Experiencing a house fire can be an overwhelmingly frightening experience – and it’s more prevalent than you may believe. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 372,000 residential building fires in 2020 alone, resulting in more than $8 billion in damages. Even though it can be challenging, you can repair fire damage, remove smoke odor from your home, and sell it.
Home fires occur frequently and can lead to financial losses ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands – or in extreme cases, necessitating the complete demolition and reconstruction of an entire house.
Repairing fire damage to your house and selling it largely depends on the level of destruction and other aspects, like whether you’d sell it in its current condition. Many considerations must be weighed when making this choice. Keep reading to learn more about the options available to you.
How to Repair Fire Damage to a Home
After a traumatic incident like a fire, you may wonder how to repair fire damage to your home. You should enlist the help of an IICRC-trained restoration company that specializes in fire, soot, and smoke restoration. The renovation process afterward can be long and arduous; promptly addressing these issues could lead to additional damages due to unresolved smoke residue or water damage.
When water damage is not addressed promptly, it can lead to mold growth, creating an even more significant problem. To save time and money, it’s essential to call a professional to assess the extent of the damage caused as soon as possible.
Experienced fire and smoke damage repair professionals will thoroughly evaluate your property to create a plan that details the restoration process of returning the fire-damaged home to its original condition.
After a house fire, the most common repairs include:
- Board up broken doors and windows
- Covering roof penetrations with a tarp to prevent further damage
- Bulk soot removal
- Securing the house
- Assessing structural damage
- Addressing structural repairs
- Ozone treatments
- Chemical sealers on drywall, air ducts, and flooring
- Chemical additives to carpets and drapes
- Restoration strategies to remove soot from surfaces
Fixing Minor Fire Damage
Whether fixing minor fire damage yourself or hiring a professional contractor, you should first call your insurance company. Don’t enter the house until the fire marshal or fire department declares it is safe.
Structure fires generate harmful chemicals, some of which are cancer-causing. When you undertake the cleanup process, ensure you have a dust mask and protective clothing, such as rubber gloves, to guard your well-being.
Clean Up Water
Begin by removing everything wet:
Water damage is a legitimate risk; anything soaked will eventually lead to mold or mildew growth. If you spot any standing water in the basement, renting a sump pump, fans, and dehumidifiers can be beneficial as they can help promote air circulation while drying up excess moisture. It would be best if you also replaced all your HVAC system filters.
Air Out the Smoke Smell
After a fire, firefighters usually use giant fans to remove the smoke. But the smell will stay for a while. Clean all surfaces that were not burned, like ceilings, walls, and floors. Take out any furniture or cabinets that were burned. Soot residue can cause damage quickly, so it needs to be removed soon.
Use a shop vac with a HEPA filter to clean up debris from the floor and other things like curtains, bed sheets, and upholstery. Rugs that can be saved should be cleaned by someone who knows how to do it well.
To clean soot, mix two tablespoons of dish soap, one cup of borax, and two cups of vinegar in a gallon of water. Clean one area at a time and use a sponge to scrub. Rinse with plain water afterward. Soak clothes in warm water and detergent with white vinegar to clean them. You can also take clothes like curtains or blankets to a dry cleaner who can eliminate smoke smells.
Assess the Situation
After you remove everything that can’t be fixed and clean the inside of the house, it’s time to consult a structural engineer. The engineer will let you know if the place is safe.
If your home is too challenging to restore, it may be time for a remodel or redesign. On the other hand, if restoration is possible and you decide to go ahead with rebuilding, ensure that you first talk about the reconstruction details with an experienced structural engineer.
Fixing Major Fire Damage
Fixing major fire damage will probably take a certified fire-damage restoration company. Every fire situation is unique and requires a specific game plan. Nonetheless, some steps in our repair process remain relatively consistent, no matter the particulars of the incident.
Inspection and Assessment
After the flames have been put out, a certified inspector will assess the destruction and decide what must be fixed – everything from structural repair to other forms of rehabilitation.
Depending on the extent of destruction to your house, you may require other professionals like roofers, carpenters, carpet installers, and plumbers. Hiring a general contractor for fire restoration oversight might be appropriate to ensure that all repair work is done correctly and efficiently.
Making Your Home Safe
After assessing the fire damage to your property, our experienced fire restoration experts will carefully block any hazardous areas from public access. This is not only done for safety and liability reasons – but also ensures that further accidents or damages can be prevented in these areas of your home.
Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Following a fire, your house will be engulfed in soot and plagued with an overwhelming stench of smoke. Fire repair technicians instantly act to eliminate remains from soot, smoke, and other debris.
Initially, they’ll vigorously clean the walls and ceilings of any black residue before applying deodorization products that use air-scrubbing technology for odor removal. They also carefully sort damaged items to identify which are salvageable for smoke damage restoration.
After the hazardous materials, odors, and soot have been safely disposed of, technicians can enter the premises and conduct water damage restoration. This includes removing standing water from the area and drying it using special techniques.
Bringing your property back to its original condition is the ultimate goal of restoration. This requires reconstructing and restoring what has been damaged.
Fire repair companies can lessen the burden on property owners by bringing in subcontractors to do the job. Even better, some fire restoration services work directly with homeowners insurance providers during the claims process, making filing quicker and providing homeowners with an effortless experience.
Documenting Fire Damage Repairs
Check out your insurance policy to find out how much coverage you have. After that, documenting fire damage repairs is essential in restoring a home after a fire. Creating a photo journal of your loss and documenting the full extent of your damages and recovery efforts is wise.
Documenting fire damage repairs is essential to prove damages when filing an insurance claim and for contractors to assess the damages and confirm the scope of work with all parties involved. By adequately documenting fire damage repairs, you can ensure that you receive proper compensation for any losses or damages incurred due to a fire.
Selling a House With Fire Damage
You have several options when selling a house with fire damage. Ultimately the decision is yours, but several variables should be carefully considered, such as how quickly you need to sell, if substantial damage has occurred to the home, what expenses repairs entail, and whether your insurance provider will provide a sufficient payout for any property damage.
Sell With A Real Estate Agent
Selling a house with fire damage using a real estate agent may be an option if you spend time and money repairing your home. When selling your fire-damaged residence or property while avoiding restoration, the traditional method of a real estate representative can be complicated. Agents may be hesitant to market a home with fire damage.
Sell As-Is to a Cash Buyer
Selling your fire-damaged house as-is to a cash buyer is often the best option for homeowners. Cash buyers are typically willing to purchase properties in any condition, and they can close quickly, allowing you to move on from the incident with minimal hassle.
They can provide an offer considering the repair cost, meaning you won’t have to worry about spending out-of-pocket to make repairs before selling. Selling your fire-damaged house as-is to a cash buyer is often the most convenient and cost-effective option. To find a cash buyer, search terms like “cash home buyers in New York,” “we buy houses NYC,” or “sell a house fast in Queens” will bring back a plethora of results.
Selling a fire-damaged house can be difficult, especially if you are trying to do it through a real estate agent. Not only will you have to repair the home, but you will also need to disclose the previous fire damage to potential buyers. This can be time-consuming and expensive.
However, selling your fire-damaged house as-is to a cash buyer is an easier option to help you get the best value for your property. Cash buyers are willing to purchase homes in any condition and provide fast cash offers so that you don’t have to wait months or years for a sale.