How much does it cost to restore fire damage?
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Fire Damage Recovery Cost Guide
Updated: August 18, 2022
A home fire is devastating to any family. Even a small fire could cause significant damage to your home and destroy your personal property. However, many structural components of a home may be salvageable after paying for fire restoration services. Before receiving estimates on total restoration cost, check with your homeowners insurance about policy inclusions.
Fire damage recovery is a multi-step process with labor and material costs that you must pay throughout the work. The average cost of fire restoration ranges from $3,000 to $40,000. The average price is $11,900, including burnt material cleanup, removal of smoke and soot, and sanitation of multiple rooms in a single-family home. The highest price will be approximately $50,000 for a home with multiple rooms that needs cleaning, water damage cleanup, sanitizing, and structural rebuilding. For the lowest cost, you can expect to pay around $2,500 for single-family home smoke and removal services.
Fire Restoration Cost
|Fire Damage Restoration Cost|
|National average cost||$2,500|
Fire Restoration Cost per Square Foot
Fire restoration companies are likely to ask the square footage of a home before providing a cost estimate. If a large section of the home was damaged in it, then you’ll pay more in comparison to a fire that only affected a room or two of the home before containment. On average, you’ll pay between $4 to $6.50 per sq.ft. for restoration services. The following costs reflect the price for burnt material removal, water damage restoration, and soot cleanup per square foot.
|Average House Size||Average Restoration Cost|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$4,000 - $6,500|
|1,750 sq.ft.||$7,000 - $11,375|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$8,000 - $13,000|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$10,000 - $16,250|
|3,000 sq.ft.||$12,000 - $19,500|
|4,000 sq.ft.||$16,000 - $26,000|
Fire Damage Restoration Cost by Type of Damage
Fires are responsible for over $14.8 billion in property damage alone in 2019, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. For different types of damage, costs range from $200 to $6,000. House fires are the most common types of fires that lead to significant property damage. The type of work needed factors into how much it will cost to repair a damaged house. The type of damage isn’t only from the flames that traveled through the home. When you repair a fire damaged house, you also need to fix issues caused by extinguishing the fire.
|Type of Damage||Average Damage Restoration Cost|
|Smoke Damage||$200 - $1,200|
|Burnt Materials||$300 - $1,600|
|Soot Damage||$400 - $1,700|
|Chemical Damage||$600 - $2,000|
|Water Damage||$3,000 - $6,000|
|Structural Damage||$15,000 - $25,000|
Smoke Damage Restoration
Professional smoke removal from a house costs between $200 and $1,200 for room cleanup, odor removal, and deodorizing. Smoke damage cleanup costs will be similar to soot cleanup pricing, with professionals likely giving you a similar quote for both.
Smoke damage repair is one of the most pressing tasks for restoring a home impacted by a fire. Smoke will need removal from any of the surfaces before any other repairs can be made. The affected rooms will also need to be cleaned and deodorized.
|Treatment||Average Cost Per Floor|
|Thermal Fogging Treatment||$200 - $550|
|Ozone Treatment||$300 - $600|
Thermal Fogging Cost
Thermal fogging treatment is one option for professionals to assist with smoke damaged areas of the home and will have a price point between $200 and $550 per floor. With the thermal fogging treatment, a deodorizing agent is heated before misted across any furniture and textiles. Thermal fogging is effective at getting rid of lingering odors in even hard to reach areas. The way that it works is the agent in the fogger attaches to smoke particles and absorbs them. The process neutralizes the odor permanently.
Ozone Treatment Cost
The cost of ozone treatment for houses is between $300 and $600 per floor, a common service used for smoke damage restoration. An ozone treatment involves using high levels of oxygen within an enclosed area to rid the area of odors. Instead of two atoms of oxygen, ozone treatments use three. The ozone released by the generator breaks down airborne molecules and bacteria found in a fire-damaged home to remove strong smoke odors.
Burnt Material Removed
Contractors have several options when it comes to providing an estimate on burnt material removal. Some professionals provide a per pound quote starting at $60 per pound. However, you may be subject to a flat-rate of $300 to $1,600 to get rid of any fire-damaged materials. Before any structural repairs are made to a home, a remediation company needs to come out to remove any burnt materials. All items, including furnishings, that can’t be salvaged will be taken out of the home and removed to the proper trash facility.
