A fire, even a small one that causes minimal damage can create big problems. Obviously, some water and smoke damage are immediately noticeable. But this is just a small part of the problem. What you can’t see is often a bigger issue as this can result in more expansive repairs. And then there are the associated health issues with these damages. Smoke permeates curtains and carpets, stains painted walls, and coats wood paneling. Then there is the water, hundreds and hundreds of gallons that can have a devastating effect on walls, baseboards, carpets, counters, cabinets and even the electrical system. And this can result in mold growing between walls and in other places.
Stage one of cleanup and restoration is the removal of damaged or ruined items such as furniture, electronics, mattresses, and clothes. Afterwards professional cleaning and evaluation can commence. Disinfectants, steam cleaning, and scrubbing will make it easier to determine the extent of damages. This will also make it easier to begin mold containment and removal. Remember, mold is a significant problem that can be difficult to control and resolve after a fire. There are various types of mold but remember, black mold is especially toxic and requires professional remediation. And of course, you will want to begin drying out the home or office by using fans to circulate air in the rooms. An advantage to hiring a professional will be the use of industrial dehumidifiers.
Porous materials such as carpeting, and wooden floors, paneling and furniture act as sponge with water as well as smoke. Some materials may look salvageable, but inspection can determine what needs to be removed and what can be restored. This includes cabinets and doors. In the long run professional inspection can be a cost saving measure as it may prevent trying to restore something that can’t be saved.
The ceiling particularly susceptible to water damage. They should be inspected above as well as below. Severe water damage could lead to the collapse of the ceiling, and extensive mold growth. And light fixtures and ceiling fans may have been irreparably damaged. Damage to drywall and wall framing is a bit more difficult to ascertain. Again, retention of a professional should be viewed as a cost saving measure.
Heat and smoke will also play havoc on caulking and seals. It is best to err on the side of caution and simply replace rather than attempt spotty repairs. Damaged caulking can lead to problems months or even years later if not addressed. In general, this is considered a last step after other repairs and cleanup have been completed.
A crucial step in renovation after a fire is evaluation of the electrical system. Damages to computers, televisions, and appliances are obvious. Most should be, or will most likely need to be, replaced. Less obvious is damage to outlets, wiring, circuit breakers and switches. Again, at the risk of sounding repetitious, hiring a professional can be a cost saving measure.
Your business or home may have survived the fire, and for that you can be grateful. But making it safe and livable again will take time and work. But if done right it can actually be better than new. Mohave County has a leader in restoriation and repair such as this called COIT Cleaning & Restoration. This is a locally owned franchise with a great staff will to go the extra mile to ensure you’re safe and back up and running as soon as possible.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America