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Fire and smoke damage restoration

Restoring your home or building after a fire can be a stressful, daunting task. But it is the first necessary step in rebuilding your life after such a serious event.

Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. When you learn more about what goes into the restoration process, you’ll have a much easier time finding the right team to help you get settled again after a fire. In this article, we’ll talk about what you can expect from your restoration team, price estimates, and everything else you need to know about what happens when the firefighters pack up and leave.

As your trusted smoke and fire damage restoration team in Atlanta, One Stop Restoration want to give you as much information as possible so that you don’t have to deal with any more surprises during this challenging time.

What happens to a building after a fire?

Unfortunately, damage from a house or office fire can extend far beyond the actual flames. Here are a few ways that smoke and fire can damage a property:

Structural damage

Structural damage is what we tend to think of first when it comes to building fires. As the fire grows and moves, it consumes whatever is in its path, including wooden beams, flooring, ceilings and walls. At the same time, the intense heat from fire can impact concrete and steel. This, of course, can weaken the structural integrity of the building.

In some cases, the structural elements can be salvaged or restored to maintain safety. But, if a fire was severe, a structural engineer may conclude that repairs need to be made to the foundation, floors, walls, beams, or other integral pieces of a building’s structure before it’s considered safe again. One Stop Restoration in Atlanta metro area can handle all types of fire damage situations for both residential and commercial customers.

Damage to and behind the walls

The inside of a property after a fire can look black, even in areas where the flames never reached. That’s because smoke and certain chemicals released during the fire can permeate other areas of the home, covering surfaces such as drywall, stone, windows, and more.

The smoke, flames, and intense heat of a fire can also penetrate behind the visible walls in your home to affect your insulation as well as electrical, gas and plumbing systems. If not assessed and repaired, you could deal with the lingering smell of smoke as well as issues with your lighting and plumbing throughout the home.

Damage to furniture, decor, and appliances

Furniture, decor, and appliances can be subject to fire and smoke damage as well. Smoke can easily penetrate soft surfaces like couches, mattresses, and paintings, and heat damage can affect electrical appliances, such as vacuum cleaners and microwaves.

Other risks from water damage

One of the most unexpected sources of damage that homeowners face after a fire is water damage. But it’s actually a common occurrence after a fire.

Firstly, high pressure hoses that are used to extinguish a fire can create water damage in the home. And, If you live in an area with high humidity or rain, water damage can also occur as a result of damage to the exterior walls of your house.

It’s for this reason that smoke and fire damage restoration often go hand in hand with water damage restoration. This will prevent your home from developing mold and lower the risk of parasites drawn to standing water, such as mosquitoes and flies. One Stop Restoration in Atlanta metro area can handle all types of water and flood damage situations for both residential and commercial customers.

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Health risks

There are a few different ways that your family could be at risk for health conditions in the wake of a building fire. Firstly, the smoke that clings to surfaces after a fire like this can expose your family to harmful chemicals that were released during burning. The soot itself, which can linger in the air after a fire, poses respiratory problems when inhaled. These substances can be circulated through your property’s ventilation system, which means that occupants can suffer the effects for months after a fire if not properly dealt with.

As we mentioned, the water damage sustained after a fire can pose health risks in the form of mold exposure and pests. Inhalation of mold spores can lead to respiratory problems such as infections and a worsening of asthma symptoms, while a spike in mosquito populations can increase a risk for West Nile Virus and other diseases.

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What does a smoke and fire restoration process involve?

Clearly, there can be a lot of damage to contend with after a building fire. So, what can a remediation team do to get your home or office back in a safe, livable condition?

As you probably guessed, it will depend a lot on the extent of the smoke and fire damage. A small fire that was quickly put out will still need a restoration process, but it likely won’t be as extensive as a large fire, which could require a complete gutting of the home. That said, your smoke and fire restoration team will likely follow these steps:

