Fire Damage Restoration: The Complete Guide

According to the National Fire Protection Agency's 2019 report, property well over $14 billion was lost in fires.

Fire Damage Restoration: The Complete Guide

According to the National Fire Protection Agency’s 2019 report, property well over $14 billion was lost in fires. The report also suggested that seeking the help of restoration professionals immediately after a fire could significantly help to reduce repair and restoration costs.

Fire damage often stems from various household incidents, including malfunctioning electrical wiring or appliances. Another common course of fires is the kitchen stove which can cause extensive damage to a home. But fires from any source can cause significant damage to a home, often leaving behind a strong smell of smoke and soot.

So, the million-dollar question is can you restore a home that’s been damaged by fire, aka fire damage restoration? If so, what does it usually take?

This article will outline the steps professionals follow to restore fire damage, provide information on the cost of fire damage restorations, and advise on what to do in the immediate aftermath of a fire.

How Does Fire Damage Restoration Work?

Fire damage restoration involves using a series of steps carried out by professional restoration companies. These companies usually employ a team of people with experience to restore a property that has suffered fire damage to its pre-fire condition.

Repair and restoration of a fire-damaged home can take several weeks or even months, depending on the severity of the damage. Restoration experts must thoroughly remove all traces of smoke, soot, and corrosive elements, including their odors.

In most cases, fire damage is often accompanied by water damage, as the fire can melt or break pipes, allowing water to seep through different parts of the property. Water damage can also occur when the fire department uses water to extinguish the fire. Therefore, the first and most crucial step taken by restoration experts is to remove any residual water that may cause further damage to the property. This is one of the most crucial steps.

bms & highland inc NC assessing damage after fire
bms & highland-inc-after fire damage-recovery

Below are the steps experts like us typically take to repair and restore fire damage.

Assessing The Damage

Proper approval from the local fire station is necessary before restoration specialists can enter the fire-damaged property to assess the extent of the damage.

Once authorized, restoration experts will inspect the property’s contents to determine what items can be salvaged or repaired. We and others will often document the assessment, especially for properties that are considered beyond repair.

In addition, any undamaged furniture or clothing should be removed from the property and aired out since smoke can leave a lingering odor even after the fire is put out. After a thorough evaluation, we have a better understanding of the extent of the damage, the estimated timeline for restoration, and the overall cost. We then provide this to the client, aka you; once you approve, we can start working on restoring the property.

Steps For Restoring A Fire Damaged Property

Once we thoroughly understand the damage, the next step is to secure the site. This is done by:

  • Putting up a fence around the property
  • Deploying large tarps to secure all the vulnerable roof parts
  • Remove all the junk we can get off the ground
  • Use planks to fill in the gaps or probably shore up the damaged walls

Restoring A Property After Fire And Water Damage

Using water or other chemicals to extinguish a fire can cause significant damage to your home. Water can seep through various parts of the structure, causing damage to walls, plasterboard, and carpets.

The primary objective of this stage is to eliminate water and dry out the property to prevent mold growth or rust formation. Our water extraction team may use large fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the premises effectively.

It is worth stating that some fire crews may use chemicals to put out fires, which can leave harmful residue throughout the house, resulting in chemical contamination that must be treated. In such situations, chemical sealants may be necessary to prevent further damage or severe health risks.

BMS & Highland INC smoke damage restoration
bms & highland inc NC remodeling

Eliminating Odor and Soot

It is by far one of the most time-consuming phases of property restoration. The steps mainly include eliminating smoke and soot from the property.

Removing Soot

Soot is a byproduct of a fire that consists of partially burnt materials. A deposit of contaminated carbon particles can pose a health hazard if not correctly cleaned up. The contaminated carbon particles are known to penetrate any porous surface, including furniture, curtains, building materials, carpets, and clothing.

Soot can either be dry or oily, depending on the material burned. We will often remove dry soot using dry brushes and a low-alkali solvent. Oily soot can only be cleaned using high-alkali detergents.

After removing the soot, your air filters and ventilation system may also require deep cleaning to minimize further soot damage. Once soot and water damage have been addressed, smoke damage is the next order of business.

Smoke Elimination

When flammable objects burn, smoke is created, which can be challenging to clean. The smoke can cling to surfaces. Although standard cleaning methods can eliminate visible signs of smoke, they can still penetrate small spaces and crevices that a regular cleaner may miss.

Various household appliances may also require replacement as smoke can damage the sensitive components inside. Fabrics such as carpets, curtains, rugs, and clothing require extra attention as they can be easily ruined.

The restoration specialist may use deodorizing chemicals sprayed across the entire premises to eliminate the remaining smoke odor. Thermal fogging or ozone treatment may also be used in this process.

Thermal fogging can remove smoke odor from clothing by using the same properties that caused the smoke odor to penetrate the fabric in the first place. Ozone treatment breaks down smoke particles and eliminates their odor using ozone devices or chemicals.

It is also worth emphasizing that the destroyed items on the property may also be highly dangerous and carcinogenic, so appropriate safety equipment should be used when handling them.


