How To Clean Fire-Damaged Brick Walls

Tuesday 14th November 2023

Ellen Warren

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A fire-damaged brick wall

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After a fire, seeing nothing but soot-streaked brickwork and destruction can be overwhelming and a health hazard. While it may be tempting to clean brickwork yourself, it can be risky to scrub it clean, exposing you to various health hazards.

Here at ICE Cleaning, our specialists can conduct fire cleaning services, attacking soot damage and poor air quality at the source. Our efficient technology can scrub your property's air and eliminate soot from all surfaces, including fire-damaged brick. 

Read on to learn more about how heat and smoke interact with brick walls and how it can cause structural damage.

Understanding fire damage on brick walls

Fire damage on brick walls is a complex issue. Not only can it alter the appearance of your home, but it can also affect its structural integrity. When a fire breaks out, bricks endure extreme heat and smoke exposure.

The intense heat from a fire causes thermal expansion in the brickwork. They swell and contract rapidly, which could lead to cracking or spalling – where bits of brick fall off from steam pressure inside them. Over time, the damage to bricks caused by fire can become irreversible.

Smoke residue is another concern with fire-damaged bricks, creating potential health risks linked with inhaling soot particles. Additionally, these residues might attract moisture, leading to further issues like mould growth.

Can brick walls resist fire damage?

Brick can indeed withstand high temperatures because of its robust and non-combustible nature. This quality makes it a popular choice for fire-resistant construction.

However, this does not mean your brick walls will be unscathed from a fire. When exposed to extreme heat and smoke over time, bricks can undergo physical changes such as cracking or spalling, where pieces break off. These damages could affect the structural integrity of your building.

In addition, soot and smoke residues are likely to stick on the surface of bricks after a fire incident - creating both aesthetic issues and potential health risks due to their toxicity.

What can happen to brick after a fire?

When a fire ravages your property, brick walls can suffer. The high temperatures and soot from the flames can cause bricks to crack. Soot accumulation on bricks discolours them and leaves behind an unpleasant odour. 

Additionally, smoke damage might leave acidic residues that degrade the brick over time if left untreated. The building's structural integrity may be compromised in worst-case scenarios due to prolonged exposure to intense heat, causing significant thermal expansion in bricks.

It is crucial for homeowners dealing with fire-damaged walls to visually inspect their homes post-fire and seek professional help for comprehensive assessments.

Can you clean fire-damaged brick walls yourself?

It might seem tempting to clean fire-damaged brick walls, but it is not a task for the untrained. The danger lies in potentially causing further damage or even harming yourself. Incorrect methods can cause lasting harm to your property and may end up costing you more down the line.

Experts know different types of brick and how they react to various cleaning processes and access to specialised equipment. They know what works best on types of damage without risking any further harm.

While DIY approaches may seem appealing initially due to their perceived cost-effectiveness, when dealing with something as complex and potentially hazardous as fire-damaged brickwork, seeking professional help is the safer option.

What are the risks of fire damage?

Fire damage poses risks to brickwork and the inhabitants of a property, with one risk being structural instability. Smoke residue also seeps into porous surfaces like bricks, which discolours them and leaves behind a strong smell that is difficult to remove without professional help.

Smoke particles can get lodged in the brickwork long after a fire has been extinguished. These toxic residues may affect indoor air quality and lead to respiratory issues among occupants. Chronic exposure to these residues may lead to health conditions like:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
  • Heart disease
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Aggravated asthma

What to do after a fire has damaged your home

When a fire has damaged your home, it is important to know the steps you need to take next. First, do not rush back in, as there could be risks lurking inside. Contact your insurer for guidance and access resources for alternative housing, as the fire may have made your home unsafe or uninhabitable. 

Your insurance company can guide you through what needs to be done and provide resources for temporary accommodation. The brick walls of your property will likely have suffered from extreme heat and smoke exposure, which can cause structural instability over time if left untreated. 

Enlist professional help that specialises in fire damage cleaning and air quality treatment. Do not try to clean up yourself - it is dangerous, and you risk causing more harm than good without proper training or equipment.

Frequently asked questions

Can fire damage brick walls?

While bricks can withstand high heat, they are not invincible. Extreme temperatures and smoke from a fire can lead to discolouration and structural damage.

How do you remove fire damage from brick walls?

Cleaning off the soot and grime yourself is risky. It is best to call in professionals who use specialised equipment for safe removal.

How do you fix a fire-damaged wall?

To fix a burnt wall, you need an expert restoration team. They will assess the severity of the damage before deciding whether to repair or replace it entirely.

Can brick be reused after a fire?

If properly assessed by experts and found structurally sound, some bricks may be reused post-fire, but this should always follow professional guidance.

Get in touch

At ICE Cleaning, we specialise in fire damage clean-up services. We can clean fire damage off your brick walls with our innovative technology and industrial-grade solutions, effectively removing all traces of soot and smoke particles.

Our friendly support team can assist you if you require emergency cleaning services. We offer round-the-clock support and guidance, stationed nationwide to help you 24/7, regardless of where you are. Get in touch with us at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk, and one of our agents will get back to you.

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