Enduring a house fire is one of the most devastating things that can happen to you and your family. Even a small fire can destroy possessions that you’ve worked hard to acquire. And flames are only one part of the problem. Soot, debris, and even the water used to fight the fire can also damage the house itself and the items inside. If you act quickly, your home and many of your belongings can be saved.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to home restoration after a fire.
1. Contact Fire Remediation Service
After the fire has been extinguished and everyone is okay, contact your insurance company and your landlord/mortgage lender to report the fire, and follow the recommended steps. Then call a fire remediation service. The faster you act, the more you can save.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMEDIATE THE PROPERTY ON YOUR OWN.
There’s a process to fire remediation, and it’s important for everyone’s safety that you let professionals enter the property first. You never know what shape the house will be in after a fire.
2. Determine the Structural Integrity of the House
A fire can damage the structural integrity of a home. It can eat through floors, walls, roofs, and supports. That means stepping inside a home after a fire is extremely dangerous and should only be attempted by a trained professional.
Let an inspector enter the property first to determine if it’s safe. They’ll check for things like structural damage, exposed electrical wires, or weak spots in the floors.
3. Remove Soot, Water, and Debris
Soot, smoke, and water can cause damage long after the fire is gone. Once the building has been deemed safe to enter, it’s time to remove the contaminants that can continue to stain and ruin your belongings. Removing the soot and other debris will help to improve air quality and reduce odors, making it tolerable—and safe—to work.
The water used in putting out the fire can also puddle on floors and saturate walls, leading to rot, mold, and mildew. Removing standing water will help to dry out the house, and commercial humidifiers can remove moisture from the air to prevent further damage.
Ventilation equipment like an air scrubber is used to remove any contaminants and odors left in the air. There’s going to be a lot of work to do, and it’s dangerous to work with poor air quality. Plus, the less smoke in the air means less odors to get trapped in your soft surfaces like carpets and furniture.
4. Assess the Damage
Now that the property is relatively clean, you can help the restoration team assess the damage. Work with the technician to determine what can be salvaged or repaired. Consider the cost, condition, and sentimental value of each item. Don’t bother spending money restoring something you can easily replace. Keep a list of items that are beyond repair. It’ll help with the insurance claim.
If any items seem like they haven’t been damaged at all, it’s best to remove them from the house. You can get them cleaned off site and have them ready to be put back once the home restoration is finished. Offsite cleaning is best for smaller items that are easy to move.
5. Deep Cleaning and Deodorizing
When all unsalvageable items have been removed, it’s time for the magic to begin. The home restoration team will use specific cleaning solutions and methods based on the product they’re restoring and the level of damage sustained. They’ll work with you to determine any priority items with which they need to take extra care.
The cleaning process is extremely thorough and can remove most stains and odors. Fabrics like curtains and furniture covers can be easily removed and washed, and carpets can be shampooed and scrubbed. The team will scour every inch of the damaged area cleaning counters, appliances, drywall, ceilings, and floors that haven’t been too seriously damaged. Once the work is finished, you’d never know that a fire ever happened.
6. Start to Rebuild
After your home has been thoroughly cleaned, you can move in all the items that were sent away for offsite cleaning and start to call contractors to bring your home back to its pre-fire beauty.
The entire home restoration process can take anywhere from a few days or weeks for a smaller house fire up to multiple months or even over a year for more extensive fires. It all depends on the size of the home and the amount of damage done.
Tips for a Smooth Home Restoration Process
While there’s nothing “smooth” about a house fire, the process of getting back to normal doesn’t have to add insult to injury. Here are a few tips to make the process a bit easier:
- Call your insurance company immediately.
- Get a copy of the fire report.
- Contact a fire remediation service.
- Maintain a record of all damaged items.
- Work with your insurance company and the remediation team throughout the entire process.
CFRS: The Fire Restoration Experts
While it’s impossible to completely reverse the damage that a house fire can inflict on your family, we can at least help you get your home and belongings back in order.
If you’re ever in need of home restoration services after a house fire—and we hope you never are—contact the experts at Central Florida Restoration Solutions. Our team goes through extensive fire restoration training and is certified to clean and restore damaged materials. We can help you restore the life you had as fast and easy as possible.