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How to Restore Your Home After a Fire

small fire in a house

Flames can rapidly sweep through several rooms in the home, leaving major fire damage in their wake. Fire damage is not the only problem; smoke and water damage are also outcomes of the fire and fire extinguishment. Here’s what to do when restoring a home after a devastating property fire.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that over 350,000 home fires occur in the United States. Whether small or large, fires can cause significant property damage. The monumental task of rebuilding can be lengthy and costly, with repairs for home fire damage costing $14 billion per year.

How do you renovate a house after a fire?Fire Fighters watching out of control fire

Safety is a priority when renovating a home after a fire. If any of the home’s occupants or pets have inhaled smoke, ensure they receive proper medical attention. Do not return to the fire damaged home until fire officials deem it safe to re-enter.

When beginning renovations in the aftermath of a home fire, contact the homeowner’s insurance company and file a claim. The insurer can provide recommendations for reputable fire damage restoration contractors. If necessary, seek temporary shelter until the home is repaired.

A fire damaged home will lure vandals and wild animals. It will also be vulnerable to harsh weather conditions. Protect the home from further damage by covering holes in the roof with tarp, boarding up the windows and installing fencing around the perimeter.

Work with professional restoration companies to rebuild the structural components of the home. Choose experts who are experienced specifically in restoring fire-damaged buildings. Structures that must be replaced or repaired include the joists, beams, and columns that support the home.

Repair the electrical system, which includes installing a new circuit breaker. Soot, smoke, and odor particles will waft through the home, so clean all affected areas to prevent permanent etching and other types of damage. Salvage furnishings, install new drywall, and clean each room one by one.

Loose soot particles can be vacuumed with a shop vac. Wipe down all surfaces with soapy water. If any standing water remains after fire officials extinguish the flames, mop it up. Increase air ventilation by opening up windows and running fans.

Can the foundation be rebuilt upon after a house fire?Fire Damage in Home - Chair with smoke and soot

While a concrete foundation is nonflammable, the material can become significantly weakened after exposure to the high heat from a home fire. Since concrete’s characteristic strength drops by half when temps rise above 750 degrees Fahrenheit, the foundations are unsafe to rebuild upon after a fire.

During the restoration process, professional fire damage restorers will inspect the concrete to determine if it is structurally stable. If the concrete is deemed unsafe, the restoration crews will remove it. Before rebuilding, the new concrete foundation must meet local building code requirements.

Does fire weaken concrete?

As mentioned, fire significantly reduces the strength of concrete by 50 to 60 percent. As a result, the concrete foundation will be severely compromised. Bear in mind that the average house fire burns at 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, thereby causing severe damage to and weakening concrete materials.

What can a homeowner expect from fire damage restoration?

Quality fire damage restoration can return a damaged home to its pre-loss condition. Cleanup crews will be equipped with advanced machinery and powerful cleaning solutions that can eliminate much of the soot and smoke damage that results in the aftermath of the fire.

For example, soot removal may be a difficult task for homeowners, and large amounts left unaddressed can cause irreparable damage to a range of materials, such as textiles, glass, and metals. Technicians will remove the soot from surfaces as well as from vents and ducts in the HVAC unit.

Smoke odors will also permeate the home environment after a fire. Fire damage restoration professionals will deodorize the air using technology, such as thermal foggers and ozone treatments, that clean the air. The air quality will improve after the restoration is complete.

Damp floors and walls are likely after fire officials extinguish the flames. Mold growth is a possible outcome. Standing water and high humidity levels can also worsen the mold problem. Restoration experts remove the excess moisture and provide effective mold remediation services.

Fire damage restoration experts respond quickly, understanding the urgency required to clean damaged homes. Ash, for example, is acidic; materials will deteriorate if the ash is left on surfaces for prolonged periods. Uncleaned ash can also discolor furniture, floors, walls, ceilings, and countertops.

Restoring a fire damaged home requires the assistance of experienced, licensed professionals. Contractors possess the training to safely enter a home littered with damaged support beams, sagging floors or ceilings, downed power lines, and broken gas lines and start to rebuild.

Getting Help From an ExpertCommercial Fire Damage - Large Burned Down Building

When your home has been ravaged by a home fire, trust the experts at ServiceMaster at Lancaster County. Over the years, we’ve helped countless homeowners and business owners get through a fire damage catastrophe and return to their everyday routines.

Fire damage restoration technicians from ServiceMaster at Lancaster arrive at the home and assess the extent of destruction. We stabilize the building to prevent its collapse. Specialists board up the property to protect the structure from further damage by thieves, animals, or inclement weather.

Our reputable fire damage cleanup technicians identify all areas covered by soot and smoke and take steps to remove these corrosive byproducts of the fire. We utilize high-tech equipment to reach even the nooks and crevices into which dangerous soot particles may have become trapped.

Smoke odors are likely after the fire has been extinguished. Our smoke damage restoration specialists deodorize the home to remove foul odors and return optimum air quality to the building. We also provide water damage restoration services since the fire hoses will have introduced excess moisture.

ServiceMaster of Lancaster County is your one-stop restoration service for all levels of fire damage. We provide comprehensive cleanup services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to home and commercial property owners in Lincoln, Nebraska. Contact us for immediate and reliable fire damage restoration.