Soot Damage Restoration
Professionals use a specialized film on the byproduct to get rid of soot. Air duct cleaning also needs to be done. If the soot has stained the walls or flooring, then cosmetic repairs may be needed. Soot damage restoration averages between $400 and $1,700 for soot removal, air duct cleaning, and deodorizing.
Soot removal cost will be close to smoke damage cleanup pricing. The main difference between the two is that soot removal involves getting rid of the ash left behind from the fire, while smoke removal concentrates more on remediation of the smell. Pricing differs between oily soot and dry soot. Oily soot cleanup will be more costly since this type of byproduct comes from grease fires. Dry soot will not smear like oily types of soot. Dry soot cleanup costs around $400 to $700, while oily soot cleanup will be upwards of $1,000.
Chemical Damage Restoration
Chemical damage restoration could be required after a home fire. Chemical damage restoration services include the cleanup of any residue left behind after a fire. Ozone treatment is also commonplace since the solution clears the air of potentially toxic chemicals. Expect to pay between $600 and $2,000 to have chemical residues cleaned up by a professional and an ozone treatment for the home. The main reason for the remediation service is the use of fire extinguishers during a fire. Although effective at putting out flames, fire extinguishers leave behind a chemical residue on surfaces. The use of extinguishers could impact the air quality in the room. Another issue during a fire that could occur is the burning of toxic chemicals located in the home.
Water Damage After a Fire
Expect to pay between $3,000 and $6,000 for excess water removal, drying, and drywall repairs per room. Water damage after a fire could occur for many reasons. For one, a sprinkler system may have been initiated to put out the flames. Also, firefighters use water to extinguish it. All areas with moisture buildup need dehumidification after the water has been removed. Fire and flood restoration services have similar costs because both involve remediation of areas that have been exposed to significant amounts of water.
Structural Damage After a Fire
Structural repairs for a damaged home, including wood replacement, sheetrock installation, and new insulation, could average anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 per room. Structural damage is the first thing assessed by professionals. The structural damage needs close review to determine if it’s safe to work inside the home. If a building is condemned or certain rooms are deemed unsafe, caution tape will be placed around the off-limits areas. An inspector will let you know what types of repairs are needed before entering the building.
In some cases of major structural damage, demolition may be required due to dangerous conditions. Structural engineers look at the soundness of a building and check other potentially broken components such as missing doorways and broken windows. There could be holes in the ceiling and flooring.
Fire Damage Restoration Cost by Class
According to the Fire Equipment, Manufacturers’ Association, fires fall into five categories. Notably, they can be labeled into multiple categories depending on the materials involved in the blaze. Restoration companies charge different pricing based on the types of fire damage that occurred on the property.
Class A fires are considered the most commonplace, involving typical combustibles such as wood, paper, and plastic. Class A fires involve solid materials, while Class B occur when flammable liquids catch ablaze. Gas, petroleum, oil, and oil paints all fall in this category. However, fires caused from cooking oil and grease are not considered Class B. Instead, this type is categorized as Class K. Along with cooking oil, any animal and vegetable fat could be involved in Class K. Class C fires occur when an electrical fire happens on the property. Computers, motors, and appliances may all be affected by a Class C fire. Fires from Class D are considered among the rarest and occur when certain metals combust. Combustible metals include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and titanium.
The byproducts from the preceding fires impact cleanup costs. For example, Class A fires won’t leave behind the same type of debris as a Class B. The following are the prices you could expect to pay by fire type from a remediation company that plans to clean and deodorize a 2,500 sq.ft. home.
|Class||Average Cleanup Cost for 2,500 Sq.Ft.|
|Class A||$9,000 - $14,000|
|Class B||$14,000 - $20,000|
|Class C||$12,000 - $23,000|
|Class D||$16,000 - $25,000|
|Class K||$12,000 - $20,000|
Cost to Repair Fire Damaged House by Location
A fire's location in the home may impact its price. For example, an attic will often cost much more than a laundry room to repair because the average attic is 1,600 square feet, and the average laundry room is only 102 square feet. Based on size, the most expensive areas to repair in the average home will include the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and attic. Less expensive areas include the laundry room, bathroom, and dining room. Overall, the range to repair a single room averages from $410 in the case of a small laundry room to $10,400 for a large attic.
