Regarding home safety, there are few things homeowners fear more than a house fire. A single spark can turn your precious castle into a pile of ash, in just a matter of minutes. Recovering from a fire can take months, even years, depending on the extent of the damage to the home’s structure.
In the case of this home in Atlanta, GA, the home was spared complete destruction, leaving much of the structure intact, with some fire, water and smoke damage. Restoring this home was feasible.
After the fire, the homeowner decided to sell the property to Resideum, a company in Atlanta that buys homes, often renovates, then sells them to new owners. Resideum contracted with us, Property Pro Services, to manage the fire damage restoration on this home.
Evaluating A Fire Damaged Home
The first step of a professional restoration process is to evaluate the property in its current state: Is the structure safe to work in? What kind of damage occurred? How extensive was the damage? Can the home be returned to its original layout and design or does it require changes that would involve new plans, permits, etc.? Would the home need to be demolished to make way for a replacement home?
As mentioned, this home suffered severe damage, but not catastrophic damage that would require starting over from scratch. The fire started in the kitchen and spread to the dining area. But the fire was contained by the local fire department before it spread to the entire structure. Unfortunately, with fire comes smoke. And with firetrucks come water. These three elements–fire, smoke and water–combined to cause damage to most of the home.
After evaluating this property, we determined it was safe to work in, and could be restored to like-new condition. Drywall, floor coverings and some structural elements would have to be replaced, along with cabinets, paint and other finishes. The new homeowner approved the remediation plans and we got to work.
The first step in most fire damage restoration projects beyond the evaluation is to begin demolishing and removing parts of the home that are damaged. This meant the removal of a large amount of drywall (it wasn’t exactly “dry” any longer) due to water damage.
The home is a two-story or split-level home, with the kitchen (where the fire began) on the top floor. As a result, water used to extinguish the fire cascaded down to the bottom floor, doing damage to the ceiling of the room below the kitchen (shown below) and to other drywall in the house.
We removed the damaged drywall, both ceilings and walls, in all affected areas.
Because the fire began in the kitchen, the most damage occurred there and in the dining area. We completely gutted the kitchen, down to the studs. All cabinets and appliances were unusable and we removed those. Fortunately, structural damage was minimal, so we only replaced a single ceiling joists. Termites did some of there own structural damage in the basement, but that’s a subject for a different kind of article.
As an aside, when restoring a property such as this one, some fixtures or appliances may be in usable condition. However, if the overall restoration process calls for all new appliances or all new cabinets and countertops throughout, then you may have to dispose of items that are still in good condition. Each situation is different. Items in good condition could be donated to a good cause, if appropriate.
Behind walls are hidden systems such as the electrical wiring, plumbing, heating and cooling. Exposure to fire will normally destroy these hidden systems, but water and smoke exposure may not. We evaluated those systems and removed the ones that were obviously destroyed, while selectively removing others when their condition was questionable.
The floorboards were all in good condition, as were the trusses. The carpets were damaged, so we removed them in the entire house.
Smoke Damage Mitigation
Smoke, as smoke is wont to do, found its way into nearly every corner and crevice of the home. Mitigating smoke damage requires determining what surfaces were exposed and whether or not the exposure did permanent damage.
For example, the soot left by smoke typically can be removed from drywall through a cleaning process which will leave the drywall in usable condition. However, drywall that has soaked up water or has had the outer paper layer damaged by fire will have to be replaced. On this project, most of the drywall did not require replacement. We cleaned and deodorized as much of the drywall as possible, making it ready for painting.
Smoke odor will dissipate over time, but cleaning surfaces is the best way to stop the odor. For hard-to-reach surfaces like HVAC ducts, solutions such as ozone generators can be used to destroy the odor-causing agent. In this house, we replaced the HVAC system, including much of the ductwork.
Making the House New Again
Once all the water-damaged and fire-damaged materials and soot was removed from the house, we started the damage restoration process. Where necessary we installed wiring, plumbing and other products.
While an unfortunate accident, this fire did give the new owners an opportunity to give the house a new look and feel on the inside. We updated the cabinets, countertops and flooring to a look more in-line with current trends.
We finished out the job with new paint on the entire interior, new carpet, new LVP flooring, new appliances, new countertops, new cabinets, new sinks and new toilets.
We made a few other repairs unrelated to the fire to the home. The roof needed some typical maintenance, including vent boot replacement, sealing and shingle replacement. And we painted the entire exterior of the home.
From Fire Damaged to Restored
This fire damage restoration project was relatively easy because so little of the structure was damaged. With cleaning and replacing of the damaged materials, and putting in some new cabinets, countertops and appliances, we were able to return this home to like new condition and hand it back to the new owner. They, in turn, were able to quickly put the home on the market and sell it.
Get Your Fired Damaged Home Restored
Fire does damage in several ways: flames, smoke and water. But it also takes a toll on you mentally and emotionally when your home is taken from you, even temporarily. Getting your home repaired quickly makes getting over the hardship easier.
Property Pro Services is ready to help with your Atlanta fire damage restoration project. We will return your home to like-new condition as quickly as possible in a professional manner.
Contact us to get an estimate for your fire restoration. You can also call us at 678-869-0041.