Washing Your Home's Exterior after Massive Marshall Fire
Posted Mar 04, 2022
In our Boulder County many homes were tragically lost in Louisville and Superior to the Marshall fire earlier this year. Our community is shocked by the devastation, respectful of fire fighters and police who responded so professionally and courageously to the disaster, and humbled by the resilience and determination of our neighbors who lost so much but are taking steps forward to rebuild.
Families whose homes were spared will need to take care of the smoke, soot, ash and fire-retardant chemicals that spread through the fire zone. We recently were hired to wash a home in central Louisville, a home coated with smoke and soot.
While Karen's Company has cleaned the exterior of hundreds of houses in Boulder County over the past 25 years, we have not previously tackled the clean up of a home with such damage. Karen and her team put together a plan to coat the home's exterior with a cleaning mixture and then to wash the exterior of the home.
Our cleaning mixture was a diluted solution of Simple Green (1:1). After rinsing the house with water, we coated the siding, brick and trim with a cleaning solution applied by a pump sprayer (see the attached pictures where our employee Josh has the spraying unit strapped on his back). We then used bristle brushes to scrub the siding, trim and brick. After letting the cleaning solution sit for a short while, but were careful not to let the solution dry. We then used our pressure washing unit to thoroughly wash the house.
Karen thought the treatment was very effective. It was interesting that the pressure washing without detergent didn't really take much of the soot off the house. "The water pretty much came off the house clear initially, but after we applied the cleaner and scrubbed it, the water from the pressure washing step came off black".
The homeowners were very pleased with the cleaned up house! The treatment did not have any detrimental effect on the house's exterior paint. (We did take the opportunity to apply fresh paint to a couple of window casings which had previously peeling paint, unrelated to the fire ).
We wiped down the exterior windows after the pressure washing to minimize the streaks on the windows, but we would encourage the homeowners to hire a professional window cleaners who specialize in that service.
Karen also had the team vacuum the fire related debris from the homes window wells at the foundastion of the home.
We are not insurance experts, but if your property is in a contamination zone, your homeowner insurance will likely provide coverage for smoke, soot and ash damage. There can be exceptions, however, so it is important to understand what can be covered, what cannot, and to try and understand your policy.
Attached are pictures of our efforts - We appreciate the efforts of Alyssa, Thunder, and Josh last week to do the cleaning on this late winter date.
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