Unique fire issues like asbestos may push costs to the higher end of the average. In addition, the material used to construct your home, as well as its contents, impact the overall cleanup cost. Your attic costs more to repair if the roof is made of wood shingles, which are very vulnerable to fire, rather than if the roof is made of a sturdier material like slate or clay tile. Further, the type of fire also impacts the cost. For example, a grease fire in the kitchen costs more to repair than a candle that catches the kitchen drapes on fire.
|Room||Average Repair Cost|
|Laundry Room||$410 - $660|
|Bathroom||$700 - $1,140|
|Dining Room||$860 - $1,400|
|Kitchen||$1,220 - $1,990|
|Master Bedroom||$1,220 - $1,990|
|Living Room||$1,320 - $2,150|
|Attic||$6,400 - $10,400|
Fire Damage Restoration Cost
Fire damage repair costs depend on the company hired for the job and the extent of the damage. Restoration companies will not charge by the hour to repair a damaged house. More likely, you’ll be given a flat rate that ranges between $6,000 and $20,000 for the total project cost. However, if they charge per hour, labor rates are around $65 to $90 per hour. In all cases, a restoration specialist must be secured for safety reasons. Homeowners need to hire a company that knows how to safely enter a building that has been affected by a fire. Most professionals recommend immediate service, usually within 48 hours after the blaze. This timeframe permits contractors to salvage as much of the structure as possible. If the issues aren’t addressed promptly, any soot, water, and chemicals remaining inside can cause further damage.
Simple versus complex fires could also impact the cost. Simple fires burn what could be considered pure fuels such as dry grass and wood and usually occur outside of the home. Low amounts of soot are associated with simple fires. Complex fires are associated with home fires. Complex fires produce large amounts of soot and smoke.
Cost to Rebuild a House After a Fire
Rebuilding a house after a fire takes a significant amount of time. Depending on the extent of the rebuild, you could be looking anywhere from weeks to months before the house is safe for reoccupation. After smoke, soot, chemical, and water removal, many contractors are hired for restoration purposes.
Restoration after a fire is costly because many structural components could be damaged. Each room will be assessed to see if repairs are needed to the sheetrock, insulation, electrical systems, and HVAC. Cosmetic changes will also be required, meaning you will likely have to put in new flooring and paint all the rebuilt rooms in the home.
Unless the home is a total loss and requires demolition, professionals try to salvage as much of the structure as possible. If the cost is more than the total home value, then the insurance company may write your claim off as a complete loss.
Professionals are likely to charge around $50 per sq.ft. for rebuilds after a fire. If the damage is so extensive that the professionals consider rebuilding the entire home, you would pay from $100 upwards per square foot or around $260,000 and $710,000 for an average size home.
Emergency Fire Restoration
All fires are usually considered in need of emergency attention. However, many companies advertise emergency fire and water restoration services to clients. Although the service provider may book an appointment within 48 hours of the fire, an emergency appointment may be made within a day of the blaze.
In rare cases, emergency restoration may not be needed. For example, if you’ve had a small, contained fire in a single area of the home. You may have had a grease fire that was put out quickly but resulted in some cosmetic damage.
Surcharges for emergency fire and water restoration differ from company to company. However, a same-day or next-day visit may add $200 to $500 to your final bill for remediation.
Is Fire Damage Dangerous?
Fire represents a significant danger to homeowners, their families, and everything inside the home. Still, the danger is much more than the active fire that ravages the home and destroys the furnishings. A fire may leave behind noxious gases and activate chemicals like asbestos and preservatives that become toxic when burned. Damage restoration helps prevent harm to the family and home in the weeks, months, and years after the fire.
Health risks are present immediately after the fire department has extinguished the fire. It is important to remain outside the home until the damage recovery completes their work. Fire ash remains in the air that can irritate the skin or cause throat irritation. Those with asthma may experience difficulty breathing after inhaling tiny ash particles into the lungs, which means it is essential to remain cautious when returning after a fire.
