Smoke particles can infiltrate carpets, walls, furniture and clothing, lingering for months. So what can you do to rid your Southern California home of smoke odors and when is it time to contact a professional?
Smoke damage after a house fire can be challenging to remove without professional help. Odors from smoke can lead to headaches, nausea and troubled breathing, which can interfere with your health and daily life. Burning scented candles and spraying air fresheners may dilute or mask smoke odors temporarily but they fail to address the root of the problem. Often, air deodorant manufacturers oversimplify the process of smoke damage odor removal. However, effective smoke damage restoration requires a careful, educated approach.
Step 1: Attack the Source of the Odor
After the fire has been completely put out, clear your home of severely scorched or unsalvageable materials. These not only require immense time, effort and resources to deodorize but also emit large amounts of smoke odors that can seep into surrounding areas. Remove as many of these source objects as possible to expedite the cleaning process. Before considering demolition, contact a smoke damage odor removal specialist who can test your home for asbestos, lead, and other hazardous chemicals and recommend safe rebuilding tactics.
Step 2: Clean and Deodorize Exposed Surfaces
After a fire, exposed surfaces house high concentrations of smoke odors and residue. Professional restorers know how to thoroughly clean counter tops, walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, and appliances. This step is crucial to prepare the home for more in-depth odor removal. Depending on the scope of the fire, restorers may need to clean your entire home from top to bottom, even if the entire house was not burned in the fire.
Step 3: Neutralize Remaining Smoke Odors
The third step involves targeting smoke particles with a specialized deodorant gas. The particles in the gas mix with and neutralize particles in the smoke. Professional restorers can determine the right mixture of deodorizing agents and how to distribute them throughout your home. By following all paths the smoke particles may have taken, the deodorizing gas effectively clears the entire structure of lingering odors.
Step 4: Seal Severely Scorched Surfaces
Although seldom necessary, severe fires may require heavily damaged surfaces to be sealed off. Extreme heat and concentrations of smoke particles can render some surfaces nearly impossible to salvage without impractical means. If deemed necessary, the sealing process is the final step in odor removal. Some surfaces can be sealed and painted over. Heavily damaged surfaces in hard-to-reach spaces such as attics and crawlspaces should be sealed and contained. Sealing improves aesthetics and speeds up the overall deodorizing process when compared to extensive chemical treatments that can take several weeks to complete.
There are no easy, “set-it-and-forget-it” ways to remove smoke odors from a burned structure. Professional restoration companies know how to implement the right processes and adjust them to adapt to special cases. Because homeowners often lack the time and resources to remove smoke odors on their own, it’s important to hire a professional to both eliminate the problem and provide peace of mind.
The professionals at S&S Construction & Restoration Inc. specialize in professional smoke damage odor removal, as well as repair, restoration, and remodeling services for homes after a fire. For more information about smoke damage restoration in Southern California, contact S&S Construction & Restoration Inc. at (760) 559-2667 today.
We are your full-service general construction contractor, specializing in concrete construction, fire and water remediation, patio construction as well as kitchen design and restoration. Conveniently located in the high desert, no job it too big or too small. Let one of our design consultants help you with the planning and design of your new renovation project. Call S&S Construction today, 760.559.2667.
Why Invest in a Custom Patio Cover
Additionally, whether you’re installing an aluminum patio cover or a pergola with a retractable awning, adding a patio cover will add beauty to your home. For many homeowners, however, the high investment value is one of the most important benefits of adding a patio cover. The following are several reasons why adding a patio cover makes good financial sense.
Significant Energy Savings
The more of your yard that’s shaded, the cooler the interior of your home will be. This rule of thumb simplifies some very complex thermodynamics. Basically, without a patio cover, nothing will block the hot sun from soaking into the soil around your home. Toward the end of the day, this heat will be released back into the air, making your property feel like an oven. Recent research has revealed that planting fast-growing trees can cut a home’s energy costs by as much as 30%. Patio covers act much like trees; they create shade and offer protection from the scorching sun. Adding a patio cover can help reduce your energy costs.
