If you’ve had a fire in or around your home and it’s still standing, here’s what you need to know to repair a house with fire damage.
Out-of-control fires are terrifying and can cause enormous damage in just seconds. If you’re looking into repairing the damage, it means your house didn’t completely go up in smoke. So take a minute to appreciate that.
Now, let’s get down to restoring what’s been lost. People often respond with shock after a fire, affecting your ability to plan the best path to recover from the damage.
Here are a few essential steps you need to take after a fire.
1. Get Medical Attention
Ensure everyone in the house is checked by a medical professional as soon as possible and report any problems in the following days. Smoke inhalation can cause issues that may not be apparent initially. So don’t assume you’re okay because you have no immediate symptoms.
2. Report the Fire Damage to Your Insurance Company
If you doubt whether your homeowner’s insurance covers fire, this can be a harrowing experience until you review your policy. Thankfully, most policies cover fires, but how much they cover may vary. You’ll want to know how much you’re covered for dwelling coverage, detached structures, and personal property, depending on what was affected by the fire.
It’s important to inform your insurance company about the fire ASAP and get instructions for assessing the damage.
Some insurance companies require that claims be filed within a certain time limit, but more importantly, the sooner you file, the easier it is to prove the source of the damage. Plus, your insurance may not cover secondary damage resulting from the initial damage not being repaired.
If you’re renting your home, your renter’s insurance should cover most damage to personal property from fires.
3. Have Your Home Inspected for Damage
This is important because, in a fire, you never know what structural damage may have occurred until you have it checked. Avoid entering areas of your home that have sustained severe fire damage until the inspection can be completed and you know it’s safe.
4. Go Through and Determine What’s Salvageable
Once you know it’s safe to enter, it’s time to sort through your belongings and decide what you can save. Sometimes items such as pictures that sustain smoke and water damage following a fire can be restored by specialists. Others may not be salvageable. You won’t know until you open your boxes, dressers, and closets and inspect these items.
When it comes to structural elements of your home, some things are obvious – like melted siding or singed carpet. For others, you may not be able to make the call about what can be cleaned and repaired. You’ll likely need to bring in a professional.
5. Clean Up the Mess
If you’ve had a fire, you probably have an epic mess to clean up – not just soot and ashes. If the sprinklers went off or the fire department got involved, you’ll likely have a water and mud mess to clean up; this could, in turn, lead to mold and mildew growth. There will be pungent smoke residue on every surface. So you’ll need some industrial-strength cleaning supplies.
6. Remove Smoke Residue and Restore Furniture
We already mentioned smoke residue in the last step, but it can be time-consuming, particularly if you don’t get it out soon after the fire. It tends to cling to porous surfaces such as carpet and paint. This can remain so intense that it isn’t just unpleasant; it can be a health hazard.
It will also take special care to remove ash, mud, and smoke from the furniture. Soot can work its way even into the grains of wooden furniture. Fabric upholstery will absorb the smell of smoke, which can be very difficult to remove. Again, you’ll probably need some powerful cleaner and a good amount of elbow grease.
7. Repair, Replace, and Rebuild
At this point, you should be ready to start repairing damaged structures or replace and rebuild those things that you can’t fix. It can be a long process to repair a house with fire damage depending on the damage done. This may mean your home won’t be in liveable condition for a few weeks or possibly longer.
8. Look Into Legal Liability.
Disasters like fires aren’t just disruptive because of the initial incident. They can take weeks or months to recover and cost a great deal of money, much of which insurance won’t reimburse you. If someone else is at fault for the fire, you may have to hire an attorney and bring suit for property damage, lost wages, and other expenses.
This can go on for years, but it’s essential to start early gathering evidence if you believe the fire resulted from someone else’s negligence or an intentional act.
The moral of this story is: never have a fire. Sadly, we can’t avoid all problems because we don’t want them. We might do everything right to minimize the risks, but they can happen anyway. The important thing, when disasters do happen, is that you get help from qualified professionals to recover and get your life back to normal.
Let Bull Matrix Help After the Fire
After a fire, there are many things to do and priorities to ensure aren’t dropped. Thankfully, you aren’t in it alone. It’s helpful to have people you can trust to get through each step of the process.
When it comes to cleaning, disposal of material, and deep smoke removal, Bull Matrix has the experience to repair a house with fire damage efficiently and with results. We have the time, equipment, and understanding of chemistry to make your home liveable quickly and restore your everyday life.
Contact us today to get things rolling in the right direction. We’ll work with your insurance company to ensure you don’t have to pay out of pocket any more than you need to.