Fire damage advice

Cajun_RobDecember 1, 2002

I'm renovating a house that has had fire damage. The damage began on the 2nd floor and did little damage to the downstairs. Replacing charred wood will have us replace about 30-40% of the roof rafters and decking. Much of the roof that is not charred is black from smoke. What should I do to that wood to eliminate any smoke smell? I've heard you should spray every piece of wood with evidence of smoke damage with Kiltz. Someone else mentioned doing the same thing with (I think) zinc oxide.

We're about 1/2 of the way through the repair and the smoke smell hasn't reduced that much and I'm beggining to worry if it will ever come out.

Any help with this problem and recommendations on fire damage repair in general would be appreciated.


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Instead of using KILZ, which is oil based, use a product called BIN. It's made by a company called Zinnser, and is available at any hardware store or home center. It's a shellac based product which will seal in any smell left over from the fire. Also, it's real thin, so you can run it through a sprayer easily. I think you're better off spraying if you have access to a compressor and gun, or even one of those cheap Wagner sprayers. If you tried brushing or rolling all the rafters, studs, sheathing, etc., it would take forever.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2002 at 8:50PM
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You won't get it out. Period.

We had a house fire in November, and we ended up knocking our house down to the ground and starting from scratch. The house had no structural damage, but there was massive smoke damage, and we can still smell it coming off of the ground outside the house even though all of the burned material has been taken away.
House fires are nasty, and the smoke that comes from them is not even remotely related to the smoke that comes from any other fire.
I hope it works out, and I would definitely go with the Bin over the Kilz if that's the route you go for.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2004 at 12:32AM
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Hope you're still here. We had an extensive house fire 15 months ago, with structural damage and the house has been locked down tight due to various reasons for all this time. The smoke damage was so bad that we know that the only way the smell will ever be eliminated is to gut the house. That may not even work.

15 mo later, the house still reeks. You're right, there is nothing like it. We are building new and will eventually sell the other house as is. Probably to a contractor who will hopefully try to remove the smell and not cover it up or seal it in. Impossible.

Sorry to hear about your fire.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2004 at 8:06PM
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blsdgal - yes, I am still around - and still dealing with stinky stuff from the fire. We have stuff that has been sitting in the outdoors since November, and it still is oily, smelly, and coated with fire "yuck".

Until you've been through it, you don't understand it, huh?

I hope things turn out for you!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2004 at 11:56PM
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Fire remediation companies have ozone chambers to remove the smell. It does work, but can be pricey. Talk to the insurance company.
Plain old shellac will seal in the smell if you can apply a good coat.
Demolition is sometimes the only practical way.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2004 at 4:56PM
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I recently bought a home where the garage has fire damage and smells horrible. If i spray kilz or bin on it, do I need to do any prep work beforehand? i.e., scrub, wash, etc. I'd rather not.... but if i have to what should i use/do?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 10:18PM
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Hi i have a question--i hope someone can answer it!! I 've been to just about every web page there is but here goes. My husband and i are looking at this bankruptcy house and the realtor said that he had heard there was fire damage but he doesnt know to what extent. There obviously was some kind of damage but the house is all redone and everything so i'm hoping and guessing that it was just in one or two of the rooms. They have plaster on them and this house is a modular that sits on a basement. The basement is VERY well built and i guess my question is that if it was damaged by fire, would it be possible to maybe view the insurance record or how would we find out for sure if it was damage and not tear down the house? Thank you i know this is long...but thank you, anything at all would be more than helpful !

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 3:50PM
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google choicepoint CLUES. you can pull a claim history on the house.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 5:34PM
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My house caught fire 4/3/08. I have two brand new Sony LCD flat screens with heavy smoke damage. No heat damage. Can they be restored to new? Anybody with an experience?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 11:17AM
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the carbon in the smoke will screw up the electronics. whtehr it did in your case, who know. your insurance will wan tot just replace them.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 5:08PM
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Ozone generators can be rented from many of your local equipment rental companies and they are simple to use and remarkably effective in nuetralizing fire related odors. My daughters house recently suffered extensive fire damage and we used an ozone generator for about a week. The smoke odor is completely gone. Although we will still have to gut the house, the odor is no longer a problem.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 12:53AM
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The orginal post is from 2002. I sure hope the damage is repaired by now.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 3:08PM
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Two months ago, we had a kitchen fire. The cabinets and wall above the stove suffered extensive damage, and we also had smoke damage. It is two months later and the landlord has not done any repairs. We have been living in the home and now we are starting to experience headaches. What are the effects of living in the home damaged by a fire, even if contained to one room?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 9:56PM
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Some reason you didn't start a new post?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 9:38AM
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I agree with texasredhead, start a new thread. However, itâÂÂs important you read this.

Studies show fire fighters have higher rates of cancers due to their work. The cancers are due to the exposure to many toxic and carcinogenic chemicals from the fires they fight and clean up.

In a building fire there are chemicals in plastics, foam furniture, appliances, insulation, computers, TVâÂÂs and many other items. When these items burn, carcinogens are put into the smoke and soot.

If you are living in areas where you can see soot and smell fire, you are likely inhaling and ingesting these chemicals. These chemicals can even be absorbed through your skin.

Is this the cause of your health issues, maybe but I would make other living arrangements.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 8:26PM
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