What Happens During the Fire Damage Restoration Process?

Is your home about to undergo fire damage restoration? What does this consist of? 

In 2017, an estimated 23 billion dollars in property damage occurred due to fires. This number is slightly inflated due to the California wildfires, which are again causing untold destruction this year. While you cannot truly prepare for the devastation of a house fire, you can attempt to minimize the losses.

No matter the size of the fire, barring total destruction, you must work quickly to avoid further losses due to smoke damage. Fire damage restoration begins with knowing the extent of the damage, securing items that weren’t damaged, and beginning renovations.

This guide will help you avoid expensive repair bills and future issues due to weakened structures and smoke damage.

The Assessment 

The first thing you should do is assess how much of your home might have smoke or fire damage. How deep did the fire penetrate the structure of the home? How much smoke and soot covered your surfaces? Do your walls, furniture and fixtures show signs of heat damage?

Hiring a professional fire damage restoration company will allow a complete and comprehensive assessment of the damage. Everything should be recorded and documented for insurance purposes. All untouched furniture needs to be removed from the home as soon as possible as smoke lingers and embeds itself into fibers long after a fire. The sooner that you can air out these pieces, the better. 

Experts Only

Do your research when hiring people to do fire damage cleanup and consult your home insurance company for recommendations. Always check into the history of any restoration company. There are organizations out there that prey on the victims of major fires, also known as fire chasers.

Don’t be pressured into signing repair contracts due to the urgency of the situation. They might not be licensed or insured to do fire restoration work.

Securing the Foundation

The first priority for the restoration process is to prevent any more damage from occurring. That means plugging up any holes or weakened structures. If the walls, floors, or roof got singed, they should receive an inspection for repairs or replacement. Remember, fire and water damage restoration go hand-in-hand.

As soon as there are heavy rains in your area, your home could be at risk for water or moisture damage. Doing an “eyeball test” of your interior isn’t quite accurate enough to detect potential leaks or places where mold can take a foothold.

The best fire restoration services will be proficient in both repairs and the prevention of water damage. This includes ensuring the home is properly protected by moisture and vapor barriers.

Cleaning and Removal

The smoke and soot that accompany a house fire can be impossible to clean out on your own. The staining that happens during a fire usually goes beyond the surface. Only a deep scrub, sanding, and refinishing will get rid of the smoke.

If your home has also been affected by water damage, then the cleanup process will include pumping and airing out all the moisture. Special heaters and fans will then dry out all the contents before sanitizing everything. It’s important to take care of this as soon as possible to prevent pockets of mold potentially causing health problems.

In order to remove the odors that linger after a fire, it might be necessary to clean all the carpet and upholstery throughout the home. This is where you should be considering tossing out any upholstered furniture that isn’t expensive to replace. It might cost more to try to clean them. 

Repairing

For the priceless pieces, family heirlooms and furniture that are hard or impossible to replace, restoration is a careful process. Starting with the walls and ceilings, fire often creates bubbling and blistering of the paint. This must be scraped and repainted carefully.

When it comes to wood surfaces damaged by fire, soot, or smoke, the options for repair will fall into two categories. For unfinished wood, you could try to apply a sealant over it to mask or trap the odor, but there’s no guarantee that will work.

Finished wood has a much better success rate of repair and full restoration. The surface that protected the wood gets stripped, sanded and refinished. This ensures that all of that trapped odor gets removed and none of it will linger later on. Restoring wood affected by smoke and fire damage is a job for professional cleaners.

Renovation

There are many good reasons to use the tragedy of a fire as a starting point for renovation. Sometimes repairs and cleaning can take a very long time to complete. If the damage is so extensive that you can never restore the affected parts of your home to what they were originally, why not start over?

The act of a renovation after a house fire is akin to a rebirth; a chance to remove yourself from that traumatic experience. Many fire damage companies do offer renovation services to go with their repairs and restoration. Experienced contractors will know how to get the most value out of the restoration process, even if that means throwing away and rebuilding a large portion of it.

Fire Damage Restoration Consultation

As you can see, fire damage restoration is more than just cleaning and repairing places that fire has touched. You have to take in account how fire transforms the foundation of the home as well as the contents within. Making these tough decisions while under the stress from what just happened isn’t easy.

Don’t make these decisions on your own. Find a company that provides you with all the tools and options that you need to get your home back. At BMS CAT, we take care of the entire restoration process beyond what can be seen at a glance.

We will protect your home from water damage as well as clean your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. We take care of the entire home environment, restoring the safety that your home provides.

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn why homeowners and big businesses trust us during natural disasters and emergencies.