Can You Save Fine Wood After A Fire?

Can You Save Fine Wood After A Fire?

When you’ve had a fire in your home, not only does it damage the furnishing, it also damages the building materials. As you look around your home, you will see the type of handicraft and your financial investment in all the finished wood cabinetry and millwork. For example, kitchen cabinets range anywhere from $100 to $1,200 per linear foot. Also consider your:

  • Antiques and Heirlooms
  • Millwork, Paneling, Doors, and Banisters
  • Mantles
  • Custom Electronics and Home Theatre Cabinets
  • Custom Office, Library and Bookshelves
  • Walk In Closets

After the fire is extinguished and the family is safe, you need to find a fire damage restoration team to help salvage and protect any remaining woodwork. Look for a team with restoration and repair services to cover damages from not only the original fire, but also the resulting smoke and water damage. Your wooden furniture is an investment; have it properly restored or refinished after sustaining damage to protect this investment.

Deal With The Water First

After a fire, homes often sustain additional harm caused by water and chemicals used to extinguish the flames. You need to begin to dry things out as soon as you can to prevent mold growth. Mold can begin to form in as little as 48 hours and once it gets started, the damp environment of a water-damaged house is like a mold nursery.

Open the windows, utilize fans to create constant air flow, and if possible, use a dehumidifier. Finished wood items will dry slowly and be less likely to warp as the water evaporates.

Safely Remove The Soot

The fire restoration process requires removing grit and grime from your furnishings; cleaning comes before refinishing any furniture that needs it.  

If the soot or smoke damage is dry and free of oils, the restoration team can:

  • Clean the entire surface of the piece with a HEPA vacuum or lambswool duster.
  • Remove gross soot residue with a dry chemical sponge. Scrubbing the residue too hard with the sponge could cause the soot residue to become permanently embedded into the pores or wood grain.

Wood furniture that is affected by oily smoke or soot residue must be cleaned with one or more additional steps: special wood cleaners, Murphy Oil Soap, 10000-grade steel wool, or Unsmoke Degrease-All.  

Resurface, Repair Or Replace?

The combination of water damage, heat, and smoke can sometimes damage certain types of wood beyond repair.  But solid wood is more durable than pressed wood and is usually easier to salvage. When dealing with antique or specialty cabinets, it’s especially important to have an expert come in and evaluate the situation. Engage a team with a comprehensive suite of fire damage furniture restoration services; older wooden finishes and types of wood may be more difficult to repair but are often worth salvaging.

If there isn’t any structural damage, refacing the cabinets is often the most economical option. A professional restorer will be able to remove the cabinet exterior doors, remove the finish damaged by smoke, make any necessary repairs, and refinish and repaint them. The same can be done for the frame and any other lightly smoke-damaged kitchen cabinet pieces.

If the smoke has permeated the wood significantly, it may be quite expensive and unrealistic to repair and refinish the items. You’ll need a professional crew to remove all the severely damaged pieces.

Removing The Odor

Even after soot is removed, there will probably be the lingering smoke odor. Getting that campfire smell out of your furniture can be a challenge due to the intense heat.  As the materials in the fire area become heated, their porous composition begins to expand and allow smoke to infiltrate. As these materials cool down, the pores contract and close, trapping smoke odors. Professionals have a plethora of tools and experience to bring your wood back to glory.