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Fire and Water Damage Restoration

by Marcus Pickett

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With a heart attack, time is muscle. With fire and water damage, time is home. The more time you lose, the more of your house you will lose. Fire and water damage restoration is a process that must be undertaken immediately to salvage what can be salvaged. And because battling fire requires dousing the flames with water, often you're forced to address both issues at the same time. Rightfully so, firefighters aren't concerned with hardwood flooring or upholstered furniture when fighting a house fire. If your home has suffered fire or water damage, here are a few steps to take so you can get your home back into shape as soon as possible.

Safety First
Both fire and water can cause significant structural damage to your home. Be sure to look for structural damage to walls, roofs, stairs, ceilings, and floors before you re-enter your home, much less begin to assess personal property loss. It's just not worth it. Beware that water damage is often less obvious than fire damage, so be especially careful when re-entering your home. Damage to electrical wiring is another huge concern and, in the case of a natural disaster, even the water coming out of your tap may be contaminated. In all cases, it's best to play it safe and hire a fire and water damage restoration company to assess and approve the structural integrity of your home before you return.

Fire Damage Restoration
Anytime your home suffers a fire of any magnitude, you're in for a big cleanup. The areas directly affected will most likely have to be remodeled and restored to ensure their structural stability. Beyond that, smoke and fire residue present health risks (mostly respiratory), and the smell of a fire can be almost impossible to get rid of. In all cases, clean everything thoroughly to begin with. Use a HEPA vacuum to ensure you capture all small particulates of soot, debris and fire extinguisher residue. After that, be sure to remove all other larger debris from your home. Ventilation is also an important step. Open all windows, and use fans to ventilate the affected rooms to help get rid of the smell. Be sure to clean first, however, as using fans around dust, soot and other fine dusts can cause respiratory distress. Finally, call in a fire and water damage restoration company to do the real dirty work. They have equipment and procedures at the ready that no average homeowner has access to.

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Water Damage Restoration
With water damage, the primary concern is drying out your home as soon as possible. Once you've had the structural integrity of your home assessed and approved, do whatever you can to get the moisture out. Vacuum out any standing water with all-purpose vacuums, set up dehumidifiers in the affected rooms, and set up as many fans as possible to speed up the drying out process. Failure to do so can lead to mold, fungus, and mildew problems, all of which will require a major mold remediation project to eliminate the problem. If your home has incurred substantial water damage, be sure to hire a fire and water damage restoration company to come in and tackle the job. Just as with fire damage, the professional have commercial-grade solutions at their disposal, including freezer, cryogenic, vacuum freeze, and vacuum thermal drying techniques to get things back to normal as soon as possible.

Insurance Companies and Water and Fire Damage Restoration
Most homeowners have homeowners' insurance that covers most water and fire damage. Yet, as most people know and too many have experienced, you're better off believing a poker player than a claims adjuster. It's never a bad idea to hire a water and fire damage restoration company to complete an independent assessment and cost estimate. Hopefully, you won't need it, but if legal action becomes necessary, it's a handy document to have in your corner. Alternately, you may find your independent cost assessment comes in underneath the insurance company's. Or, you may find you don't want to return your home to its original condition, lopping off a damaged section or using the disaster as an excuse to complete a home addition. Again, there is no downside in talking to a water and fire damage restoration company, just don't wait until it's too late!

Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.