It can be very devastating when a fire breaks out in your home. The biggest relief you can get is that your loved ones are safe after such a tragedy. However, you can be left to deal with fire-damaged roofs, interiors, and soaked furnishings. This situation often prompts homeowners to ask about the average time to rebuild after a fire, in this way they can set their expectations and timelines.
In this guide, we’ll answer that question and others, such as “do I have to use my insurance company’s contractor” and the factors that impact the estimated repair times.
Repair and Restoration Time Frame
Contractors cannot give you a specific estimated time when you ask how long it takes to rebuild your home after a fire. Each situation will be different depending on your home’s condition after fire damage. They must first assess the damage and determine the house’s structural integrity. Only then can contractors provide you with a ballpark estimate of the costs and a projected completion date.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, minimal damage after a fire can be repaired in one to two days. If you were fortunate enough to extinguish the fire before it spread to other parts of your home, expect repairs to be easier. However, if the damage is extensive, the average time to rebuild after a fire can take more than seven months.
Rebuilding Your Home After Fire Damage
It will take time for homeowners to recover from a house fire. Several factors will determine how long it will take for you to rebuild your home:
Contacting Your Insurance Provider
The first step to rebuilding your home after a fire is to contact your insurer. This step will initiate the home insurance restoration process. An insurance representative will work out the claims process with you. They will also discuss bringing in a restoration contractor to estimate the damage and cost of repair.
Some homeowners ask, “do I have to use my insurance company’s contractor“? You can hire the contractor referred by your insurer. However, you have the option to find another that suits your needs and budget. The important thing is to work with a trusted restoration company with a proven track record.
After selecting a contractor, a restoration engineer will inspect your home’s structural integrity. Your home will be inspected from the foundation to the attic and upper floors. The engineer and your contractor will determine whether your home can be repaired or if it would be better to rebuild everything from the ground up.
The Severity of the Fire
The severity of the fire can help determine the number of repairs necessary to restore your home. Fires can be classified into three categories:
- Small House Fires: This type of house fire only affects a small part of the home, like the kitchen. Contractors will clean the affected areas to assess the damage. The damage caused by this type of fire can usually be fixed within a few days.
- Medium-Size House Fires: Mid-size house fires often spread from one room to another. The affected areas include the walls, furniture, floors, ceilings, and other home parts. The damage caused by these fires can take weeks to repair.
- Large House Fires: Large house fires often cause extensive damage and can affect your home’s foundation. Contractors must deal with fire, water, smoke and soot damage. This type of damage can extend the average time to rebuild after a fire from several weeks to months.
The next step in the home insurance restoration process will require the contractor to give you a cost estimate and a target completion date. This information will also be forwarded to your insurance company for billing purposes. It is best to review your insurance coverage with your agent to find out if you have sufficient funds to cover for the repairs.
Securing the Property and Structural Repairs
If your home can still be repaired after fire damage, your contractor will secure your property to prevent further damage. Their onsite crew will secure the entryways and board up any broken windows. Structural repairs will be performed first, including repairs to the foundation, interior framework, floor joists and trusses. Expect structural repairs to last at least a week, depending on the extent of the damage.
Electrical and Fire-Specific Damage
A licensed electrician will inspect and repair your home’s electrical system. For example, homes may need new wiring, outlets, breaker boxes and other electrical fixtures after a house fire. In addition, your contractor will deal with other fire-specific damage during renovation, including contaminated air ducts, smoke stains, mold growth and soot residues.
Insurance Claims and Your Budget
As the crew cleans up one room at a time, document everything from the start. You can also take photographs of the damage. The cost to rebuild a home can become pretty expensive, and your records, documentation and the contractor’s estimates can help justify your insurance claims.
Depending on your insurance coverage, you may have to pay for a part of the cost of rebuilding your home. Work with your insurance agent to process the costs as soon as possible. The sooner you complete this process, the faster the funds can be released so your contractor can get the work done on your home.
Book Short Term Rentals During Home Repairs
Rebuilding your home after a house fire can take time, depending on the severity of the damage. In addition, the loss of your home and other property can be a very stressful and frustrating time for you and your loved ones. Therefore, it would be best to find lodging housing that offers the comforts of home to give everyone time to recover from such a tragedy.
Booking short-term rentals can help your family stay comfortable during this tough time. At Atlanta Luxury Rentals, we offer excellent housing options where you can relax and get things in order while your home is being repaired. In addition, we can provide you with temporary housing options in select neighborhoods. Contact us today to find the rental options that meet your needs.