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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Understand Why Black Cobwebs Are On the Ceiling After A Fire

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

close up shot of a soot web after a fire Contact the soot and smoke cleaning professionals today!

Soot webs are also known as black cobwebs

You may have seen some black webs dangling in ceiling corners if you have ever been to a property that just had a fire disaster. They seem to be cobwebs coated with soot at first sight. The majority of our customers would comment on their lack of cleaning ability. Luckily, these "webs" aren't really webs from a spider.

Our fire restoration experts have seen quite a number of fire-damaged properties. When it comes to the ceilings and walls, the extent of the damage can be evident. However, sometimes, the most severe damage is hidden in attics or between walls; it is undetectable until we dive in with further inspection. The black spider webs that come out of nowhere just after a fire are among the most apparent fire damage indicators.

What are the black cobwebs after a fire?

Soot webs, also known as soot marks, are formed when ionized soot particles attach and stick together. Soot particles are most common in ceiling corners, where the surfaces and air are colder. If you come across soot webs in your house, don't touch them because they're very sticky.

Soot webs, also known as "Black Cobwebs," are often confused as spider webs. These spider webs are known as "Soot Tags" and have nothing to do with real spider webs. In the case of a fire, spider webs will burn up very quickly.

The science behind soot webs

When petroleum-based or synthetic materials catch fire, black cobwebs, also known as soot tags, are formed. Soot forms and binds together in long strands during a fire, resulting in black web creation on ceilings and corners. 

The heat from a fire travels into cooler regions; as the air tries to maintain the equilibrium. Since soot is transported through the air with heat, soot particles accompany the air into cooler areas with weak circulation and then concentrate.

The ionization process of burning (especially) synthetic materials such as polymers and rubbers, produces charged smoke particles that can attract onto specific surfaces and to each other, developing chains and gradually web-like formations. They form in conditions known as wet smoke, which includes low heat or a smoldering environment.

In short, soot is a combustion product, and when the particles are charged, they quickly form soot tags or long chains of soot marks. So, while it seems like a bunch of soot got caught on old spider webs, it's a completely new structure.

What is the best way to clean up soot?

If soot webs go untreated, the acidic particles in the soot will damage your property and appliances. Homeowners should keep in mind that they should never try removing it themselves without proper chemicals as it can cause further damage to the walls and ceilings. 

When it comes to smoke damage on surfaces, our technicians take the following measures to ensure that the best cleaning agents are chosen:

  • Testing whether they're dealing with wet or dry smoke residues.
  • Scoping of services to make sure that cleaning methods chosen do not harm surfaces
  • Using specialized tools, like chemical sponges designed to remove soot

To start the soot cleaning and stage smoke reduction of our fire damage restoration procedure, SERVPRO will use air scrubbers with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters to clear impurities and odors from the air.

Following that, our professionals will use HEPA vacuums to effectively trap ash, soot webs, and dust spores that have blanketed your walls and ceilings. SERVPRO will also use approved chemicals to disinfect and extract odors from both horizontal and vertical surfaces of the contaminated region as a precaution.

Why contact SERVPRO

No fire damage is the best sort of fire damage. SERVPRO is a renowned company in the industry, and it has been serving customers in Atlanta since 1967. If you want your everyday life to be normal again after you have suffered fire and smoke damage, SERVPRO of Downtown Atlanta is the most reliable option for you. 

While we hope you never encounter soot damage in your home, and if you do, call our fire damage restoration team to make the fire "Like it never even happened."

Our team is fully equipped with state-of-the-art tools and has the knowledge and experience in restoring fire damage in no time. We offer 24/7 emergency services to our customers, so contact us today!

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