AVERAGE COST OF
FIRE DAMAGE RESTORATION
Fire damage is one of the most common types of damage any homeowner can experience. Aside from water damage, there is nothing as extensive as fire damage restoration. Not only does the fire itself cause damage – which can be both destructive to the items within a home, but also create major structural damage – but the smoke can cause more extensive damage, affecting almost every part of the affected area.
If you do experience a house fire, you should obviously prioritize fire safety: getting everyone out of your home as quickly as possible and ensuring there is no immediate threat to life is critical. However, once the fire is under control, your thoughts will inevitably turn to the long-term costs wrought by the fire.
According to statistics from the National Fire Prevention Agency (NPFA), every year, fire causes a total of $12.3 billion in property damage throughout the United States.
A significant chunk of these (37%) are ‘structure fires,’ meaning that the structure of the property is affected.
Not only is this type of fire more dangerous, accounting for 80% of civilian fire deaths, but it also creates significantly more damage than other types of fire.
On average, fire departments receive a structure fire call every:
The vast majority of structure fires are in small one or two-family homes. Therefore, regardless of your living situation, you should be prepared to deal with the damage of a major fire.
Although unpleasant to think about, it’s important to be financially prepared for a fire. A big chunk of this will naturally come through your insurance policy. Having your insurance up to date and inclusive of fire damage will mean that a big chunk of the bill will be paid out by your insurance company. Depending on your provider, you may also receive a concierge-style service, which helps you source contractors to help with the damage.
These forms of insurance tend to be rare, and more expensive than traditional policies. If you’re not walked through the process by your insurance company, you’ll need to price up the options yourself. This is, even more, the case if your insurance company won’t cover the damage – or if you don’t have insurance.
Regardless of the circumstances, having a sense of the costs involved will help you make a better decision in what can be an extremely stressful situation.
The below figures will help you work out where you will need to spend money, and where you can save. Although the information won’t give you an exact figure, it will help you make the right decisions – and ask the right questions.
FIRE DAMAGE COST
The first key point to make when it comes to the average cost of fire damage restoration is that most jobs will be charged at a flat rate rather than by the hour. This is because each job is extremely customized, and so the contracting company will give you a tailored estimate based on your own unique circumstances. That said, there are certain figures we can use to gauge prices.
THE OVERALL COST
In general, the overall price for fire damage restoration will be somewhere between $6,000 and $25,000. Obviously, this is a wide range, although the relatively high lower limit indicates the nature of fire damage, and how it can be extremely hard to restore a room or home affected by fire and smoke.
It is possible to break down these costs to get a sense of where the final figure is coming from:
Labor costs vary greatly depending on where you live in the country. However, you can reasonably expect an hourly rate of somewhere between $65 and $90 per hour for the labor involved. It’s possible to save some of this by doing some of the cleanup work yourself – although you should make sure that it is safe for you to do so.
Smoke damage often requires cleaning and deodorizing, and usually costs somewhere between $250 and $1,200.
Cleaning burnt materials can be a major task in the aftermath of a large fire. This aspect of the restoration will cost between $300 and $1,600.
Soot damage may seem straightforward to remove, but soot can cause damage to electrical items in a home (since carbon is an excellent conductor of electricity, and therefore can cause short circuits). Removing any soot will cost between $400 and $1,700.
Chemical damage can have a wide range of different sources. The fire itself may have led to chemical damage, perhaps by causing leaking of fluid from appliances like a fridge; chemical damage may also be a result of the fire being extinguished. Either way, this runs to somewhere between $600 and $2,000 to clean up.
As with chemical damage, water damage can be a result of the extinguishing process. Water damage can be extremely extensive and cause a number of problems to the fixtures and fittings within your home. As such, water damage restoration post-fire can run from \$3,000 to \$6,000.
Structural damage is the worst type of damage a fire can cause. It means that there has been damage to the fundamental structure of your home, and you will need major restoration work. If you have structural damage you will likely end up with a bill of somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000.
Although the above costs are all classed as fairly ‘essential’, in that you are unlikely to be able to avoid paying for it if you have experienced the damages listed above, there are additional costs you may face (or may opt for). These depend on the nature of the damage, as well as your own personal budget – or the budget of your insurance company.
Thermal Fogging or Ozone Treatment
Thermal fogging or ozone treatments are designed to help deodorize a space and to clear out any residual smell of smoke from a space. Which one you use will depend on your contractor’s recommendations (and which type of machine they have readily available).
In either case, this cost will usually be in addition to the costs listed above.
If a wildfire passes through your local area, you may be forced to leave your home. Upon return, the damage can be dealt with using the costs above (although some of it may be payable through FEMA funding).
Although it may seem like a historical role, a fire watch is very much a contemporary position. A fire watch is someone paid, in the aftermath of a large fire, to patrol a home and ensure that the fire remains fully extinguished. They will check your home to ensure that there are no sparks or hidden embers that may reignite the fire, and will also check that there is no smoke, indicating that the fire is still burning out of sight.
This service not only represents great value for money if the fire watch finds something, but also can give you peace of mind in the immediate aftermath of a fire.
Cigarette Smoke Remediation
This is contingent upon the number of rooms that you need to be remediated.
therefore, the figures above show a wide range of factors that influence the final cost when it comes to fire damage restoration. Your focus post-fire is likely to be on your family’s safety, and it is also likely that you won’t be fully in a position to make rational financial decisions. This is why planning in advance is so crucial.
By considering the figures in this guide, you will be well-placed to make the right decisions when the worst eventually happens. The high costs involved in restoration post-fire also show the relative importance of investing in fire prevention and mitigation.
A cost of $25,000 for fire damage restoration makes the cost of an insurance policy or a fire extinguisher system seem relatively low. This is compounded by the fact that a full rebuild post-fire is likely to cost somewhere around $50 per square foot.
That said, fires can strike at any time, regardless of how careful you may have been. As this guide has also shown, there is not always a great deal of haggling when it comes to restoration – you can’t, for example, not have soot cleanup as part of the service. Instead, you’ll need to order the restoration even if you have to pay out of pocket.