Aluminum Patio Cover:
more affordable than an addition
Most homeowners are looking for ways to maximize space. However, in today’s turbulent economic climate, few people can afford the construction costs associated with adding an entirely new room – unless you’re talking about creating an outdoor room, that is. The most accessible form of patio cover, a pergola, can cost as little as $500, assuming you choose to install it yourself. (Plant grapes or hops to grow over the pergola, and you’ll have a shady retreat in the summer.) Even if you choose a more expensive option, such as a solid patio cover, you’ll see far lower costs than you would a traditional room addition.
Solid Style Patio Cover:
increased home value
In these days of low home prices, many property owners are looking for ways to increase value. Especially when accompanied by beautiful landscaping, a patio cover can create the kind of protected oasis that prospective buyers find highly appealing. This means you’ll probably see an excellent return on investment for your patio cover project, since you’ll be able to ask a higher selling price for your home.
As you can see, patio covers are more than just a great way to make any home more livable; they are also an excellent home improvement investment.
1. Outdoor Sectional. You don’t have to have enough room for a five-piece dining set to create a functional outdoor space – a couple of comfy chairs or a small sofa will go a long way toward making your deck or patio feel like a real room. Pick a piece that will stand up to the elements, like this petite sectional with plush polyfoam cushions and handwoven UV- and weather-resistant wicker.
2. Colorful Patterned Rug. A small patio or deck is the perfect place to go a little wild with color: It’ll add instant personality without feeling overwhelming. Bring in a durable indoor/outdoor rug in an eye-catching pattern – like this one in blues, greens and hints of brown – to define the area.
3. Acacia Wood Trunk. In the original space, a custom coffee table was constructed from reclaimed wood to provide space for snacks and drinks as well as extra storage. If you don’t want to splurge on a custom piece, shop around for an attractive outdoor storage trunk, like this one made of solid acacia wood. For a rustic, weathered look, you can allow it to gray over time, or you can condition it regularly with teak oil to preserve the original color.
4. Outdoor Throw Pillow. Add extra comfort and style to your outdoor furniture with weather-resistant pillows. Sporting a geometric tile design, this green and turquoise toss pillow is made of high-performance polyester for long-term outdoor use.
5. Bar Cart on Wheels. If you have enough space for a second table, consider a multi-leveled option for even more surface area. We like this two-tier trolley, which can be rolled out as a cocktail station or parked in one spot as a side table or plant stand.
6. Rustic Rail Planter. Don’t let a lack of square footage stop you from incorporating plants into your outdoor space. Add color and life without sacrificing floor space with planters that mount to your deck railings. No rails? Try wall planters or hanging baskets.
Know What To Do After a House Fire
Experiencing a house fire is a frightening, sickening, and very upsetting experience. In the aftermath of a fire, it is very important to know what to do to protect yourself and others from any possibility of further harm. This article will help you with key things to do and know after a fire.
Ask when it is safe to enter a house or other building on the property after a fire. Do not enter a house or other building that has been affected by a fire until you have listened to the professionals telling you that is okay to do so. Other factors to be aware of include: making sure that the fire is extinguished
knowing that fire authorities have checked out the site and done what they need to do to establish a safety zone
the severity of the fire.
Recognize that if a house or building is too badly damaged, you may not be allowed back inside at all.
Know who to call after a fire. Contact family members that may not have been with you. Let them know what happened, let them know that everybody is okay (if so) and let them know the information that is necessary. After a house fire, don’t assume that someone is going to contact your insurance. This is the number one thing that you need to do. This will not only enable documentation of the event and set in train the insurance claim but your insurer will be able to talk you through emergency lodging and living expenses. Remember to retain all receipts to make a claim. The insurance company will also assist with clean up options. If you are a tenant, contact the owner/landlord and/or their insurance company. Anyone who you feel that could be helpful to you, not necessarily just an insurance company but it could be other things involved, such as the contents of your home and you need to contact a particular help group or business etc. For example, American Red Cross offers services to those who have lost their home.
Understand what happens with a “fire report”. A fire report will discuss what structure the house was in, what area was involved, the time of the incident, the date of the incident and it will have an incident number if it comes through a fire department. This enables the fire department to know all the specifics of who was there and what resources were there, to assist in gathering a lot more information.
