After the firefighters come and put out the fire and – god willing – everyone is safe and well, you’re likely left with a complete mess to clean up. Fire, believe it or not isn’t the most destructive substance involved in your home fire. The water and chemicals used by the fire company can cause incredible damage to both structures that were on fire and those that are still intact. Soot will cause dark coloration and damage to dry wall and other surfaces that are nowhere near the original fire. Have rooms that never burned? Getting that smoke smell out is a chore. And all of that before you actually begin rebuilding your home.
With all of that to consider, it seems easy to say that fire restoration is money well spent, and it doesn’t have to be as pricey as you think. The national average in 2019 was about $15,000 but it can be as little as a few thousand dollars to as much as an entire home rebuild. Remember that insurance can help cover some of this cost as well.
Find a Trusted Company
The first thing you should ensure is that you’re working with a legitimate, well credentialed fire restoration specialist. No reputable company will give you a quote over the phone. A fire reclamation specialist will have to come to your home and take a thorough inventory of the damage. Additionally, be sure to ask friends and colleagues about recommendations they may have.
What is considered during the inspection?
There are several things that affect the overall cost of fire restoration.
Some things are more expensive than others. If your entire kitchen burnt to a crisp, it stands to reason that it will be more difficult to clean up and replace those items than it would be in an empty bedroom. Additionally, if the fire was on an upper floor, water likely seeped down to the floors below. This expands the area that needs to be remediated and replaced.
Surface or Structure
If the fire or the substances used to put it out have damaged drywall and doors, things are relatively easy to replace – unfortunately, this is almost never the case. When fire gets behind walls and floors, into joists and studs, rafters and other structural aspects of a home, you can expect a more robust remediation project. Note that you may have to pull down far more material than you expected originally, including portions of your home that do not seem damaged.
Type of Damage
Soot and smoke damage is easily fixed with a plan and some professional assistance. A combination of chemicals and elbow grease will take soot out of drywall, floors and countertops. You may still need a coat of paint to get your walls back to tip top shape, however. Smoke, much like water, has a way of getting into almost anything. Even if you clean every portion of your home top to bottom, you will still deal with some smoke smell for a while.
This goes along with location as well. If the fire has damaged drywall and appliances, the restoration process will be far less expensive than if the fire burned out the floor joists. This will be primarily dictated by how long the fire burned and how hot it was. It’s also important to consider what type of fire was burning – fires that have accelerants involved, like grease or gasoline, tend to burn hotter and cause stronger, more acrid smoke.
If you are in the unfortunate position of having to rebuild your home after a fire, be sure to bring in a professional who can give you an accurate estimate of the damage. They will also be able to give you a realistic timetable and cost structure for restoration.