The final phase of the restoration process is restoring the structure to how it was before the fire. This usually entails mending the damaged areas. However, there may be certain portions of the structure that can’t be repaired and thus will need to be rebuilt or demolished.

What Does Restoring A Property Cost?

Restoration specialists determine the cost of fire damage repair, but they don’t usually charge hourly rates for restoring a fire-damaged home. Instead, they typically quote a fixed price for the entire project. Generally, this will range from $5,500 to around $25,000 or more, depending on the size of the property and the extent of the damage. Typically, labor costs may range from $60 and $90 per hour if they charge hourly rates.

Specialists recommend that home and business owners call for help as soon as possible, ideally within 48 hours of the fire, to save as much of the property as possible. Delaying the restoration process may cause additional harm from residual soot, water, or chemicals.

It’s also important to hire contractors who know how to enter a fire-damaged building safely. The cost may vary based on the fire’s complexity, source, and location. Simple fires, typically outside the home, generate less soot and are thus less expensive to repair. In contrast, complex home fires produce more smoke and soot, resulting in higher restoration costs.

A stove fire may be more expensive to repair due to its source, and a grease fire may leave behind oily soot that is more challenging to clean than dry soot. Repairing fire damage in the attic can be expensive due to potential structural damage that may affect other parts of the property, such as wiring or vents.

Costs of Fire Damage Restoration: What You Need to Know

If your property has suffered fire damage, you may be wondering about the costs involved in restoring it. Restoration costs vary depending on the type of damage and the extent of the restoration work required. Here’s what you need to know about the different costs associated with fire damage restoration.

Cost of Structural Repairs and Renovations

Structural damage is usually the first thing that specialists analyze after a fire. Structural renovations for a fire-damaged home, such as wood restoration, plasterboard construction, and installing a replacement insulating system, per room might cost between $15,000 and $25,000.

Smoke Damage Restoration Cost

Smoke damage cleaning usually costs between $250 and $1,200. Smoke damage cleaning prices may be comparable to soot cleanup charges, with specialists most likely providing you with a similar quotation for both.

Thermal Fogging

Another alternative for specialists to aid with smoke-damaged portions of the property is thermal fogging treatment, which would cost between $250 and $550 per floor.

Ozone Treatment

The cost per floor of ozone treatment for homes ranges between $300 and $600, and it is a regular smoke damage restoration procedure.

Soot Damage Restoration Cost

Soot elimination, ventilation duct cleaning, and odor control cost around $400 to $1,700 on average. The expense of soot cleaning may be comparable to the cost of smoke damage restoration. Pricing varies depending on whether the soot is greasy or dry.

bms & highland-inc-fire-restoration cost
BMS & Highland-INC-Contsruction- damage cleanup
bms & highland inc NC assessing damage after fire

Water Damage Cost

The expenses for fire and flood damage restoration are comparable as they both require removing excess water from the site. Restoring a single water-damaged room may cost around $3,000 to $6,000.

Chemical Damage Restoration Cost

Thoroughly cleaning chemical residues may cost around $600 to $2,000.

Debris Removal Cost

Restoration contractors have numerous alternatives when offering a quotation for burned debris removal. You may be charged a fixed fee of $300 to $1,600 to remove all the debris. However, other experts may charge per pound of weight, starting at around $60.

Remodeling Cost

The remodeling cost after a fire is high since numerous integral structures may have been harmed. Every property area will be evaluated to determine whether drywall, wiring, power components, or HVAC needs to be repaired. Aesthetic adjustments may also be necessary, which means that you will most likely need to install new floorboards and repaint all the renovated spaces.

Restoration experts usually aim to recover as much of the property as possible, except if the property has suffered irreversible damage and must be demolished. Sometimes, the total remodeling cost may exceed the property’s market value. When this happens, your insurance provider may declare your claim irreversible damage. However, this is rare; in 90% of cases, the property can be restored.

Final Word

It has probably become evident to most readers that fire damage restoration entails more than just having someone clean and restore all the areas damaged by the fire. It is just as important, if not more, to evaluate how the fire may have affected the structure of the house and all the properties within it.

Our experience over the years has proven that every fire is unique, and that’s because it burns at its own unique pace. This pace is often hastened or slowed down by the materials it feeds on; thus, this also varies the temperature of the fire. Varying air quality can also affect the damage done by the fire.

While most people may attempt or contemplate restoring or repairing the fire damage on their own instead of hiring a restoration firm, the fact is that this isn’t a DIY project by any measure.

Following the outlines above can help you recover comparatively sooner from fire damage because the damage can only worsen if a professional hasn’t examined it. Regardless of your circumstances, often making these decisions under pressure can be challenging, if not a downright daunting task. That’s why it is advisable to hire a professional to decide for you. Consulting with professionals will mean that all the information you need and the tools required to do the job are available. This means higher odds of reclaiming your home or any other damaged property.

North Carolina

North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is known for its beautiful beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, including the popular Outer Banks, as well as its picturesque mountain ranges, such as the Blue Ridge Mountains. North Carolina has a rich history, including its role in the American Revolution and the Civil War, and is home to many historic landmarks and cultural attractions. The state is also known for its thriving industries, including banking, technology, and research, and is home to several prestigious universities and research institutions.

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