Dry-Ice Blasting to Restore Fire Damage

Outdoor house fires account for more than $30 million in property damage each year. The leading cause is barbeque grills too close to the house. To simulate such a disaster, we torched our patio with war-grade flamethrowers.
DDHS110_Ice-Blasting-Fire-Damage_s4x3

DDHS110_Ice-Blasting-Fire-Damage_s4x3

Ice blasting the area where the fire damaged the porch on this home on Disaster House.

Our patio fire was ignited with a war-grade flamethrower. Because it was a very hot, quick burn, most of the patio’s beams and framework were not structurally compromised. Before you repair a structure that has acquired fire damage, you must have a professional assess what is restorable. They will check the framework and beams for heavy charring or cracks. If heavily damaged, these sections will need to be replaced.

When repairing interior fire damage, an ozone generator can be used to neutralize the smoke odor.

Fire restoration is one of the most difficult DIY fixes. Getting a structure to look and smell like it did pre-fire is a daunting task. Plus, trying to determine if a wood structure is sound can be almost impossible if it is heavily charred. One technique that can remove char while maintaining the substrate is called dry-ice blasting. It can only be done by professionals. To do this, they use recycled-industrial carbon-dioxide (known as RICE) pellets that are kept at a constant 115-degrees Fahrenheit. The pellets are fed into a hopper then an air compressor pushes the pellets out of a long barrel onto the damaged sections. The force of the pellets is similar to sand blasting. As the pellets hit the burnt areas they sublimate, turning from a solid to a gas and expanding about 800 times in volume acting like thousands of micro-explosions on the surface. This strips away the char while salvaging the underlying substrate.

After dry ice blasting, the burnt area can be evaluated and determined if it needs to be replaced or can be repaired. If it can be repaired, a fire restoration expert will paint the area with a primer/sealant. This will encapsulate and seal the smoke smell, while simultaneously acting as a primer that will allow new paint to be applied. An alternative to dry-ice blasting is sanding the damaged wood down to remove the char and then proceeding with a primer/sealant. However, sanding can be very time consuming and the structure still may need to be replaced.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Clean Up After a Grease Fire

Grease fires can do damage to more than just the kitchen – the whole house will need to be cleaned. Find tips on how to undo the damage.

Fire Safety Tips

From sawdust to paint thinner, workshops are filled with fire hazards. Keep these fire safety tips in mind to avoid workshop fires.

5 Easy Ways to Prevent a Grease Fire

Grease fires can get out of hand in seconds and stopping them requires quick thinking. Spraying water is the last thing you should do.

How to Identify Moisture Problem Spots

Knowing the common moisture sources in a home is the first step to combating household mold. Our checklist will help you investigate.

How to Survive a Hurricane

Keep yourself–and your family and home–safe during the toughest of storms.

How to Inspect Your Deck to See If It Needs Repair

An annual inspection helps keep decking repair to a minimum.

Automotive Workshop: Blasting Cabinets

If a full-scale automotive restoration is in your future, check out the various types of blasting cabinets to incorporate into the workshop layout.

Restoring Peace to the Family Bathroom

Our guide shows some small steps you can take to remodel your bathroom into a more functional space.

Turn Your Attention to Your Outdoor To-Do List

Get some fresh air while you get your house ready for summer.

Tips on How to Make a Home "Handi-capable"

Check out a few of the ADA guidelines for making a user-friendly home.

On TV

Garage Gold

7am | 6c

I Hate My Bath

7:30am | 6:30c

Mega Dens

8am | 7c

Renovation Realities

8:30am | 7:30c

Yard Crashers

9:30am | 8:30c

Yard Crashers

10am | 9c

Yard Crashers

10:30am | 9:30c

Yard Crashers

11am | 10c

Yard Crashers

11:30am | 10:30c

Yard Crashers

12pm | 11c

Yard Crashers

12:30pm | 11:30c

Yard Crashers

1pm | 12c

Yard Crashers

1:30pm | 12:30c

Yard Crashers

2:30pm | 1:30c

Yard Crashers

3:30pm | 2:30c

Wood Work

4pm | 3c

Wood Work

4:30pm | 3:30c

Wood Work

5pm | 4c

Wood Work

5:30pm | 4:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Texas Flip and Move

8pm | 7c

Elbow Room

4:30am | 3:30c

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.