first fire and then fell again by nearly 23% after a second fire. Regions that experienced a second wildfire reduced property value by as much as 23%.

Should I buy a house that had a fire? ›

If the home is safe, buying a house that's been renovated after a fire can save you a lot of money. You have a higher return-on-investment for fire-damaged homes because they're often undervalued. But if the home has not yet been repaired after a fire, the repairs may be less expensive than estimated.

How long does it take for a house to be rebuilt after a fire? ›

For small fires, a few weeks. For fires that damaged a good portion of the home, a few months. For a fire that caused a total loss and the property needs to be torn down, 9 - 12 months.

Should you rebuild after a fire? ›

In some cases, your home needs to be razed and rebuilt after a house fire. There's too much damage to the home, including structural damage that has permanently compromised the safety of the home. In other cases, your home can be safely salvaged and repaired to pre-loss condition.

How do you repair fire damaged wood? ›

You can't repair burned wood. You can only replace it. If you experience a fire and wood burns during the event, you must determine if it needs to be removed or sealed. If the wood is salvageable, a sealer will minimize smoke odors, cover stains, and serve as a primer for surfaces.

How long does fire damage take to repair? ›

Professionals can complete smaller fire repairs in a day or two, but extensive repairs can take up to several months. The size of the fire and affected household areas will determine your concrete timeline.

Can you get a mortgage on a fire damaged house? ›

Speaking of being up to code, buying a house with previous fire damage can come with financing complications if the home is uninhabitable. Mortgage lenders will not issue loans for a home that it doesn't deem safe to live in, so you'll have to make the necessary repairs first.

How does home insurance work with a fire? ›

Homeowners insurance can cover accidental fires. If one of the fires covered by your home insurance is caused by accident — like if you accidentally knock over a candle — your homeowners policy usually covers the damage to your home caused by that fire.

How does insurance pay out after a fire? ›

When The Insurance Company Provides A Payout, Is The Money Removed From? In most cases, the insurance company will pay the mortgage lender directly and send you a check for your portion of the loss. You may receive these checks depending on whether you have replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage.

How do you get rid of the smell after a house fire? ›

Baking soda is an inexpensive and natural odor-absorber. Peek suggests leaving a few bowls of baking soda around the house for several days to help absorb the odors. “Activated charcoal also is an option to help absorb odors. Use it like you would baking soda and place it in bowls around the house for several days.

How do you tell if a house has had a fire? ›

A request for a specific fire at a specific address must be made to obtain any record of a house burning down. The fire department does not entertain requests for multiple fire records. Requests must be made individually. Submit a Fire Incident Record Request Form to obtain this information.

How do you know if a house has been in a fire? ›

You'll know fire damage when you see or smell it: black soot and smoky odors typically indicate a fire-related incident. Any sign of fire damage should signal further investigation, either with the owners of the home or through careful examination by property damage professionals.

Can you reuse a foundation after a fire? ›

Existing footings, slabs, and foundation systems in fire-destroyed buildings are typically compromised and are not permitted to be re-used.

Does fire weaken concrete? ›

A serious house fire can generate enough heat to damage and weaken the concrete and steel reinforcement bars in footings, slabs, and footing stem walls.

What is the process of rebuilding a house? ›

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Home Building Process
  1. Prepare Construction Site and Pour Foundation.
  2. Complete Rough Framing.
  3. Complete Rough Plumbing, Electrical and HVAC.
  4. Install Insulation.
  5. Complete Drywall and Interior Fixtures; Start Exterior Finishes.
  6. Finish Interior Trim; Install Exterior Walkways and Driveway.

Videos

1. Sealing Fire and Smoke Damage in Commercial space.
(SERVPRO of Greater St Augustine/St Augustine Beach)
2. DIY Fire or Smoke damage with Killz
(Everyman DIY)
3. RX Smoke & Fire Damage Clean Up
(Bullen Companies Video Channel)
4. Spraying Zinsser BIN to seal in soot and smoke damage from house fire
(ACE Restoration)
5. How To Clean Fire Smoke Damage and Soot Off Of the Ceiling, Renovate A House After A Fire
(Red Bud EX101 Statzer)
6. DIY How to eliminate smoke odor from a fire/House fire Smoke damage Kilz it but wait that's not all!
(Tacito Homestead)

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