What is the Fire Damage Restoration Process? + NEW Video!

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We’ve just dropped a brand-new video on YouTube showcasing our latest masterful restoration of a home damaged by fire! So we thought it would be appropriate to make an accompanying article, breaking down the basics of what to expect from the restoration process if you ever suffer fire damage in your home. What is the fire damage restoration process? Will you be able to stay in your house? How long will it take? All these questions are answered here!

Table of Contents

First, check out our short new video, where Cleaner Guys’ owner, Bob Shupe, shows you some amazing before and after photos of our most recent fire damage restoration job!

Now, let’s break down what you saw in the video.

What is the Fire Damage Restoration Process?

The basic outline of most fire damage restoration is simple: remove the damaged materials as necessary, spray a special sealant to block smoke odor, and then replace the damaged materials with new materials.

However, for those who want a more thorough step-by-step walkthrough of exactly what to expect, we’ve laid out a complete breakdown below. Not every fire damage job is the same, and not every fire damage restoration company has the same process. However, these are the basic necessary steps, based on Cleaner Guys’ process.

Step 1: The First Visit

The very first thing that will happen when you call a fire damage restoration company is an initial inspection. An estimator from the company will come out to your property, assess the damage, and take measurements to estimate how long it will take them to restore your damage, and about how much it will cost.

The first visit will also usually include some paperwork, such as signing a waiver giving the company permission to work on your home. Insurance will also usually be discussed, if applicable. A good restoration company will also take lots of photos of the damage on the first visit, for documentation and before-and-afters.

Sometimes, work will also start on the first visit. This may include removing damaged personal items and furniture, containing the damaged area with plastic sheeting and protective mats, and taking samples of the damaged materials, to test for asbestos and other potentially dangerous substances. However, in some cases, this work will be started on the second visit.

Step 2: Removal of Damaged Materials

Once the damaged area has been contained and damaged personal items moved, the next step is to remove all the damaged materials. This can include drywall, framing, flooring, carpet, trim, cabinetry, and tile. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on how much the fire damaged.

Once all fire-damaged materials are removed, the area is cleaned thoroughly and prepped for the smoke odor sealant.

Photo from the same Cleaner Guys job site featured in the video above. Before and after contents removal.

Step 3: Spraying Smoke Odor Sealant

As you saw in the video, there’s a crucial step that should always be done before installing new materials! Spraying a sealant that will kill and block all lingering odors of smoke. The sealant looks like white paint, but it’s a specially formulated sealant that gets rid of smoke odor entirely! Spraying the smoke-odor sealant usually takes less than a day.

Step 4: Full Restoration and Cleaning

Once all unsalvageable materials have been removed and everything has been coated in smoke-odor sealant, restoration can begin. This stage includes replacing any removed drywall, flooring, tile, trim, cabinetry, etc. This is the stage at which you will consult with your restoration company about whether you want everything restored exactly as it was, or if you have the budget to upgrade any replacement materials. Many of our clients at Cleaner Guys choose to use their budget to turn their catastrophe into an opportunity to upgrade or remodel the damaged area with new, different materials!

Typically, once specific materials are decided upon, the restoration company will take care of ordering all materials, and either picking them up locally or bringing them in once they’ve shipped and been delivered.

How long it takes to fully restore a home depends entirely on the amount of materials being replaced, whether the materials must be shipped in, and how much labor will be required to get the job done.

Step 5: Job Completion and Billing

Once restoration is complete, all equipment, tools, and material scraps will be removed, and any temporarily moved furniture will be put back. A good restoration company will do a final thorough cleaning of the entire space, and take final photo documentation.

Different restoration companies do billing differently. You may receive your invoice through the mail or through email, typically within a week of job completion. If an insurance claim was filed, your insurance company will usually be CC’d on your invoice.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Fire Damage Restoration Take?

How long fire damage restoration takes is entirely dependent on the extent of the damage. We’ve had restoration jobs where the damage was very minimal, and the entire job was done within a week. Yet we’ve had many other jobs where the fire affected several rooms (like the video above), and sometimes even multiple floors. Restoring more extensive damage like this can take months.

Can I Stay in My House During Fire Damage Restoration?

It depends on the extent of the damage. In many of the fire-damaged homes we’ve worked on, like the one in the video above, the fire burns through the ceiling and some of the roof. This usually makes the home unlivable until the roof is repaired. Additionally, most house fires occur in the kitchen, rendering it unusable until it’s repaired. When fire destroys the exterior of a building or essential facilities like this, the residents almost always have to temporarily relocate while the home is being restored.

However, in a minority of cases, the fire is caught early enough that it doesn’t damage the property enough to make it unusable. In these rarer cases, the residents may be able to stay in their home as it is being restored.

Ultimately, no one can know whether they’ll be able to stay in their home during fire damage restoration until a professional restoration company assesses the damage and tells them whether they will be able to stay or not.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

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