Fire byproducts released into the atmosphere are one of the biggest concerns following a blaze. According to the Department of Industrial Relations, toxic, flammable, and asphyxiating gases may be present in a building after a fire. When materials burn, they create what is known as toxic volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Even short-term exposure to VOCs could have detrimental effects on your health. Breathing issues, skin outbreaks, and eye irritation could all occur due to byproduct exposure.
Moreover, a high risk to the health of occupants after the fire is asbestos exposure. Certain furnishings and building materials could contain asbestos, especially if the home were built decades earlier. Exposure to toxic chemicals that may have spilled or been used in firefighting could also be detrimental to human health.
Threats to the Home
Another issue to consider is structural instability. After a fire, the building may not be safe and could collapse. If a building fails, not only is the house destroyed, but the safety of all occupants is at risk. When handling debris, an injury could occur due to sharp objects.
Electrical problems are commonplace after a fire. Exposed and damaged wires could lead to accidents like electrocutions. Your restoration team may shut off your electricity to prevent injuries or additional damage. In some cases, your cleanup crew may find it prudent to shut the water or gas off to prevent further damage.
Fire Damage Restoration Process
According to industry professionals, the 24 to 48 hours after the fire are considered the golden hours. If fire damage isn’t addressed as quickly as possible, the byproducts left behind continue to destroy the building. Repairing damaged homes within a short time frame reduces the overall project cost. Chemicals may corrode building materials, and moisture buildup may weaken a structure the longer you wait. Professionals follow set remediation steps to make your home safe again.
Fire Damage Inspection
An inspection is always the first step in the process and is included in the total remediation cost. No rebuilding or burnt material removal can be done without confirming that the home is safe for reentry. Once emergency professionals have deemed the structure safe, an assessment can take place. Inspectors walk through each room to determine what areas have been affected by either the fire or methods used to put out the fire.
Water, Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Water, smoke, and soot damage will be assessed before considering any type of professional fire damage restoration services. A second inspection will take place after the water, soot, and smoke has been removed. The second assessment lets contractors know what type of construction is needed to restore the home.
Burnt and salvaged personal effects will be removed after soot, smoke, and water cleanup. The professional restoration company will then start on one of the most important steps: deep cleaning and deodorizing. Ozone treatments and thermal fogging are two tools used by professionals to remove chemicals from the home and freshen the air. Air scrubbers are also useful for getting rid of the smoke smell in a fire-damaged home.
The final step for repairing damaged homes is the rebuild process. A contractor will repair each room that has been damaged. The contractor may need to put up new sheetrock, paint, and lay new flooring. Structural work may also be needed, such as rewiring, insulation installs, and HVAC repairs.
How to Prevent Fire Damage
The prevention of fire damage should be a top priority for homeowners. A home fire not only risks the substantial loss of property but also puts occupants in danger.
Several fire protection devices exist to protect the home. You can expect to spend $400 to $2,500 on protecting your home with devices like smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and fire retardant blankets. With fire extinguishers ranging from just $15 to $50 each and smoke detectors priced affordably at $10 to $80, protecting your home from a blaze costs much less than the emotional and financial toll of a destructive fire and the resulting cleanup.
In addition to installing fire protection safety devices, you may also want to take further measures to safeguard your family and home. The American Red Cross recommends testing smoke alarm batteries every month and creating a fire escape plan with the family. It is also a good idea to practice the plan twice a year and ensure that no one reenters the home during a fire.
Hiring a yard crew to keep your lawn free of grass clippings and overgrown bushes may reduce the destruction of a fire and the resulting cleanup. You will pay between $200 and $500 for yard cleanup. A clear yard minimizes the likelihood that fires that start in adjacent houses will reach your property or set fire to your home.
Call an electrician to inspect your wiring and electrical service, especially if you live in an older home. Your electricity needs may overcome the power your electrical panel provides, resulting in a fire. A complete electrical panel upgrade costs an average of $1,500 to $4,000. If you purchase an electric car, for example, you may need to have an electrician take a look at your wiring and circuit panel.
Fire Damage Insurance
Fire damage falls under homeowners insurance, but the value of the claim depends on the terms of each individual insurance contract. If the policy covers the “face value,” the insurance company compensates the homeowner only up to the original value of the damaged or lost item. Homeowners can be compensated for the cost of repair/restoration of salvageable, damaged goods or parts of the home or the cost of replacement of completely lost items.
