While a property that was damaged in a fire requires very careful attention in order to be restored, it is possible to repair a house after it burns down. The process requires an extremely thorough structural examination in addition to both interior and exterior repairs. Insurers usually undercompensate the owners in these situations, leaving them with meager settlements that don’t come close to covering all of the damages. Not to mention, on top of the damage to the house, personal possessions and valuables might have been lost in the fire. Unfortunately, one has to be prepared for incidents like these. So it’s important to learn how you can fix and restore a house after a fire.
Here, we will go over what you should know, from testing the walls and the supporting structure to performing interior repairs. Keep reading to find out more.
Examining Structural Damage
It’s very dangerous to enter a house after a fire without having expert carpenters, fire marshalls, and builders examine the structural damage, clear out the debris, and assess the interior damage. You have to hire a professional to examine the structure of the house before entering. Then you should have the carpenters clean the debris both inside and outside the home. You can ask a fire marshall to help you review the site and evaluate interior damages. Remember that repairing fire damages is not an easy job for the average person or homeowner, so it’s dangerous for anyone to do these tasks on their own. But as an owner of a fire-damaged house, you can get involved in other lighter jobs later on to save costs such as cosmetic cleanup and repairs. Examples include painting, hanging shelves, and installing new cabinets to replace the damaged ones.
Repairs and Minimizing Damage
After evaluating the condition of the underlying structure, the next step is repairing the severely damaged parts of the house. The building contractor starts by clearing an entryway into the house through which you can enter and remove debris and charred wood. Very careful examination has to be performed on that section of the house before entering. You should then be able to remove charred flooring, drywall, and burned window casings using crowbars and other hand tools. Make sure you clean up every room and spend your money on the essential repairs only at this point in the process. You want to repair what received the most damage first rather than wasting your money on cosmetic improvements at this stage.
Basement and Attic Inspection
Start by inspecting the foundation for floor or joist damage. Pull out the drywall and check all the load-bearing walls in the house and especially in the basement, as these walls support and carry the weight of the floors above them. This means that they are holding up the weight of the entire home. Many owners of fire damaged houses in the US don’t know how important it is to hire a carpenter at this stage. However, only an experienced carpenter will be able to properly repair the load-bearing walls inside your house. You should also have them rebuild any damaged attic trusses and floor joists. Make sure all the interior framework is intact before moving on to the exterior repair of the roof and walls. During that stage, you can also install new windows and doors to protect the interior from rain.
After dealing with the exterior of the house, you can move on to the smaller concerns such as the bathroom, kitchen, and bedrooms. Visit all the rooms and install new drywall if necessary. Then you can rebuild the kitchen and bathroom areas from scratch; put away any kitchen or bath fixtures, cabinets, or undamaged wood flooring to reuse in the repairs if you find any. The next step is painting and finishing the flooring. Finally, the last phase of the interior repairs should be installing crown molding, wood trim, and baseboard materials throughout the home. You can ask a fire marshall to help you create a report documenting all of the repairs done on the house to negotiate the repair costs with the insurance company and get a better settlement.
Restoring a house after a fire is not an easy job, and to a typical homeowner, it may seem overwhelming. Challenges like these, however, can be overcome with the help of experts who have dealt with them before and who know what to expect going into a fire-damaged house. Make sure you get the place professionally examined before entering the house, beginning the repairs, and making cosmetic improvements.