LESLIE: Isabelle in New York needs some help with a flooring question. What can we do for you?
ISABELLE: How can I effectively remove the soot in – that is inside the grain of a wooden floor?
TOM: OK. Have – your building had a fire, Isabelle?
ISABELLE: Yes, yes. I live in an apartment building and was a fire in the apartment below and the smoke went through the floors and the walls.
ISABELLE: And the restoration company already went and did some cleaning. They cleaned it with a dirty mop with warm water and a few drops of Murphy’s Oil.
TOM: That doesn’t sound like it’s going to work at all.
ISABELLE: I know, I know. I (inaudible at 0:02:47.7).
TOM: Isabelle, does the restoration company – are they working for your insurance company or is it the landlord’s or what?
ISABELLE: Well, my insurance company.
TOM: OK. You know what I would do? Do you have a private insurance adjuster working for you?
ISABELLE: Yes. The one that is working – well, for me or the insurance company?
TOM: No, no, listen to me. The insurance company themselves will send in their own adjuster but that …
TOM: … adjuster has the insurance company’s needs in mind. If you hire a private adjuster, they’re there …
TOM: … for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to make sure that you are taken care of. They work on a percentage of the claim, so they’re going to try to get you as much money and as much services as possible.
TOM: Isabelle, the key when you’re cleaning a wood surface is you have to be very gentle because you can’t overwhelm it with too much water …
TOM: … because you’ll cause water damage; you’ll cause the wood to swell and so on. So usually, it’s done through repeated, gentle cleanings. Now, there are probably also some applications that can take out some of the smoke smell but it’s a matter of physically removing the carbon first and then sealing in what’s left.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And because soot is so greasy, you need some sort of detergent that’s a degreaser.
TOM: I would recommend that you go back to the insurance company. If they want to try a different restoration company, go ahead and do that. You know, I know that Service Magic does a lot of smoke restoration. They have a pretty good reputation in the business. You may want to see if there’s a Service Magic franchise in your area.
But again, to go back to my earlier point, I think that if you get a private adjuster that’s in charge of this project for you, you’re going to be a lot happier because you should not be the general contractor on this job, which is essentially what you’re having to do because the job is not being done for you. So I would get a private adjuster to supervise it and make sure the job is done once, done right and you can get back to enjoying your apartment.
ISABELLE: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.