Household fires are one of the most unfortunate facts of everyday life. When a fire strikes, it has the potential to damage all of your valuable property, including your contemporary and antique furniture. Fire damage can seriously degrade the usefulness of your furniture pieces, as well as their aesthetic appearance. Fortunately, a highly skilled repair and restoration service can correct most of the problems caused by direct exposure to open flames, as well as other related issues caused by smoke, soot and the water used to bring a fire under control. For 40 years, the residents of Southern California have entrusted their fire-damaged furniture to the expert care of Rahn’s Furniture Restoration.
What Happens to Your Furniture During and After a Fire
During a fire, the worst possible scenario for your furniture is direct contact with flames. This type of contact will scorch or burn your wood furniture and soften or melt furniture made from metal or synthetic materials such as plastic or Plexiglas. In addition, open flames will typically burn your fabric and vinyl upholstery, and scorch or burn your leather upholstery.
However, it’s crucial to note that significant fire damage can also occur in furniture pieces never directly touched by open flames. That’s because the burning of other materials in your home will produce something called soot, a combustion residue made mostly from very fine particles of carbon. In the immediate aftermath of a fire, this residue will start settling on your furniture, even in areas not located near the fire itself. Soot often has an acidic quality, and in addition to permanently discoloring any material with a porous surface, it can create superficial discoloration on nonporous surfaces, as well as corrosion, rusting and pitting in metal surfaces. Smoke and soot also typically leave behind foul, penetrating odors that can be quite difficult to eliminate.
Fire-related water damage and chemical damage are additional factors to consider. When firefighters combat a fire, they commonly use large volumes of water, and may also use some type of chemical flame retardant. Depending on the level of exposure, water-related damage caused by firefighters can include anything from light surface staining or discoloration to mold, mildew and the formation of surface-penetrating black spots or a white haze known as blushing. The nature of fire-related chemical damage varies according to the specific types of retardant substances used to control a blaze.
Professional Restoration Is Key
After a fire, insurance companies will commonly try to minimize their losses by asking you to get in contact with a home restoration company. However, in most cases, the types of restorers recommended by insurance companies are generalists. This means that they can restore or replace a broad range of household structures and systems, including such things as roofs, ceilings, drywall, framing and carpeting. However, it also means that these general contractors have no specialized focus on how to address any damage affecting your treasured contemporary and antique furniture pieces.
The importance of this distinction cannot be overemphasized. Simply put, a general restoration contractor lacks the expertise needed to properly assess the condition of your fire-damaged furniture. A general contractor also lacks the skill set required to determine the most effective way to repair or restore your damaged furniture, as well as the skills required to carry out a repair or restoration that brings back your furniture’s usefulness and signature look. In clear contrast, a well-trained furniture restoration expert has spent years or even decades developing the crucial know-how that ensures proper assessment of fire-related damage. The same level of expertise applies to the development of an appropriate course to address this damage, as well as the performance of a repair or restoration job that meets your high standards for excellence and durability.
At Rahn’s Furniture Restoration, we specialize in the repair and restoration of furniture directly or indirectly damaged during a fire. For every antique or contemporary fire-damaged piece, we use a thorough assessment process to look for large, small and potentially hidden issues. Based on the information we gather, and the materials and construction methods used in making the piece, we develop a comprehensive repair or restoration plan that takes all discovered issues into account. Finally, we use the very best materials to carry out every detail of that plan.
Repairing Fire-Damaged Wood Furniture
The techniques we use to repair your fire-damaged wood furniture depend on the extent of damage present. Surface issues can usually be successfully addressed by sanding and refinishing the affected areas or the entire piece. In many situations, our repair and restoration professionals can replace furniture sections directly damaged by flame. If suitable replacements are not already available, we have the expertise and equipment required to fabricate any needed new sections.
Repairing Fire-Damaged Furniture Upholstery
In some cases, it’s possible to clean fire-damaged furniture upholstery not directly impacted by flame. Our restorers can use any one of a number of cleaning products specially designed for this purpose. However, replacement is often the only real option for upholstery in a house affected by fire. Generally speaking, leather upholstery has a higher chance of surviving than fabric or vinyl upholstery. We use a special process to clean and recondition fire-damaged leather.
Repairing Fire-Related Water and Chemical Damage
The techniques used to repair fire-related water and chemical damage also vary from situation to situation. Light surface damage may require nothing more than a thorough polishing job. On the other hand, our staff will need to address more extensive problems caused by mold, mildew, black spots or blushing by stripping, sanding and/or refinishing the affected areas. An application of bleach is also required to deal successfully with black spots. Crucially, we have the expertise required to repair the damaged areas of your furniture while preserving the look of the unaffected areas.
Call on the Fire Damage Experts
Since the mid-1970s, the experts at Rahn’s Furniture Restoration have repaired and restored thousands of fire-damaged furniture pieces for households throughout Orange County and Los Angeles County. We’ve built our rock-solid reputation on a mixture of extensive training and know-how, peerless customer service and onsite facilities that allow us to personally handle even the most severe fire-related issues. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and learn more about our in-home pickup program.