Fire Damage Cleanup 2

This page will

 help you to understand the indicators used to determine if any portion of the structure damaged by fire can be saved. I am not associated with any insurance company and do not presume to offer advice on insurance coverage or qualifications. It is very important that you speak to your insurance agent in regards to any benefits you believe you may be entitled to.

The process of fire restoration is not quick. It takes time especially if you are working with a Restoration Company that has several jobs going at once. As I indicated in my hub the first things you will want to take care of are security and safety.

“Building Permits”

 After doing a quick Internet search on “Building Permits” I confirmed what I already suspected. Every city, township, and borough has their own permit requirements and you will have to check with the permit office in your area to see what they require. The Restoration Company will usually handle obtaining a “Building Permit”, however since my goal is to provide help to everyone it is important for people that intend to handle the restoration themselves to know that it is mandatory to obtain a permit before any demolition or repair begins.

Demolish or Salvage

Knowing what to demolish and what to salvage can be a little tricky. Over the years I have learned two important things. First salvage is almost always cheaper than replacement. Second at a glance it may seem that there is nothing to salvage but on closer inspection you may be surprised.

Walls and ceilings that are painted or paper covered drywall or plaster may look damaged beyond repair but unless they are actually burnt or disintegrating from water, cleaning and recovering is the best way to go. Even if a portion of the wall is burnt or water damaged as long as it is structurally sound precision demolition and rebuilding is a better choice than tearing down the entire wall. In most cases paneling that has been smoked can be saved while wetted paneling cannot be.

Studs and beams can be repaired even if they are lightly burnt. A process we called sistering whereby a new piece of wood is attached to the existing damaged wood to cover it like a band-aid can repair this. If your stud or beam is burnt or charred deeper than one quarter of its width it should be replaced.

Wiring that has not had its exterior casing damaged can be saved, likewise with plumbing and sewer pipes.

Window encased in wood, that have not been broken can be cleaned, however vinyl will always be stained from exposure to smoke, soot and heat. (The amount of heat vinyl is exposed to will determine the degree of staining.) Painted metal casings that are not damaged can be cleaned and repainted.

Any type of flooring except vinyl can survive being smoked a little but the secondary water damage can have adverse affects on carpeted and wooden floors. Ceramic tile may crack due to heat but can be cleaned of both water and smoke.

Woodwork and trim will be okay as long as it is not burnt but remember it may be difficult to match especially in older homes.

Ductwork will be okay but will need to be cleaned by professionals that have access to specialized equipment.

Real wood cabinetry can survive smoke, heat, and water as long as it is dried and cleaned correctly. Practical board cabinets covered with paper are almost always ruined when exposed to excessive amounts of water, but if they are far enough away from the flames to have not been soaked they should be salvageable.

Washer, dryer, fridge, bathtubs and shower stalls are often covered in a vinyl or plastic and it will be difficult if not impossible to clean these if they were to close to the heat of the fire.

Rolled or blown insulation while not rendered useless from smoke will retain an odor that can often times be handled by fogging with a deodorizer.

The products used to cover the exterior of your home are designed to handle extremes. A good power washing and repainting where needed, will do the trick unless it is actually burned or melted. (Yes concrete and brick can burn if it gets hot enough)

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Maryanne Maguire profile image

Maryanne Maguire 6 years ago from Santa Monica, CA

It sure can pay to get a couple estimates. Good hub!

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