A fire in your home is devastating. You’re so relieved and grateful that everyone is OK, but now you’re dealing with the enormous task of putting everything back together. From a charred roof and fire-damaged interiors to water-soaked carpets, it’s hard to know where to start.


If you ever find yourself facing this situation, will you be prepared for rebuilding your house after a fire?


The road to recovery can seem long and involved. We provide house fire damage repair to homeowners in Cincinnati every day, so we understand how hard it is to tackle the job of rebuilding your house. It’s a huge project, but it’s easier to manage when you know what to expect.


You should never try to remediate your property on your own after a fire. A fire damage restoration professional has the experience needed to observe the proper fire restoration process to make your home safe again.


There are certain processes professionals uses when rebuilding a house after a fire and repairing fire damage, and as a homeowner, knowing what these processes look like is helpful.


Confirm The Property Is Stabilized And Is Safe To Enter

The first step of a remediation professional is to confirm that the property is safe to enter. They’ll check for signs of structural damage that compromises the home and carefully inspect the property from the outside before opening the door. If you are concerned, you should wait for an inspector to deem the property safe before you enter.


Minimize Damage

Smoke and soot can cause damage even after the fire has been extinguished. You and the professionals working in your home should be cautious of soot staining, mold and mildew, rust and corrosion, and the air quality in the home.


Soot staining occurs when the soot in the air adheres to surfaces and causes discoloration. Depending on the surface material and the time elapsed, the soot staining may still be completely removable. In other cases, it will leave behind a permanent discoloration. Some sensitive materials include metals, plastics, grout, carpeting, textiles, and wood.

Professionals will look at these materials in the home and properly clean them to reduce damage.


Mold and mildew become a problem after a wildfire because of the fire extinguishing process. Mold and mildew can form quickly, so you should look for any signs of water damage even if you don’t see mold or mildew present yet. If water damage is suspected, the proper restoration and mold and mildew removal processes should begin as soon as possible to minimize further damage.


Rust and corrosion is a risk for any metals that become oxidized. Water interacting with metal can cause the metal to corrode or rust. This is true for any metal, but it’s especially important to be aware of for small electronics that contain metal. If the components and conductors in the electronics corrode, the item is often irreparable, and the risk of electrical shock is increased.


Air quality is a significant concern after a fire and should be one of the areas a professional should focus on if you detect any lingering odors. Cleaning up smoke damage begins by using air scrubber and air mover to clean the air. Smoke-damage cleaning products should be used on any surfaces that have absorbed the smoke. If there is any smoke-damaged furniture that might be saved or you hope to save, professionals should begin the smoke-damage restoration process on them immediately to increase the chance for a complete restoration.


Remove Soot And Debris

Before any water damage or fire damage restoration processes can begin, all debris and soot must be removed from the home. The soot can cause more damage the longer it remains on a surface, while the debris is only going to get in the way the restoration process. Removing the soot and debris will also help improve air quality and reduce airborne odors. A vacuum can help remove some of the remaining soot — it can be swept up or wiped down.


Remove Personal Possessions Too Damaged To Restore

Any items that are too damaged to repair should be removed from the home. Take extra caution in touching electrical machines or appliances because they can store electricity even after they’re unplugged. It may be necessary to remove items that don’t appear to be damaged by the fire from home as well. This will prevent the items from being contaminated any further. A professional can clean these items and prepare them for re-entry once the home is restored.


Eliminate Excess Water And Dry Wet Surfaces

Professionals should clean up any standing water as soon as possible before running other water restoration equipment. Since water can soak into walls, flooring and even subflooring, they will need air movers and commercial dehumidifiers to dry everything out properly.


Begin Deodorizing, Deep Cleaning And Removing Stains

It’s important to consider what items should be deep cleaned and restored and what items are too damaged and should be replaced instead. Professionals may use specific cleaning products, depending on the product being cleaned or deodorized. They’ll consider the type of material and how much mold, mildew, or smoke has penetrated the surface when determining which cleaning product to use. They should consult you to determine any priority items.

Carpets, curtains, and other fabrics usually need special attention because they are easily ruined. In some cases, carpets can be shampooed and restored, while fabrics can be washed or cleaned. You should be able to tell if an item is far too damaged with a quick inspection.


How Much Does It Cost To Repair Your Home After A Fire?

Obviously, how much it will cost to repair your home after a fire will depend on a number of factors, but it’s good to understand that not only did the fire itself cause considerable damage, but the soot and smoke created another kind of damage, and still more damage was created when the fire was extinguished.


When the firefighters put out the fire they sometimes have to put holes in walls and ceilings or break windows or doors. Additionally, the water used will cause considerable damage as well. All of this must be cleaned up.

