After a fire, your priority is assessing the damage and ensuring your family is safe. Once you have a repair plan, it’s time to start thinking about your flooring. In many cases, fire damage isn’t just limited to charred wood and soot. The water firefighters use to extinguish the flames can also lead to damage, leaving you with warped floors and water stains.
If it is severe, you may need to hire professionals (read about that here). If you’re dealing with minor post-fire flooring problems, here are a few tips on how to bring your wooden floors back to life:
Remove all of the damaged floorings.
This includes any boards that are charred or warped, as well as any nails or screws that may have come loose. Make sure to wear gloves and a dust mask to avoid inhaling any harmful particles.
Thoroughly vacuum or sweep the area.
Use a vacuum cleaner or broom to remove any soot, dust, or debris from the floor. If possible, open up all windows to help ventilate the room and speed up the cleaning process.
Clean the floor with a diluted vinegar solution.
Mix one part vinegar with four parts water in a bucket. Use a mop or sponge to apply the solution to the floor, being careful not to saturate the wood. You may need to do this several times to remove all of the grime and stains.
Moreover, it helps to know the different types of wooden floors, so you would know how to treat them. Here are the most common types:
- Hardwood floors. These are the most common type of wooden floors and are made from various kinds of wood, including oak, maple, and cherry. Hardwood floors are long-lasting and easy to clean but can be damaged by water and heat.
- Engineered wood floors. These floors are made from a thin layer of real wood atop a plywood or particle board substrate. They’re more resistant to water and heat than hardwood floors but can still be damaged if exposed to excessive moisture or heat.
- Laminate floors. These have a plywood or particle board base with a laminate surface. They are more resistant to moisture and heat than hardwood and engineered wood floors. Though they are more resistant to scratches, they can still be damaged from scratches.
- Vinyl floors. They have a vinyl surface and are made from various materials, including PVC, fiberglass, and nylon. These wooden floors are durable and easy to clean but can be damaged by heat and sharp objects.
- Linoleum floors. These are made from linseed oil and wood flour and are sealed with a wax coating. They are resistant to moisture but can be scratched easily.
Use a soft-bristled brush for stubborn stains and burn marks.
If the vinegar solution doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, you can try scrubbing the stains with a soft-bristled brush. Avoid using too much force, as you don’t want to damage the wood.
Rinse the floor with clean water.
After cleaning, use a mop or sponge to rinse the floor with clean water. This will remove any residual vinegar and dirt from the surface.
Dry the floor completely.
Use towels or a wet/dry vacuum to remove any excess water from the floor. You may open the windows to help ventilate the area. Once the surface is dry, you can begin repairing any damaged boards or sanding down burned areas.
Apply a new finish.
Apply a new finish once the floor is clean and dry. This helps protect the wood from future damage and gives it a fresh, new look. You can choose from various finishes, including oil-based polyurethanes, water-based polyurethanes, stains, and waxes. Always make it a habit to read the labels carefully to avoid further damage.
Consider hiring professionals.
If the damage is extensive or you don’t have the time, you may want to consider hiring professionals, such as this restoration company in AZ, to help with the repairs and cleanup. They have the experience, tools, and knowledge to complete the job quickly and efficiently.