When deciding what needs to be replaced after a house fire and what can simply be cleaned there are several items where the answer is clear.
These items must be replaced! Replacement is necessary to both ensure the safety of your family as well as the continued existence of your home in some cases.
What Items Need to Be Replaced After a House Fire?
The first thing you should definitely replace is any electrical wiring that is in the area of the home where the fire occurred and has been damaged.
Melted and charred wiring is a fire hazard that can cause another fire to break out in the same area. To ensure you and your family sleep easier at night and are protected against subsequent fires – get the wiring replaced by a certified professional electrician.
It doesn’t matter if you plan on staying in your home after the fire or you plan on selling the home, the first thing you need to do is to have any damaged wiring replaced.
This will protect house occupants and keep you from being held liable if another fire occurs.
Replace All Smoke Damaged Carpet & Furniture
Here you need to have a professional company come in and assess your home’s smoke damage.
If the company believes smoke damage can be removed from certain items then those items can remain in the home. However, fire damaged or smoke damaged carpet and furniture that cannot be cleaned and restored to pre-fire status need to be replaced.
Smoke damage is nothing to mess around with. It means that carcinogenic chemicals remain in items where they can be breathed in and harm the health of you and your family.
Smoke damage can cause cancer, skin rashes, eye irritation, breathing issues and much more.
That’s why, if carpet and furniture appear damaged, they should most likely be removed and replaced.
Also, keep in mind that smoke damage travels – so even though a fire was confined to one side of your house there could be smoke damage on the other side of the house.
Additional areas often containing smoke damage include the air ducts, curtains, behind walls and more.
Replace Glass Near the Fire Site
Heat is not good for glass. It can weaken it so even if the glass appears to be OK it might suddenly shatter – for instance when opening or closing a window.
To avoid that happening, you should strongly consider replacing glass anywhere near a major fire.
Here are some additional tips when replacing windows after a house fire:
Have them installed by professionals.
If you want your windows to keep out leaks, drafts, and keep your home comfortable, you need professional installers to work on your windows. Please keep in mind that many window companies hire their window installation out to subcontractors. Look for a company that has their own experienced team.
Put a lot of thought into what type material is used for your window’s frames.
Window frames are typically made of wood, vinyl, aluminum or fiberglass. Each material comes with pluses and minuses – look at each to decide which is best for your particular situation. Also, keep in mind that material selection also impacts the price of windows and their ultimate quality.
Replace All Damaged Insulation
Insulation that was damaged in a fire is not going to provide anywhere near the level of protection that undamaged insulation provides.
Also, damaged insulation is going to have air pockets and other imperfections that further damage its effectiveness.
One more thing to consider: embers can smolder in insulation for hours and then reignite into a new fire. That’s another reason why it is important to get rid of insulation immediately after a fire.
Replace All Burnt Wood in the Structural Frame
Burnt or charred wood is damaged and weakened wood. You must replace this wood with new, strong pieces to ensure the integrity of your house and the safety of your family or other occupants.
Burnt wood can also be a source of smoke damage that irritates your lungs and causes health problems for you and your family.
For this reason never “scab a piece of wood onto burnt wood.” The burnt wood needs to be replaced completely.
This also ensures your house is better protected against strong winds, earthquakes and more.
What About Other Household Items?
When deciding what needs to be replaced after a house fire there are many items that will have to be assessed on a case by case basis.
For instance, stainless steel appliances may have survived the fire unscathed and simply need to be cleaned thoroughly before they can be reused.
You may also be able to salvage clothes, bed linens and other items that were away from the fire. Just be sure to clean them thoroughly to remove any potential smoke damage.
When in doubt ask a professional – such as an experienced inspector or contractor – for their thoughts on particular objects.
Make sure the inspector or contractor has experience with fire damage, however. Fire damage is a unique circumstance and traditional inspectors and contractors may have not had to deal with it before.
When analyzing your house and repairing fire damage you want to work with someone who has extensive fire damage repair experience to ensure the home is safe for occupants in the future.
These knowledgeable professionals can help you make much better decisions about what to replace and what to clean and keep.
One more thing: when getting rid of items that can’t be replaced – dumpsters aren’t cheap to rent. Likewise, companies that load items into trucks to take to the dump usually aren’t cheap either.
If you know someone with a truck, that can be a big help. You may also want to consider renting a truck. Sometimes, companies that buy homes offer free dumpsters to help you clean out the home.
Probably One of the Easiest Things You Can Do is to Sell Your Fire-Damaged House
We Buy Fire Damaged Houses buys burned homes in “as is” so you don’t have to worry about cleanup and repairs. We’ll handle all of that after the sale is complete.
You can get your money fast – we pay in all cash – and then get on with your life. Often with a much nicer house in a much nicer neighborhood.
Simply fill out the form below to see if your fire-damaged house qualifies for a free quote from us.