• 1.  smoke damage

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 02-19-2023 15:59
    A good friend of mine has unfortunately had a house fire which has sent smoke/ hydrocarbons/ the usual particles all through his house. He has a Steinway M which apparently is covered with smoke particles. I have not seen the piano, but he is concerned that not only is the soundboard dirty, but that the action especially has been affected. It apparently was a pretty severe fire, as he has had to seek lodging elsewhere for what promises to be several months if not longer.
    I have no experience whatsoever with damage of this sort, and at this point in my career I don't have the bandwidth or interest in pursuing whatever remedy is needed.
    Any suggestions/ interest in addressing this problem would be greatly appreciated.
    I can be reached at 216/381-5662.  email=

    [Stephen] [Kabat]
    [Lyndhurst] [Ohio]

  • 2.  RE: smoke damage

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 02-19-2023 16:20
    I would suggest that damage from smoke is only one of the issues. Along with the smoke came extreme heat. But perhaps what can cause even more damage is from the steam or direct water necessary to put out the fire.
    Unfortunately, depending on the extremes, some pianos are no longer fixable. More information is needed to determine that.
    For cleaning and other advice regarding fire damage to pianos contact Dave Schwarz, RPT in Rosemont, MN (952) 432-5232
    He can advise you further with expert knowledge in this area

    ~ jeannie

    Jeannie Grassi
    PTG Registered Piano Technician
    Bainbridge Island, WA

  • 3.  RE: smoke damage

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 02-19-2023 17:05

    I've dealt with a few pianos that were in a fire. In addition to the smoke damage, which affects all the parts and the finish, there is the affects of heat and humidity caused by the water that put out the fire. 

    This piano will need to be completely rebuilt, with a new soundboard, pinblock and strings, new action parts, new keytops and refinishing. 

    Depending on the type of coverage, the insurance should cover all of it. If they do have replacement value coverage, the insurance company might still opt to have the work done instead of buying a new one, because a new one will be twice as expensive and getting it rebuilt. If you can't do the work, get someone who has experience rebuilding pianos. 

  • 4.  RE: smoke damage

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 02-20-2023 01:17


    I will second (third?) the answers from others.  Salvaging a smoke or fire damaged piano is usually hopeless without a complete rebuild. The effects of the smoke and heat are not reversable. The insurance company would be better off totaling the piano and offering replacement value (good for them, not good for the customer).  The customer should get the piano either replaced with a comparable value instrument or get a complete rebuild.   

    Blaine Hebert RPT
    Duarte CA
    (626) 795-5170