Know how to get a copy of a fire report. You may be able to call the fire department for a copy. For example, in Los Angeles, you can call the Fire Prevention Bureau, the Fire Marshall or the billing agency of the fire department. If arson is involved, the Arson Unit or equivalent will probably be able to get this information to you.
Secure the property. If you have not already being told to do so, it is important to secure your property to prevent possible looting. Talk to emergency services on how best to go about this. Most insurance policies require this.
Consider the clean up requirements. If your house has been damaged rather than destroyed, interior clean up will be required. Keep in mind that damage to the property often goes beyond what the eye can see. (Removal of a destroyed house should only be done by professionals.) You should spend a little time assessing whether you think you can perform the clean up or if you’ll need professional cleaners. You will find it useful to discuss this with your insurance company. Consider such things as: The types of damage including soot, ash, charring, smoke, odor, etc. Damage to a single room – this may be something you can manage yourself. Extensive damage – leave it alone and call in the professionals
Know how to handle smoke and soot damage after a fire. If you do make the decision to clean up yourself, be aware that soot and smoke damage might be significant and often creates a film on the walls. There will also be residue from the extinguishers used by the fire crew. Furnishings such as carpets, rugs, curtains etc. are best cleaned professionally if they are even salvageable. Open all doors and windows if possible. Even if it is freezing cold outside, let small bursts of fresh air circulate through. Send the kids to a friend’s house for a bit while this is happening. They should not be around anyway, for fear of the potential for ingestion of chemical particles or other particles that might damage young lungs and immune systems.
If water hoses were used to put out your fire, drying your home is very important. It is best to hire professionals to do fire/ water combination clean up. Water damage can lead to more damage or even mold if not dried properly. Insurance companies will often have approved restoration contractors that you can call for board up, structural drying, contents cleaning and structural cleaning and repair.
Seek counseling if needed and reassure children. Having your house damaged or destroyed by fire is extremely traumatic and can have lasting impacts on each family member, depending on his or her ability to cope. Common feelings are helplessness, disorientation, pining for belongings, deep sadness, a sense of deprivation, despair and a loss of routine and structure. The depth of feelings and disorientation will depend on the extent of damage – loss of the entire house can leave everyone feeling as if they have to rebuild life all over again; partial loss, however, still carries stress and sadness. Reassure each other and let the emotions happen. Keep a close eye on children and be truthful with them about what has happened and if you do not know what is going to happen next, at least reassure them that you have one another, that things can all be replaced and that the only way is up from here on.
There really aren’t any real secrets to to selecting a contractor. However, the biggest mistake a homeowner can make is to not check the contractor references. Naturally, common sense would say, “why would a contractor ever provide a reference that wasn’t going to give a “glowing” review?” This is true, which is why you need to know the right questions to asks of the referrals to fetter out the truth. Below are some suggestions of questions to ask, to help in the process:
- How was the project staffed?
- How were their payment requests submitted?
- Were there any change orders that resulted in additional expenses?
- How was the project supervision?
- Who did the contractor talk with the most throughout the project?
Ask about subcontractors! If they are using subcontractors, are they properly licensed. While you’re at it, ask about pulling proper permits. In doing so, ensures that the project is being done correctly.
Best of Luck!
Looking for some home remodeling advice for your home? Click on the link to read a great article from “This Old House” on remodeling.
If you’re in the Inland Empire/High Desert area in Southern California, and looking to have a patio cover built, making the decision of what and how to do it should not be taken lightly. What may seem as an incredibly easy decision, there are important choices that must be made in terms of what meets the needs of you and your family, and what is best for your home.
You will need to check in with your city code in terms of patio covers as well as the homeowners association in your area. If your patio cover is not up to code or regulations, the city can force you to remove it. The best thing to do is to hire a professionally licensed contractor to do the job for you. Hiring a contractor will ensure that your patio cover is up to code, as well as obtain the required permits. They will also have all the tools and materials that are needed in order to do the job right, which gives you the peace of mind that everything is taken care of. Because contractors do this for a living, they will also have great design ideas that will be perfect for your home, because they can speak from extensive experience.
