Over $12 billion in damages were inflicted by over 500,000 fires in 2019, the latest year for which statistics are available. So in other words, even modest fires can result in significant financial losses as well as considerable emotional losses.
If you have experienced a house fire and suffered losses, it’s important to clean up and restore right away. This will help you overcome your losses and resume a more normal life.
To help you rebuild after a fire let’s look at how long the process usually takes and what steps you need to complete to restore your home and regain a greater sense of normalcy in your life.
Flare-ups in the kitchen and other small fires that are contained to a single room frequently do not result in significant fire damage. However, damage from smoke and water can be significant.
If someone in the house has breathing sensitivity, this secondary damage may cause additional issues. It may be difficult for them to tolerate smoke and mold.
With this type of fire, either the entire area needs to be redone or the insurance company must provide in-kind replacements. Usually, less than a day is needed for all of this cleaning and construction once work begins. Of course, it will take longer to find a contractor and schedule in the work.
This category of house fire typically includes garage and living room fires that, if not extinguished right away, could ultimately consume the home.
With medium fires, even if the damage from soot, water, and smoke is substantial, they can typically be repaired with rigorous cleaning, repairing, and repainting.
One issue here to be concerned about is concealed damage, such as burned electrical lines. That’s why it is important to have your home inspected by an electrician, as not all insurance adjusters and contractors are trained to perform this type of work. Furthermore, putting out a medium-sized fire may also harm the drywall and other parts of the house.
Repairing damage from medium fires typically takes two to three days once work begins. In the event that furniture needs to be replaced, the repair time may be extended.
Large fires damage most, if not all, of a house. The process of restoring a fire-damaged house could take at least a month and often longer.
In most cases, your insurance company must provide comparable alternative housing for you and your family during the rebuilding process.
With large fires, the part that frequently takes the longest is assessing the damage. Reconstruction typically doesn’t take as comparatively long once it starts – provided you are able to avoid schedule delays with workers.
Now let’s take a closer look at the steps that are involved in rebuilding after a house fire.
7 steps for rebuilding a house after a fire
After a house fire, recovery takes time, but you don’t have to do it alone. You can rely on professional assistance while you complete these steps because many of the tasks required must be completed by qualified specialists.
Step 1 – Contact your insurance company
Making the initial call to your insurance provider is the first step in rebuilding a house after a fire. The claims procedure has to get started as soon as feasible.
Step 2 – Evaluate structural damage caused by the house fire
The second step after reporting a house fire to your insurance company is to make sure your home is structurally secure before beginning any renovations of the fire-damaged property.
Your insurance agent may be able to suggest a structural engineer for this crucial portion of the project. The engineer’s inspection will include looking at the following:
– Floor joists for the attic, second floor, and basement.
– Interior walls that support weight.
– Walls in the basement and foundation.
At this time, you may also want to start looking for qualified electricians and contractors that specialize in repairing fire-damaged properties.
Step 3 – Secure the property.
You will want to secure all but one entryway and board up any broken windows before starting any work on the fire-damaged house.
You can also reduce the possibility of vandalism throughout the rebuilding process by consistently locking up the house. This is important to do also because many insurance companies demand that after-fire properties be secured.
Step 4 – Prioritize structural repairs.
This is another rebuilding phase that should be left to the experts. To preserve the structural integrity of a fire-damaged house you want skilled carpenters to handle the big repairs.
Work completed during this phase could include rebuilding the attic, fixing broken trusses, and replacing floor joists.
Step 5 – Examine and fix the electrical system.
After completing structural repairs of your fire-damaged house it is time to turn to the home’s electrical system. The system needs to be evaluated and restored by a certified electrician even if the fire didn’t completely demolish it.
A new breaker box is frequently required for a fire-damaged home, and all wiring, outlets, and fixtures must be inspected for safety and replaced if necessary.
Step 6 – Specialist clean up.
Every fire-damaged home repair needs specialist cleanup work to address the various fire and smoke-related problems. Some areas to keep in mind are:
– Mold development on drywall and wet sheetrock
– Sooty remnants and smoke streaks
– Dirty air ducts
Remember, you must have patience during the rebuilding process because it can take many weeks to several months on average to rebuild after a fire.
Step 7 – Keep a detailed log.
During the rebuilding process you should plan on keeping track of all repair and replacement expenditures because rebuilding after a fire can be very expensive and you want to be reimbursed by your insurance company when possible.
To demonstrate the magnitude of your loss and the cost of recovery, convert your documents and photos to digital files.
Working with the insurance provider is made simpler by thorough documentation.
Sell Your Fire-Damaged House
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