Fire Damage to Wood Framing
Fire damage to wood framing is often difficult to determine, but in general, unfinished wood retains structural integrity. This is because finished wood is finished to prevent damage from staining and moisture. However, fire damage to wood framing occurs in stages, beginning with smoke and soot. Smoke and soot blacken the surface of the wood, making it more prone to water penetration. Water evaporates rapidly from unfinished wood, which makes it more prone to decay.
While assessing fire damage to wood framing, an investigator must consider the length of the fire. As a rule, the longer the fire has been, the less likely it is that the material will retain structural integrity. In addition, heat-exposed wood materials may have lowered their point of combustion. Depending on the severity of the fire and the duration, the fire damage assessment may indicate that the wood material should be replaced or repaired.
While cleaning the wood may be necessary to remove any lingering odors, fire damage requires a special treatment. Once soaked in fire-damaged water, the wood may be treated with an oil-based paint or gel stain. These paints and sealers have a protective layer that will keep odors away and prevent the wood from staining again. Nevertheless, it is important to consider the amount of smoke-damaged wood in the home before applying a sealer.
Proper treatment is essential in fire-damaged wood, as untreated combustion residues can cause corrosion and serious structural problems. Additionally, the smoke can cause respiratory problems, so it is important to get the proper fire damage repair. The process begins with a thorough inspection of the structure to make sure there are no structural flaws. For the fire damaged wood to be completely restored, a restoration company must assess the extent of the damage and assess the scope of repairs.
The first step in fire damaged wood repair is neutralizing the smell of smoke and removing any damaged wallboards. After the odor has been neutralized, the wood must be cleaned thoroughly to remove any traces of fire residue. Once the damage is removed, it must be refinished to restore its original beauty. A fire damage restoration company will perform this process and will board up the home to protect the structure from further weather damage.
Post-fire evaluation of dimensional lumber differs from that of timbers and glulams. Fortunately, mass timber is generally safer than steel in fire. Since wood burns slowly, it seals the interior and protects the unburned wood beneath it. Further, the char formed on the surface of the wood protects the unburned wood below it and preserves its structure. However, there is still a significant risk of fire damage to wood framing.
Another common problem associated with wood frame construction is shrinkage. When dry, wood frames can shrink up to a quarter inch per floor, which translates to around 1.25 inches when fully loaded. Moisture exposure to wood also leads to the growth of mold, which can cause allergic reactions and other problems. Furthermore, mold may also negatively impact indoor air quality. This can lead to a building that is not energy-efficient.