Please provide us with the following information when submitting an inquiry, and someone from the Trefler’s team will help you determine the next steps.

Please describe your item(s) in as much detail as possible. Information such as dimensions, what materials the item is made of (i.e. wood, plaster, porcelain), and your item’s current condition are all very helpful for our experts to make an accurate estimate.

We suggest providing at least three .jpg images per item. These should include; one image of the entire object, and detailed views of the area(s) of damage and/or pieces. 

If you are submitting an inquiry for painting restoration, please provide an additional photograph of the back of the canvas.

Our team will review all inquiries and assess the best course of action to suit your needs.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

    Hands on Advice

    Winter weather advice from Trefler’s claims department

    Winter weather advice from Trefler’s claims department

    Welcome to winter in New England! If you’ve lived here long enough, you are no stranger to the joys and perils that New England winter weather brings, and if you’re a seasoned homeowner, you understand the potential perils only tenfold. This week, as we brave another bout of inclement snow and sleet, our Claim’s specialist Kody Kirkland shares advice on how to avoid winter’s most common mishaps, and how to clean up after the worst of them! 

    Soot residue from puff-backs or fire incidents alike may stain any exposed surface material in the vicinity. Fortunately, with thorough treatment, remediation is possible.

    Puff-backs

    Never heard the term? Puff-backs are the occurrence of smoke and soot being forced back into the home through exhaust systems and chimneys. What causes them? Puff backs are created by improperly functioning furnaces, water boilers and heating systems. Unburned fuel can accumulate causing a buildup of flammable material. When starting up a heating system, this leftover fuel ignites, causing an oil burner backfire, forcing smoke and soot back into the home through venting and chimneys. 

    A good rule of thumb to avoid a puff-back is to keep an eye on potential signs that your heating system may be malfunctioning. Indicators include a sooty boiler room, a loud noise when starting up and shutting off your heating system, as well as oil leaks and drips along connecting piping. Another important prevention method is to schedule regular maintenance and servicing for your home heating system, as well as frequent professional cleaning to remove potential buildup of residue in your chimney. 

    Too late? Fortunately, remediation after a puff-back has occurred is possible, and may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Trefler’s frequently works in tandem with clients’ insurance companies to address damage, provide restoration services, and common types of treatment in these events. Typical treatment includes stain and soot removal as well as Ozone treatment to remove lingering smoke odors. 

    The table featured above suffered a major water loss in the wake of a pipe bursting in this New England home. Trefler’s furniture conservators were able to successfully treat damage by stripping away a water-stained finish, replacing incidents of bubbling veneer and refinishing the table in its entirety in order to bring back the original luster and sheen of the wood. We are proud to see this stunning piece back in its home.

    Freezing Pipes

    Water losses due to frozen pipes are one of the most frequent events that Trefler’s claims team encounter each winter. Massachusetts is no stranger to dramatic dips and peaks in temperature in very short periods of time. This extreme variation is a key player in causing pipes to freeze, melt, and essentially burst; resulting in often quite dramatic flooding within the home.

    How to avoid frozen pipes? Make sure to always set a consistent base temperature to prevent freezing from the outset. Even if warm weather is anticipated, be sure to put measures in place to avoid any opportunity for your home’s pipes to freeze, especially if you plan to leave (for say a warmer climate) for an extended period of time. If flooding from frozen pipes does occur, time is of the essence. Prevent further mold damage by addressing any flooding event as soon as possible. 

    Spring isn’t the end of it…

    Although we are all optimists that spring will come early each year, Kody urges us to keep in mind that spring is also one of the most frequent times we see pipes burst. Spring in New England means anticipating the inevitable temperature dip, even come early April, so do continue monitoring your home’s heating well beyond winter’s end. 

    The before and after images above demonstrate how a finish might appear hazy due to fluctuations in humidity or temperature.

    Dry Air Damage

    Just like our skin suffers during the winter season, organic materials like wood, leather and paper are similarly affected by the humidity of an interior environment, and lack thereof.

    Forced air especially poses problems for items placed near vents and units. Even with the best intentions of conserving energy, if heating is scheduled with fluctuations between day and night, this unstable temperature and humidity will seriously impact wood and leather. 

    Kody suggests taking preventable measure to help abate issues caused from dry winter air. For preserving finished wood furniture, simply applying a wax every 6 months can make a major difference in preserving it. How to tell if wood is in need? “You can kind of tell when the finish will start to become a little hazy or less translucent. Other pieces might start to crack, which is a telltale sign that the wood is becoming brittle”. He suggests using a natural wax, such as beeswax for the job. 

    Another piece of advice that will help both your furniture and your own health is to invest in an inexpensive humidifier for areas of the home prone to extreme dryness (hint: your bathroom and kitchen will tend to have more exposure to moisture). By keeping the humidity consistent, dry, forced air will have a lesser impact on woods.  

    If a piece of wood furniture is oiled rather than coated with a finish, the same rules apply in making sure that wood is cared for and oiled approximately every 6 months to preserve its surface and structure. Cracking is the most extreme result of wood affected by moisture, however warping and shrinking are also a common outcome. 

    A fascinating fact that Kody shared, is that because wood has oils in its natural state, re-applying oil throughout its lifespan keeps it supple and healthy. Even more interesting is that paying attention to the type of wood you’re treating will determine which oils might work best. For example, olive wood is very happy to get some TLC from Olive Oil! 

    That being said, we always encourage everyone do their research and exercise caution when taking on projects at home. Have a question for our restorers? We always welcome the opportunity to advise our clients and community on the best practices for keeping items in tip-top condition. 

    Already Cracked?

    If an item has already suffered damage and shows cracks to its surface, Kody advises that restoration is still possible. Our furniture specialists can do a conserve on the finish which would include light sanding or re-amalgamating the finish in order to soften and spread the finish to even it out in cases of modest cracking or opening of the wood grain.

    This antique carousel horse was severely damaged also due to fire.

    Safety First

    Another culprit for indoor fire damage is portable space heaters. Even when used under careful supervision, space heaters become extremely hot, frequently damaging textiles and delicate materials in close proximity.

    Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see the more dramatic and dangerous results of these types of heating equipment each winter, which include fire loss, either to just a few items, or in more extreme cases to fire loss to an entire property. Always un-plug and properly turn-off space heaters when not in use, the same goes for heating pads or other small electrical items, to boot! 

    A cherished cabinet that underwent extensive restoration after a fire loss.

    Fire: Friend or Foe

    We all love to cozy up to a crackling fire come winter. And candles create an unbeatably relaxing atmosphere during a season of low natural light. However, our claims team tremors at the sight of a tapered candlestick or stack of seasoned firewood. While fire is indeed a sure way to create ambiance at home, it should always be treated with extreme respect and caution. No matter if you’re lighting a candle or a full-blown Hearth. Also, even under the best and safest circumstances, fire will still have an affect on items in close proximity to its flame, from trace amounts of smoke and the heat created. Candle wax staining is a less threatening type of damage from fire, but keep in mind that paintings, artworks, and porcelain will be stained or soiled by too much time spent fireside.

    If you are currently cleaning up from a winter weather accident yourself, or wish to learn more about how our claims team can help in cases of insurance, fire or water losses, please reach out to a member of our team.

     

     

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