It’s a relief after a fire to discover that some items weren’t affected by the flames and smoke. Those hinges and metal doors are fine! Right? Well, not exactly. They may look normal immediately after a fire but if left untouched, they’ll soon show fine pitting, corrosion and metal degradation.
Soot and smoke residue are very acidic and cause irreversible damage if not removed promptly from metal surfaces. Plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, knobs, stainless appliances, cutlery – anything metal requires quick attention and a thorough scrubbing with the right cleaning agents. This treatment will likely be needed for metal in areas far distant from the flames, too, due to the unique air circulation a fire creates.
During a fire, heat moves toward cold as atmospheric equilibrium occurs: rising temperatures in one area push heated air toward areas that are cooler. As the heat travels, it carries smoke and soot throughout the structure, even pressing it into enclosed spaces if they are not completely airtight. In fact, firefighters have found smoke residue inside freezers! Convection, another law of nature, also pushes heat and accompanying smoke upward through the structure.
In sum, most metal items in a fire-damaged structure require treatment to avoid corrosion. Failing to remove acidic residue can have far-reaching consequences long after the flames are doused – a door with failing hinges can injure a resident, for example, or piping within a commercial structure may require replacement after pitting degrades it beyond repair. Early in the restoration process, Allstate Restoration technicians protect metal items by using special degreasers and dry treated sponges to remove oily and dry residue deposited by fire.