Has your house been destroyed in a fire? That’s one of the most devastating and traumatic experiences to have.
On the one hand, you’re probably happy and extremely thankful that your family has been spared and they’re safe. Yet you’re left to deal with the daunting task of putting the pieces back together.
Rebuilding your house after a fire can be tedious and it may start to feel as if it’s going to take forever. With a charred roof and fire-damaged interiors, it’s not difficult to imagine just how challenging it all will be. You may be at a loss as to where to begin.
Learn all you need to know in this complete guide to rebuilding a house after a fire.
Types of Fire and Their Impact on the Rebuilding Process
The severity of fires vary. Based on the type of fire that destroyed your home, your expenses and renovation will differ.
Take for example a simple fire, these are normally caused by pure fuels and produce less soot. If this is the cause of damages to your home then you’re likely to do fewer renovations and restoration.
Complex fires are triggered by synthetic materials. Consequently, they produce a lot more smoke resulting in an increased amount of soot. You can expect to have more expenses and spend a longer time renovating.
Rebuilding a House After a Fire
The first step in rebuilding is to contact your insurance company. This will start the claims process as soon as possible. Also, discuss getting a professional fire restoration contractor to visit your house.
It’s best if you work with an established and reputable restoration company. Use your insurance agent and restoration contractor as guides to help you in your rebuilding process.
Evaluate All Structural Damage to Your Home
You want to ensure that your home is safe before commencing the rebuilding process. What you can do is ask your restoration contractor to refer you to a reputable structural engineer.
The engineer will conduct an inspection to determine how safe your house is, the damages to your house and how to go about repairing it. They’ll tell you how to carry out repairs to any damages to the first and second floor of your house, and your attic floor.
They’ll also outline the damages to your basement walls and foundations.
Verify That Your Home Is Secured
As soon as you can start renovating your house, go ahead and board up all your broken windows and secure all entryways except one. It’s good to get your restoration contractor and their team to help you.
More than likely you’ll have to leave your home during the rebuilding process, insurance companies advise that you secure your home before you go. Securing it reduces the chance of theft and vandalism.
Start With Structural Repairs
You’ll need to employ an experienced and licensed carpenter to carry out the heavy repairs that must be done to your house’s structure to ensure that it’s safe. They’ll do a variety of work in your house depending on the type of fire. This is usually inclusive of rebuilding your interior walls and attic.
Ensure that a licensed electrician inspects and repairs any damages to your home’s electrical system. If your house has been severely damaged then it’s highly likely that you’ll need a new breaker and wiring.
Target Fire-Damaged Areas
It’s inevitable that your rebuilding process will consist of doing cleanup, renovation, and repairs that focus on areas damaged by fire and smoke. Your restoration contractor will take care of them.
The scope of their work will include getting rid of soot and smoke stains as well as cleaning and fixing contaminated air ducts. Use a room by room approach to target and repair damaged floors, furnishings, and sheetrock.
Sometimes, there’s no clear outline of how long the rebuilding process will take. You’re going to have to be extremely patient. Cooperate with your restoration contractor to ensure that things go smoothly.
Keep a Record of Everything
The rebuilding process can be costly so ensure that you record all repairs, restoration, and replacement related expenses. This will come in handy when filing your claim.
Make digital copies of photos and documents to highlight the severity of the fire. Being this detailed will make it much easier when working with your insurance company.
Factors that Impact the Rebuilding Process
There are some factors that you must consider when looking at the cost to rebuild. These include the scope of the damages caused by burning and smoke. You should also consider how the fire was extinguished and how hot it was.
In addition, the damages caused by soot and the items that need to be cleaned will also impact your cost to rebuild.
Once your home has been rebuilt ensure that you put preventative measures in place to stop another fire from happening. These include but are not limited to installing smoke detectors and a sprinkler system. Also, ensure that you have a fire extinguisher readily available.
Sell the Home
Fixing a home after it has been destroyed by fire can be expensive depending on how much damage was done. If you don’t have adequate home owner’s insurance the cost of repairs can skyrocket.
If you wish to sell a fire damaged house instead of repairing it, this is very possible. However, you will likely have to sell it at a discounted cost and it is usually more attractive to an investor than a regular home buyer.
Some investors may shun you but there are others who will tell you, “We buy any house.” Be upfront about the details of the fire damage because it will usually come out in the home inspection report anyway.
Putting the Pieces Together
Rebuilding a house after a fire can be long, costly and tiring. Knowing what to do helps you to start the renovation process as quickly as possible.
The sooner you get started the sooner your life can get back to normal and you can start healing from the trauma.
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