  • Ensure proper safety to enter the building. Because fires can cause structural damage as well as damage to electrical, gas and plumbing systems, it’s important that your team use caution when entering.
  • Assess the damage. For a small fire, your team may be able to put together a remediation plan themselves. But, if there’s a risk of structural damage, they may call in a structural engineer to assess the damage before creating their plan. This step is also done alongside an insurance assessor.
  • Prepare the space. Because fire can expose your home or office to the elements, your team will start by covering any openings or holes with tarps. They may also section off the affected area of the building so that mold, soot or other debris don’t spread to other rooms.
  • Remove furniture, appliances, and decor that need to be cleaned or replaced. From light fixtures to couches to wall decorations, everything in the rooms affected by smoke and fire damage will need to be removed.
  • Dry out the space. Mold can begin to form anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after a fire, so it’s essential to remove water and humidity as soon as possible. Your team may do this with wet vacs and air movers.
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  • In mild cases, washing of the walls, ceilings, floors, and all hard surfaces. Sometimes, smoke and soot doesn’t have the chance to penetrate deep into the surfaces of your property. In these cases, your team may be able to wash these surfaces either with the use of a dry chemical sponge or a wet method with wall wash. There is a risk of smearing the soot when using the wrong method, so leave it to your experienced team to know which method to use.
  • In more severe cases, removal of damaged drywall, flooring and ceilings. In the case of larger fires, materials like wood paneling, door and window frames, flooring, and ceilings may not be salvageable. If your team needs to gut the space, they will remove and discard these materials.
  • Vent cleaning. Smoke that isn’t properly removed from your ventilation system will continue to spread through your property. So, your team will seal off any vents that haven’t been exposed while cleaning the affected area.
  • Replacement of damaged electrical, gas, and plumbing systems. This may require the help of an outside contractor for repairs to the electric, gas, and plumbing, and it is a necessary step to get your home or office back in working condition. Without doing this job the right way, when the wiring and piping is exposed, you could be facing even more expensive repairs later on, after the drywall has been replaced.
  • Replacement of damaged insulation. Insulation is a porous material that easily traps the smell of smoke. It can also be vulnerable to mold growth as a result of the fire extinguishing process. So, it may need to be replaced.
  • Replacement of drywall, ceilings, windows and flooring. As your restoration team starts to reconstruct your walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows, you’ll see your home or office returning back to normal. Many homeowners use this opportunity to remodel or upgrade their space as a way to get a fresh start.
  • Ozone treatment. Ozone treatment can be an effective last step in fire and smoke remediation. This machine works to neutralize any lingering odors so there is no smell of smoke in your home once the professionals have packed up and left.
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How much does smoke and fire restoration cost?

After learning more about the process of smoke and fire restoration, you might be wondering just how much a job like this will cost.

For small fires that are localized to one room, average prices for the Atlanta area tend to be between $2000 and $4000. But, for more severe fires in larger homes, the prices can increase dramatically. In some cases, fire and smoke restoration can be upwards of $50,000. Here are a few factors that can determine the final price of a restoration project:

  • The size and severity of the fire.
  • Whether there has been structural damage to the home or building. If the damage is severe enough that you need the help of a structural engineer, chances are, the final cost will be higher.
  • The extent of water damage as the result of the fire suppression process. Making sure the space is dry is a crucial step and will save you additional costs later on by lowering the risk of mold. But, it can make the process more costly.
  • Whether there was additional weather damage. If the home or office wasn’t properly weather-proofed after a fire, damages from rain, wind or other weather conditions can add to the overall cost.
  • Upgrades requested by the homeowner or building owner. Sometimes, home insurance will cover upgrades in the wake of a fire. But if not, you could be paying more for any changes you’d like to make to your home or office.

Have questions about pricing? Call one Stop Restoration today to schedule a free on site estimate!

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What are the benefits of hiring a fire and smoke remediation company?

It might have become pretty clear by this point that this is not your average DIY clean-up job. If you don’t restore your space the right way at this stage, you could be dealing with additional damages from water, as well as lingering smell of smoke that can last for months or years.

Here are a few more reasons why hiring the right remediation team is your best option:

  • The pros know how to navigate local building codes. Dealing with a fire is a stressful, even potentially traumatic experience. And, you don’t want to spend the subsequent months trying to get up to speed on building codes and safety regulations. The pros can help you navigate these complicated codes so that you don’t have to.
  • They can get the job done faster. No matter how large the fire was, remediation can take time. A DIY job, though, will take much longer than a dedicated team of experienced professionals.
  • They’re equipped to do the job safely. A restoration team knows the hazards of a house fire, from the dangers of structural damage to the health risks of soot and mold exposure. That’s why they show up with the proper procedure and PPE needed to do the job safely.
  • They know what boxes to check before calling it a day. When damage from fire and smoke is not dealt with properly, a property owner will continue to deal with the consequences for months or even years. But, when you rely on a professional team to get your space back to normal, you can be sure that they’ve done everything they can to prevent future problems, such as lingering smoke odor or mold.
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When it comes to fire and smoke damage, it’s always best to rely on a professional team to help you rebuild. One Stop Restoration, Your trusted Atlanta restoration team is here to take some of the stress out of dealing with a house or building fire so that you can focus on getting your life back. Give us a call so that we can get started right away.

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