smoke around a table and chairs

House fires can be devastating and scary. Even if no one was harmed, you still have to deal with the aftermath of the flames: a fire-damaged house can range from unpleasant to unsafe to live in. 

Here’s what a house might look like after a fire and what you can do to get your home back.

What Does House Fire Damage Look Like?

Flames leave their marks wherever they’ve been. Minor house fire damage includes yellowing or blackening of walls, floors, and ceilings. Heat-sensitive materials (like wood and plastic) may have warped or distorted, possibly ruining everything from trinkets to furniture. 

Smoke damage can discolor countertops, tiling, wooden framing, insulation, and air ducts. Soot and smoke damage may leave behind a greasy black residue that’s unpleasant to touch.

More intense fires leave greater damage behind. They may destroy walls or parts of walls, appliances, furniture, and other materials. They may leave black charring, especially on wooden surfaces, and blacken or distort tougher materials like metal and stone. 

Some materials, like plastic, will melt, leaving behind deformed pools of material. Your home may be open to the elements in places, making restoration critical, before water can add to the damage.

Managing Health Risks After a House Fire

First and foremost, always listen to the officials from the Northern Colorado fire department. If they say it’s unsafe to enter your home, stay out until you’ve been given the all-clear or other instructions.

Once you know it’s safe to enter your home again, keep these risks in mind:

  • Sharp or jagged debris. There was likely some cleanup after the fire, but there could still be dangerous debris throughout your home. Wear sturdy, close-toed shoes throughout the cleanup. Use caution when picking up any items that may have been damaged in the fire and could now have sharp edges.
  • Airborne irritants. Smoke, soot, and ash can all irritate your lungs, especially if you already have respiratory difficulties, like asthma or allergies. They may also irritate your eyes and skin. Wear gloves, clothing that covers most of your skin, and a respiratory mask while you clean.
  • Potential toxins. The ash may also contain traces of chemicals from your home. Don’t eat any food that was near the fire and may have been contaminated. Regularly bathe any pets that have been in affected areas or keep them away from the home until restoration is complete.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning. Fires release carbon monoxide. If your home is safe enough to stay in, ensure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Mold growth. This is a big concern if firefighters used water to put out a fire in your home. Monitor any soaked areas for signs of mold growth.

When to Call for House Fire Damage Restoration

We know that the period immediately after a fire can be stressful and overwhelming, but you should get IICRC-certified experts to repair the fire damage within 48 hours to restore your home as completely as possible. This minimizes the amount of material in your home that you’ll need to completely replace and the stress and expense of more difficult restoration. 

Home restoration experts have the tools and knowledge to stay safe. Fire-damaged homes present a range of dangers that the average homeowner may have trouble dealing with. Our expertise allows us to stay safe, even in very damaged homes, and to clean up your home as smoothly and quickly as possible.

What Can Be Salvaged After a House Fire?

After a minor fire, most things are likely to be salvageable. 

However, textiles like clothes, carpets, and upholstery hold the scent of smoke the most easily and the items closest to the blaze are the most likely to be too damaged to save. Some can be restored, but others may be too saturated with smoke and ash. You will likely be able to save or restore many of your other possessions, fixtures, and furniture.

In larger fires, hardy materials like glass, metal, and stone may be the only things that survive. Hardwood floors are often salvageable, except in extreme cases. 

Knowing When House Fire Damage Repair Isn’t the Right Option

Fire damage can be expensive to repair, especially in a room like a kitchen, where damaged cabinets and appliances can drive up the price. Each situation is different, and every restoration will take a different amount of time. Extensive restorations may take too long to be comfortable, especially as the Northern Colorado winter makes outdoor work more difficult.

After receiving a quote, you may decide that you don’t want your living situation to be up in the air for so long or that you don’t want to return to your home after the fire. This is understandable! Fire restoration can help get a property ready to sell. You can also sell your damaged home as-is if you’re willing to accept a lower price for your property.

Get Help After a House Fire from Northern Colorado’s Disaster Restoration Professionals

Once you’ve decided to get your home restored after a fire, act fast! DRYmedic® of Northern Colorado has the IICRC-certified knowledge and tools to restore homes, even after large fires. Take your home back. Schedule fast restoration services today when you call (970) 541-4135 emergency service.