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There are a number of key factors we consider before developing the most effective system for removing soot damage.

  • Is the fire damage internal or external? When the soot damage is inside a property any removal method using water will not be suitable.
  • What type of fire was it?
  • What burned in the fire?
  • Where is the property in relation to other properties? For example, is it a detached property or is it part of a terrace? Perhaps it is in the communal area of a block of apartments or an office building.
  • How durable and hard is the affected surface?

By answering these questions first, we can provide a comprehensive soot removal service that’ll minimise the long-lasting effects of fire damage, while keeping other buildings and people in the area safe.

Following a fire, there is always soot damage to clean up. The level of soot bonding and how deep odours have penetrated into materials depends on the type of fire as well as the items that burned during the fire. There are two main types of fire: the slow burning fire and the fast burning fire. Additionally, different materials such as paper, plastic, wood, solvents, inks, paints, food, or oil will all create different soot types with varying chemical makeups which need to be assessed before cleaning. It is important to employ professional soot removal as soon as possible. The longer soot sits on a surface, the higher the risk of permanent soot damage.

Slow burning fires occur in spaces with reduced access to oxygen, therefore, we would expect fires in small, enclosed spaces such as a cupboard or a garage to burn slowly. The smoke this type of fire produces contains a high proportion of odour which can be difficult to remove from porous building surfaces, especially if left untreated for more than 48 hours.

Where fires have a ready supply of oxygen they will be fast burning. Fast burning fires are most common where the fire breaks the windows or the roof of the building. The flames would then go up the outside of the building, causing soot damage to the façade. These fires produce a huge amount of black soot. The precise nature of that soot depends entirely on what was the fuel for the fire.

Different soot removal methods: media blasting

More commonly known as sand blasting, media blasting is a form of abrasive blasting. On the whole, it is an excellent option for the removal of internal soot damage as it does not use water. It involves the use of abrasive agents and compressed air to clean soot and smoke damage from unfinished surfaces such as exposed brick or stone. Before starting, we assess the robustness of affected surfaces so that we can adjust the soot removal system accordingly. It’s essential to use a medium that is softer than the surface we are cleaning to avoid causing any surface damage to the building. Following media blasting, we finish off by sealing the cleaned surfaces by spraying or painting a clear sealant to prevent seepage of any remaining smoke odours.

Different soot removal methods: TORC system

The TORC system is another form of media blasting. It uses a mixture of low air pressure, with a small amount of water and a safe, soft fine medium. The system creates a gentle, swirling mixture which removes soot damage from soft to hard building surfaces. The TORC system is another system that uses few or no chemical ingredients making it a safer alternative to other soot removal systems. Thanks to its gentle nature it doesn’t cause additional damage during cleaning making it an extremely safe and successful option for listed properties.

Different soot removal methods: DOFF system

The DOFF System is an ultra-high heat and pressure system for external soot removal from stonework and masonry. It is an exceptionally robust steam cleaning solution, which will not damage unfinished surfaces, yet is still extremely effective at removing stubborn soot damage. Due to the use of water in the cleaning process, it’s only suitable for exterior soot removal.

Case Study

Commercial Fire Damage, Portsmouth

We dealt with the aftermath of a fire at a commercial premises caused by a vehicle in the workshop. We cleaned and removed soot and melted ceiling tiles to get the premises ready for redecoration, minimising downtime for the dealership.

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