Filing a fire damage insurance claim can be a stressful process. No homeowner wants to worry about not getting coverage from homeowners insurance after a fire loss. Always contact an agent after a fire to go over what steps will be needed to avoid delays in processing your claim. Document all phone calls and emails with the insurance company. Ask for copies of all important documentation to start a personal fire for your claim. Ask your agent about any issues like fire damage legal liability. For instance, someone else may be responsible for damages if the fire was started by a product that had a manufacturing defect. Also, ask about any items that may not be covered by the insurance company, like personal effects.
Most importantly, never move any items following a fire. Keep the home in its present state when taking photos for the insurance company. Also, the insurance company may want to approve any cleaning methods used on the property. Never begin remediation until you have the provider’s express approval.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Reduce the destruction of a fire by up to 97% for just $1.30 to $2 per square foot when you install sprinklers. Your homeowners' insurance premium may decrease with installation. In addition to reducing the destructive power of a fire, sprinklers also significantly reduce the amount of water used to fight a fire and the water pollution released into the environment.
You may choose from three distinct types of smoke detectors: ionization smoke detectors, photoelectric smoke detectors, and dual-mode smoke detectors. Detector costs range from $10 to $80 per device. Smoke detectors are easily installed by an electrician qualified to hardwire the devices into your home. The electrician will generally charge between $30 and $100 per hour to install the smoke detectors.
Extinguishers cost between $15 and $50 each and are designed for different classes of fires. You can choose an ABC fire extinguisher, a multipurpose extinguisher appropriate for everything from paper fires to flammable liquids. Your fire extinguisher is an essential part of a safe kitchen because half of all house fires start in the kitchen. You may also want to place an extinguisher near other heat sources like electric baseboard heaters.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Licenses and permits. All contractors must be licensed as fire remediation specialists for home insurance approvals. Permits may be needed by the company depending on what type of structural repairs are needed.
- DIY. Fire restoration is never a DIY project. Not only is it a dangerous undertaking, but you may void any insurance coverage by performing any cleanup independently.
- Accommodation costs. Several costs may arise from wildfires passing near your home, including the costs associated with alternative accommodations elsewhere until authorities say it is safe to return to your home. These costs vary from $200 to $1,500 or more depending on the size of the family and the duration of the fire.
- Fire watch after the fire. Other costs can arise from paying someone to keep a “fire watch” for several hours after a fire. The watcher’s work is to check and recheck for sparks, smoke, and hidden embers anywhere in and on the house. Owners can expect to pay $25 to $50 per hour for the service.
- Cigarette smoke remediation. Cigarette smoke remediation can cost an average of $600 to $2,000, depending on the number of rooms that need odor removal. Ozone treatments are usually used for this type of smoke removal.
- RV fire damage. An RV specialist will inspect the damage, conduct smoke and soot removal, repair the mechanical and electrical systems, and rebuild the structure of the RV. Without insurance, RVs are often total losses, which means the cost to repair an RV is as much as your insurance deductible. Homeowners' insurance may also cover your RV.
- How much does it cost to rebuild a house after a fire?
Most contractors charge an average of $50 per sq.ft. to repair a burned house.A complete rebuild starts at around $100 to $125 per square foot.
- Does renters insurance cover smoke damage?
Renters' insurance policies cover events like fire, storm damage, and thefts and pay for the replacement of your personal belongings. However, your policy does not cover the structure where you live. Repairing your dwelling would fall under the responsibility of your landlord's insurance policy.
- How do you recover from fire damage?
A remediation company will come to your home and assist you with the recovery process. The professionals will guide you through the inspection, cleanup, sanitation, and rebuilding process.
- How much does smoke remediation cost?
Smoke damage costs around $200 to $1,200 to repair after a home has been damaged in a fire.
- Can smoke damage electronics?
Smoke is a corrosive agent and can ruin electrical components inside televisions, computers, and more.
- Can a burned house be restored?
A burned house needs to have all damaged materials removed. The professionals will pump out any water and clean up soot and smoke from all surfaces. The house is then cleaned and deodorized. The rebuilding process involves the demolition and replacement of all compromised building materials.
- How long does it take to repair fire damage?
The extent of the damage determines the timeframe for repairs. Repair work will likely take a minimum of a month for completion.