When hiring a contractor, you want to make sure the company is reputable. A company in good standing will come to your home and provide you a written estimate at no charge. Be sure to also ask the contractor for references and look into their history and ask to see photos of previous work. A reputable and reliable contract will be insured, licensed, bonded, and provide you with a contract with all the terms and conditions clearly spelled out. Once the contract is signed and the hands are shook, you will be in for a smooth process with great rewards in the finished product.
Everyone here at S&S Construction & Restoration pride ourselves on not only our workmanship but safety as well…
Here are a few tips that will help keep your family safe-and your project running smoothly.
Keeping children safe
Home-remodeling construction areas can be very attractive to young children. Kids will often hang around work areas and ask the crew hundreds of questions. To keep the area safe, crews should restrict access to the areas they are working in by asking them not to pass the yellow tape. The homeowners and parents need to also take an active part in keeping children safe.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), recommends designating an area away from the work site for play and toy storage. Be sure to explain to your children which areas are off limits and that they should never play around with materials or with the contractors’ tools and machinery.
Communicating with your contractor is also very important. Before work begins, inform the contractor of the number of children in the house, their ages, and whether any are particularly mischief-prone.
Be sure to find out when large equipment and orders of building materials are being delivered. You might consider taking a family outing on those days if possible.
I’m sure this has never happened…but NARI suggests that parents do not leave children alone under a contractors’ care while going out to run errands. Your contractor is not your babysitter.
Control hazardous materials
Before your project starts, be aware of potentially toxic materials on the job site. Lead paint, asbestos, mold, and even dust could be health hazards during a remodel, especially if the project includes demolition. Keep children and pets out of areas where those hazards exist and away from toxic chemicals, such as paint strippers.
Make sure to ask your contractor what steps will be taken-to avoid creating indoor pollutants and how they will contain those that can’t be avoided.
Additional safety guidelines
- Assign separate doors – If possible, designate one entrance through which work crews carry tools and materials and another for you and your family to use exclusively during the project.
- Protect your pets – A dog or cat underfoot is a hazard to both you and your pet. Keep pets away from work areas, preferably in a closed room away from the supply-door entrance.
- Safely store tools and materials – Be sure your contractor keeps dangerous items, such as tools, ladders, and hazardous materials, out of children’s reach at all times, especially at the end of the workday.
- Securing the work area – Ensure that you or your contractor secure any holes or pits in the wall, floor, or yard at the end of the day.
- Hang plastic sheeting or tarps around the work area – This simple step helps prevent pollutants, dust, and debris from travelling throughout the house.
- Look for lead paint – The older your home, the greater the chance it has lead-based paint, a threat even if you’ve laid lead-free coats over it. If the paint is scraped, sanded, lead can become airborne and make it in to your body or contaminate the soil around your home. Children are especially vulnerable to dust that can get on toys and hands and, eventually, in the mouth. The first step is having the area tested for lead-based paint. The Environmental Protection Agency does not recommend home-use testing kits. Instead, it suggests hiring a trained inspector to test surfaces on-site. If lead-based paint is present, the agency recommends hiring a professional to prep the surface. The EPA’s brochure “Reducing Lead Hazards when Remodeling Your Home” offers suggestions on finding an inspector as well as information on what to look for in a remediation contractor.
- Mist surfaces – A fine coat of water sprayed on surfaces before sanding or scraping keeps dust from becoming airborne.
- Work outside – When at all possible, paint, stain, and finish building materials outside and bring them in after they are dry.
- Control carpet VOCs – Unroll and air carpets before installation, and use low-emitting adhesives if needed.
- Ventilate – Air out the work area and the rest of your home during and after a remodel. Position window fans so that they blow out instead of in. If your home has central air conditioning or heat, DO NOT run the systems when works are sanding or scraping. Also change the filters as often as once a week to keep dust from spreading throughout the house. The NARI also suggests that short getaways be planned while the home is airing out. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers guidelines on indoor-air-quality concerns during remodeling.
- Be aware of rodent droppings – Droppings are sometimes exposed during demolition and can spread viruses. Be sure to eliminate all of the droppings, taking proper precautions when doing so.
Deciding to e can be both exciting and a little frightening. You have a vision of how beautiful it will look when you are finished, but remodeling can be dangerous. All projects, big and small, have their hazards. As long as you take the proper precautions and educate yourself on the task at hand, the remodel should go pretty smoothly.