In most cases, your homeowners insurance will cover part or all of the cost of repairs. They will send an adjuster to check the validity of the claim and get the process started. Often you will need professional restoration experts to clean up after a fire to ensure that it is properly restored and safe for you and your family. Make sure you get insurance authorization for restoration before you begin repairs and comply with the requirements of your insurance company.


The cost of repairing your home after fire is based on:

  1. The number of rooms
  2. The amount of damage from the fire and extinguishing it
  3. The extent of the repairs needed

All of these factors will affect the price of cleanup and restoration.


Some industry statistics estimate that it costs about $4.70/sq.ft to restore a home after a fire. You can estimate how much it might cost by using the square footage of your own home.

Remember though that this is just a rough estimate.

Your exact costs will also depend on how much chemical repair is required for the damage of soot, smoke, and extinguishing chemicals.

The national average for a full restoration is $12,500, but people typically pay in the range from $3000 – $30,000.


How Long Will It Take To Restore My Home After Fire Damage?

The truth is that it will take much longer than you want to restore your home after fire damage. After a catastrophic loss like a fire even one day feels too long. You just want to get back to your normal life. But, it’s important to understand that the restoration process after a fire takes a long time and resisting that will only make it worse.


Phase One: Mitigation and Demolition (3 weeks)

Your home will be tested for soot and smoke damage and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums will be set up to clean the air. The areas that need demolition will need to be assessed. Professional mitigation experts will be called to see how much fire and water damage has occurred and what areas and materials are. Those materials that are too damaged will need to be removed. Depending on when your home or property was built, asbestos testing and lead testing might also need to be done.


Phase Two: Rebuilding (3-6 months)

After demolition and mitigation, the next step is building back the home to its pre-fire condition. A contractor will write an estimate to be approved by your insurance carrier.

Sometimes getting authorization takes time.

Once the rebuild is approved, work will begin.


What How Can Fire Restoration Companies Help?


After a fire, a restoration company will send an emergency response team to assess the damage to your home, secure the property from future weather damage or intrusion, begin pumping out water and drying where necessary to mitigate mold growth, as well as estimate the total extent of the damage.


At Dry Effect, we do a proper scan of the fire damage which allows the adjuster to see the extent of the damage without even having to visit the property. This will speed up the claims process and improve transparency throughout the entire restoration process.


Your restoration contractor will also probably begin ventilation to air out the house as much as possible, using industrial-strength HEPA fans and air scrubbers to purify the air from burned particulates, but also to begin reducing the overall amount of smoke damage to your home.


These first, immediate steps taken by a restoration contractor will make a big difference in minimizing and preventing additional damage.

After your insurance company authorizes work to begin, then the extensive cleanup and demolition where necessary will begin.

The restoration company will carefully perform demolition and proper disposal.


You can also expect that the restoration company will salvage what they can and then begin cleanup of the water, soot, smoke and burnt materials.


Using very specialized equipment, HEPA filters, various alkaline cleaning solvents, sealants, and trained expertise, restoration contractors will be able to safely remove all traces of the smoke and soot and corrosive elements as well as their odors so that your home can be perfectly restored.


Throughout the demolition, cleanup, and rebuilding process you restoration will communicate with you, answer your questions, guide you through decisions, and keep you abreast of timelines and budgets. They can help you navigate the claims process and submit documentation to your insurance company. They will guide you through the entire experience.


Restoration companies have the training and expertise to properly address the unique requirements and considerations of fire damage. You will need their experience and knowledge to return your home to its original beauty.

Because of the dangerous nature of the fire and the chemicals that are required to clean it up completely, the process will not be quick and the work will need to be done by professionals.


You will need to trust your restoration experts and their well-earned expertise. They have all the equipment, clothing, chemicals, and disposal techniques to do the job safely and thoroughly.


Every fire is different. Every fire burns at a different rate, at different temperatures, fueled by different materials, with different amounts of oxygen, and each one was also extinguished in a different way. All of these factors make a difference in the cleanup and restoration process and the techniques and methods that will be most effective.


Your restoration team knows that your fire is unique. You can trust them to restore your home to its cleanest, safest, most beautiful state. That is their job and they know exactly what to do to get you back to normal as soon as possible.


If you choose a dependable, exceptional restoration team, you can always rely on them to do what’s best for you and your home all through the restoration process.

About Lisa McIntyre

Lisa McIntyre has always resided in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. She graduated from University of Cincinnati with a degree in Applied Science. Ultimately, her passion for science and teaching came to fruition after her husband requested her assistance in developing Dry Effect Restoration Services. She was able to develop her knowledge, degrees and certifications further in many indoor air quality associations and organizations. Thus allowing her to educate Realtors and Insurance Agents on the damages that many common indoor air quality irritants and water bacterial growths can lead to in ones home or business. Over 10 years later she’s glad to have taken the leap of faith to assist her husband what seemed to be a fun project into a lifetime achievement and to see the individuals she teaches prosper from their newly found knowledge.

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