Fires are frustrating or even devastating. Even a small kitchen or bedroom fire can cause extensive damage. We look at how to clean up in the aftermath of fire damage. From smoke and soot removal to addressing odors and water damage, the cover the entire process of rebuilding a house after a fire.
Rebuilding a House After a Fire
After a house fire, these are the steps you should take to repair the damage. If you are rebuilding after a house fire, you can choose to do the work yourself or hire a fire damage restoration contractor. In most cases, fire damage is covered by your insurance.
Tarp and Board-Up
Use heavy-duty plastic tarps to seal the roof. This will keep out rain and snow, as well as creatures. For windows and doors, use marine-grade 3/4 inch thick plywood to keep out both the elements and unwanted intruders. Whenever possible, install the plywood inside the home. This makes it harder for intruders to simply remove the nails or screws from the outside.
Water Extraction & Dry Out
Water damage from firefighting efforts is common, so start by removing standing water. Use a pump for areas deeper than a few inches or a wet-dry shop-style vacuum if the water is shallower. Once most of the water is gone, use a wet-dry vacuum to remove as much remaining water for surfaces. Start at the top and move across and down to prevent water from spreading again. Then use dehumidifiers and air movers to thoroughly dry out the area. At this point, you can begin cleaning smoke and soot. Review our complete drying water damage guide for more details on the water extraction process.
Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Thick black smoke and soot stains are common after main fires. Start by using a shop vacuum to remove soot, but avoid rubbing the nozzle of the hose directly against the surface. It can rub in stains and make them hard to remove. Then switch to a dry cleaning sponge and scrub away soot stains. For smoke stains, use a mixture of liquid dish soap and hot water. Use a rag or sponge to wipe away smoke stains.
Char and Debris Removal
Fires often leave a far amount of burn marks and debris. Bag larger debris and use a shop vacuum to remove smaller items. Depending on the extent of the fire, you may need to remove sections of drywall, flooring, or cabinets. When removing these items, make clean, straight cuts. This makes the reconstruction process easier.
Deodorize and Sanitize
Fires often leave smokey smells and water damage can lead to mold and odors. For that reason, you should always deodorize and sanitizing before rebuilding a house after a fire. Baking soda is often the most effective at removing smells after a house fire. Review our removing smoke smells guide for more tips on deodorizing after a fire. To disinfect, mix 3/4 of a cup of bleach with a gallon of water and either spray or wipe down every surface.
The process of rebuilding a house after a fire will vary depending on the extent of the damage. For example, you might only need to paint after a small kitchen fire. However, larger fires might require completely rebuilding a room or even a large portion of your home. Unless you are familiar with the construction process, we advise you only attempt to rebuild your home if the damage is minor and primarily inside.
Get Complete Fire Restoration Services
Get fire restoration after any size fire. From independent companies to the most popular brands like Belfor Restoration and Restoration 1, choose a fire damage contractor in your area now. For emergency service, call 1-888-443-3110 now to speak with our on-call fire damage restoration company in your area. Our on-call fire contractors offer 24-hour service and a free estimate on repairs.