According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire fighters responded to 1.35 Million fires in the United States last year. The cause of these fires vary from grease fires while cooking to electrical overload on dated wiring. Industrial and Commercial property owners lose billions of dollars every year due to fire damage, but the majority of properties that get damaged are not a total loss. Most surfaces that suffer fire and smoke damage including brick, stone, and wood can be cleaned using Sponge Media™.
Fires cause a range of damage to wood beams. Smokes rises, which means beams several floors above the fire source can become stained with soot from the smoke. Beams closer to the fire in the building will darken from smoldering. Wood near the source of the flames will have likely ignited, leaving behind an outer layer of charred wood.
Before any restoration work can be done, a structural engineer must assess the integrity of the beams, and will recommend either replacement or restoration. Allowable stress tests may be administered to portions of the beams to determine if they are still suitable for support. Frequently, the choice to salvage will be determined by how long a fire burns - the longer and hotter the fire, the less likely that the beams will maintain their structural integrity.
If the structural engineer approves beam restoration, Sponge Media can be used to restore the beams in place, without taking the beam down. Sponge Media can be used to treat the full range of wood beam fire damage, from smoke damage to heavy charring. As seen in the video below, Sponge Media quickly removes char from fire damage - sometimes as fast as 33-56m² (350-600 ft² per hour.)
This blog is part of a series on fire damage cleaning and restoration. Fire damage can impact a variety of surfaces including wood, metal, and masonry. Fires can happen anywhere, from factories and industrial settings to commercial and institutional buildings.