The Fire and the Flood: Home Restoration Basics

July 13, 2020

When disaster strikes, recovering from it can be a big job. Whether you experience a home fire, live in an area impacted by a flood or have some other disaster strike, restoring your home can be a big undertaking. The prospect can seem overwhelming, but things may not be as bad as they appear at first glance. Whether you’re facing this sort of disaster now or just trying to prepare in case the worst someday comes to pass, here are some things you should know about home restoration after a disaster.

Be Prepared for a Shock

When you first go back into your home after a fire, flood or some other disaster, the scene can be very emotional. Even if the actual damage is minimal, furniture, furnishings and keepsakes may be scattered or damaged. There may also be smells that you’re not used to, which can seem very strong when you first enter the building. Don’t try to force yourself to get to work right away; give yourself the time necessary to accept what you’re seeing and calm down after that initial rush of emotion.

Talk to Your Insurance Company

Before you start trying to clear out your home or begin repairs, talk to your insurance company and find out what they need to process your claim. Take pictures of the damage, even though they may need to send someone out to take additional photos as well. Don’t move things around unless absolutely necessary, so that the photos showcase the condition that your home is in. Not only will talking to your insurance company get your claim started, but it will also help you in figuring out what limitations your coverage has. This may aid you in deciding exactly how to approach the restoration moving forward.

Deal with the Water

Whether it’s from a flood or fire hoses, water in your house can be bad news. Not only can the water warp or otherwise damage wood and other materials in the home, but it also provides growth opportunities for bacteria, mildew and mold. Pumps may be needed to remove standing water, especially in your basement, and dehumidifiers will almost certainly be a requirement in rooms that had a lot of water exposure. If ceilings or walls have notable water damage, support structures may be needed to keep ceilings from collapsing or walls from buckling. To avoid possible electric shock, shut off the main breaker in the home until the water is gone and an electrician can confirm that the wiring wasn’t damaged in the disaster.

Repair and Replace

If the damage is largely contained to a single area, you may be able to get away with some basic repairs and no major restoration construction. If there’s heavy water damage or a large number of rooms that were affected, however, you will almost certainly have to replace some water-damaged wood or other support structures. If the damage is substantial enough, this may even require major construction to completely redo some rooms. Don’t skimp here; though things might not seem so bad, wood and other materials that are affected by mildew, mold or rot can fail in the future and require even more costly repairs then.

Check the Outside, Too

A lot of focus goes into internal repairs when it comes to restoration, but there may be external damage as well which will set you up for problems down the road. Damage to your roof, leaks in your siding and even damaged brick or faux stone can set you up for ongoing leaks and water damage that will undermine the structure of your home over time. A thorough inspection of the exterior of your home should reveal potential issues before they can become major problems.

Call in the Restoration Pros

There can be a lot of work required in a restoration project after a disaster, and for many people it’s more than they can DIY. Don’t be afraid to call in professionals who specialize in restorations, since they’ll know exactly what to look for and how to get your repairs done quickly. When you’re looking for restoration pros, HomeKeepr can help you find exactly who you need. Sign up for a free account to find the professionals you need.

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