Types of Smoke Damage and What Causes Them

While all smoke might appear the same at first glance, there are actually several different types of homeowners should be aware of. Each kind of smoke damage is caused by when a specific kind of material is burned, and the lasting damage they each leave behind can vary as well. Here’s an overview of four different types of smoke damage and what causes them.

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke is produced by high-temperature fires that consume organic matter rapidly, leaving behind a fine powdery residue. Compared to other types of smoke, dry smoke is easier to clean as it doesn’t stain surfaces as much — however, its smaller particles can penetrate porous materials such as painted walls and wood furniture, which can be more challenging to remove.

Dry smoke damage refers to the lingering smell and invisible damage caused by smoke particles.

Even the smallest fire can produce enough dry smoke to cause significant smoke damage, including smoke odor. This is why it’s essential to remove it promptly, as it can affect not only the physical structure of the house but also the health of its occupants due to the potential presence of carbon monoxide. It’s best to reach out to a smoke damage restoration company equipped with the proper tools to clean smoke damage, as using the wrong cleaning agent can result in permanent damage.

Wet Smoke

Wet smoke is the result of smoldering, low-heat fires. It contains a high proportion of soot particles, leading to thick, sticky smoke residue. This type of smoke is particularly damaging as it can permeate porous surfaces and is difficult to remove, often requiring professional cleaning. The persistent odor and smoke damage affects everything from structural elements to soft surfaces like carpets, curtains, and even clothing.

Wet smoke can cause considerable smoke damage, staining materials and leaving behind a smoke smell that can negatively impact porous surfaces such as hardwood floors and other similar materials. Restoring items from wet smoke damage can be challenging, which is why it’s important to act fast to minimize permanent damage.

Protein Smoke

Protein smoke, often the result of food or other organic matter catching fire, is invisible but has a strong, offensive odor and can discolor paints and varnishes. Protein smoke differs from other types of smoke in that it can go unnoticed by the untrained eye due to the absence of soot particles.

However, its impact is substantial, as the smoke and soot residue can discolor walls, permanently stain materials, and even metal surfaces can sustain visible and physical damage resulting from this type of smoke. Cleaning processes such as wiping with a dry cleaning sponge, hot water, or special cleaning agents can be used to eliminate the lingering smell, but professional cleaning is often necessary due to the extent of the damage.

Fuel Smoke

Fuel smoke, also known as petroleum residue, results from fires involving oil-based substances. It’s one of the most hazardous types of smoke damage, as it poses a serious health hazard due to the presence of toxic substances. The physical damage caused by fuel smoke is often severe, too, as black soot residue adheres strongly to surfaces — causing lasting and potentially permanent damage.

Fuel smoke can even adhere to non-porous materials such as metal surfaces, and removing it often involves a complex cleaning process requiring special equipment and professional smoke damage restoration services. Even the smallest fire that involves fuels can lead to substantial smoke damage, affecting everything from walls to prized possessions.

No Matter What Type of Smoke Damage You Have, We Can Remove It

Regardless of which kind of smoke damage your home or business has experienced, it’s important to have it cleaned up as soon as possible — and our team will be happy to help. At ServiceMaster Restore, we offer fire and smoke restoration services in Reading, PA, and the surrounding region, as well as other forms of assistance like tree removal. For more information and to schedule your service, contact us today.

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