Advice wanted on soot damaged pvc windows & doors

We have just had a fire, which resulted in two windows and a door being covered in thick black soot. The people whom the insurance company have given the job to, seem to think that they will all clean up successfully. I have seen a small area that they have cleaned using CIF together with a biodegradable wall cleaner and booster. To me the pvc now seems to have a mat finish and is not as white as before. Can anyone please tell me if hey be cleaned successfully and will it last ? Thank You
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Regards
Terry Birch
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Hi Terry
It depends on how much smoke/heat there was, but it's usually very difficult to clean smoke damage off PVC windows. I ended up replacing all the windows in a client's house last year. Are you absolutely sure there is no heat damage? PVC will melt/deform more easily than a candle in heat. Also, CIF is definitely not the right stuff to use as it's an abrasive - that's why you can't use it on plastic baths. I'm concerned the firm appointed by your insurers tried using it - this shows they are not specialists. The damage they did when trying it might be added to the claim now.
There are proper specialist companies who clean up after fires and do de-odourising etc that insurers normally use. Look in your local Yellow Pages. They will advise on the damage to your windows and tell you if they can be cleaned satisfactorily. There are also special chemicals available - try here and give the firm a call: http://www.chemspec-europe.com/rpf.htm
Peter
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I don't know the whys and wherefores of the cleaning but you can get your own second opinions. Don't be thwarted by loss adjusters. Their job is to make money by cutting your claim to the bone. They can be 2@s.
Take the bead off one or more of the windows with a painter's scraper and look for frazzled seals and debris. Put them back by forcing the seal hard against the glass and banging hard along the middle of the section with the rubber handle of an hammer.
If the firm misses this damage, refuse to accept the job. PVC windows are terrible things to seal and as Peter said, much more susceptible to heat damage than wood. I wouldn't have them in my house had I a choice.
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Hi Peter Believe it or not but it is the local Chemspec crew that are doing it
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Terry Birch
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Terry Birch wrote

ROFL! Well, perhaps your gang need telling about their company's own products! Cif is definitely the wrong stuff for cleaning uPVC window frames.
Remember the legal contractual principle of your insurance policy is that the insurers are expected to put you back in the same position you were in before the damage occurred. Strictly speaking that means if your windows or decorations were old and tatty then that's all they have to provide - any improvement is called betterment. But nowadays no insurers bother about charging betterment on domestic policies (although they often do on commercial policies), so in effect you have a new-for-old policy. They should pay for completely cleaning the house and deodourising it if necessary, and renewing the decorations to any areas that were damaged. Similarly, if the windows cannot be properly cleaned without causing even more damage (removing the glossy surface), or if they have suffered any heat damage, the insurers should accept the cost of replacing them. Loss Adjusters often try to palm you off with a bodge, so if you're not satisfied with what they offer you against this principle then you should hold out for what you think is right. I agree with what Mike said about Loss Adjusters - don't let yours shove you around. I bet they didn't tell you that you're entitled to have a Surveyor acting on your behalf, with reasonable fees paid by the insurers! (This is because the rebuilding cost they tell you to insure for includes professional fees - usually at 12%)
Peter
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If it now is matt, either - some cleaner has dried on it, which is easily wiped off, or - the surface has been abraded off, which means the plastic will now get dirty relatively easily, and be much more difficult to clean.
Abrading plastic is a last resort cleaning method for this reason.
Regards, NT
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