How To Clean Brick Chimney After Attic Fire?

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Old 12-26-12, 03:08 PM
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How To Clean Brick Chimney After Attic Fire?

We recently had a fire in the attic. The fire was contained to the attic but the living space below suffered severe water damage. We plan to demo the entire roof (top plate and up), gut the living space down to the studs and build back from there.

My question concerns the brick chimney. As you can see in the photo, the outside of the chimney was exposed to the fire and smoke in the attic. Otherwise the chimney is fine and I do not plan to demo the chimney.

What is the best way to clean the brick and seal in the smoke smell? I would rather not use a lot of water to clean the brick although using some water would be acceptable, e.g. using a pressure washer. (I am trying to protect a mantle below.) Is there a product available that would work good to clean the brick?

The same (or similar) situation exists at the brick in the gable ends. These brick will be taken down before the roof is removed and reused (unless the heat or smoke has made them unusable). Unlike the chimney brick, which must be cleaned in place, the brick from the gable ends can be cleaned anywhere.

I expect that I will end up painting the brick with Kilz to seal in the smoke smell. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance for the help.
 
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Old 12-26-12, 03:11 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Are you using a restoration company? Generally speaking, cleaning up after a fire is not a DIY job, as chemicals and equipment are needed which the homeowner typically cannot get.
 
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Old 12-26-12, 03:19 PM
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No, I am not using a restoration company. I will be the contractor on this job and will hire subs to to do pretty much all the work. I was a home builder several years ago and worked for a commercial general contractor before that. My work now focuses on other aspects of the house. So I feel like I am fully capable of tackling this job. I may very well work on this brick myself but, having never rebuilt a house after a fire, any constructive suggestions from others who may have been down this road before would be most appreciated.
 
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Old 12-26-12, 03:24 PM
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An ozone generator is often used after a fire to remove smoke smell.
 
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Old 12-31-12, 09:44 AM
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I don't hink an ozone generator will clean the smoke and soot off the brick. Perhaps this is not the right forum for my question. Thanks anyway.
 
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Old 12-31-12, 09:52 AM
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No, the ozone generator would be for the smell. I have no idea what you would want for the smoke and soot. Sorry.
 
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Old 12-31-12, 10:55 AM
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Check with a fireplace company. I'm pretty sure they have something for cleaning fireboxes...should work on the brick as well. Not sure how it would work with the smell though. I imagine just painting with a sealer might be an easier solution. Make sure you get the right type for your needs. Might want to post a brief question in the painting section.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 12:22 PM
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I wish I had paid more attention to the Mike Holmes special I had playing in the background a few nights ago.
They had covered a home restore after a fire and I do remember them touching on removing the smell. I barely remember they had used sealant in the attic area to lock in what couldn't be removed.

Sorry for no paying more attention.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 02:03 AM
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Good for you in keeping the restoration people out of the equation. The last (and only) experience I had with a restoration company following some basement flooding involved them charging more than $350 per hour, per person on the job. To make matters worse, they did a terrible job, and I wound up hiring a local handyman who corrected all the screw-ups, and was completely happy with just $20 an hour.

I had to pay a lawyer to get the restoration company to agree to reducing their bill by one-half, which was still absurd and exorbitant, based on the poor, un-magic service they provided.

Sorry I can't recommend a product for removing soot smell from bricks. Have you tried googling "removing soot smell from bricks"? There must be something out there that people have used successfully.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 04:49 AM
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I'm not sure what is best for cleaning the chimney either BUT one of the key procedures when doing fire work is - any porous surface that isn't replaced should be sealed with a solvent based primer! That prevents the smoke smell from returning during periods of high humidity. After removing and/or replacing any unusable wood, I'd spray the entire attic with an oil base primer including the brick. Latex paints/primers won't seal in the smoke damage.
 
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