How to Hire the Best Fire Damage Restoration Contractor

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: January 26, 2022

The impact of a fire on your home or commercial property doesn’t stop when the flames are extinguished.

Dealing with the aftermath is overwhelming. It’s not something you want to take care of by yourself. You need the services of an experienced fire damage restoration contractor.

We work with Chicago home and business owners in this situation every day. How do you find the best restoration specialists near you? Here at ServiceMaster by Zaba, we understand your concerns.

You want to make a hiring decision with confidence, so let’s take a look at the facts.

This guide covers everything you need to know about fire damage restoration companies.

What Do Restoration Contractors Do After a Fire? 7 Important Steps

Fire restoration contractors address a wide range of problems, from smoke and soot contamination to water damage.

They work in environments that often pose health risks and structural stability concerns.

The fire restoration process typically involves these seven steps.

1. Fire Damage Assessment

Recovery from a residential or commercial fire starts with a property-wide inspection and assessment. Based on this information, the restoration team develops a plan of action and explains it to you in detail.

They also share their evaluation with your homeowner’s insurance company.

2. Secure Property Board-Up

A fire can blow out windows, knock doors off hinges and leave gaping holes in the roof. The restoration crew secures your property with board up and roof tarping services, minimizing further damage from weather, animals and vandals.

3. Fire Damage Mitigation

Next, restoration technicians implement a mitigation process that contains fire damage and ensures a safe working environment.

For example, they identify and fix potential hazards, move out salvageable belongings and clear the way for remediation and restoration.

4. Smoke and Soot Removal

Even a small fire spreads a dangerous acidic residue that clings to surfaces throughout a house or workplace.

Professional smoke and soot removal services address the problem, preventing it from causing permanent damage to interiors, furnishings and personal belongings.

5. Deep Air Purification

When combustible materials burn, they release chemicals that compromise indoor air quality.

Fire restoration teams use specialized air filtering equipment to eliminate harmful contaminants and lingering odors.

6. Water Damage Repairs

It’s not unusual for a fire to result in water damage. Intense heat causes plumbing failures, burst pipes and hidden leaks.

A professional restoration company takes care of water damage after a fire with these expert services and more.

7. Complete Property Restoration

This last step in the process covers rebuilding and final cleaning. For example, fire-damaged drywall is torn out and replaced. Floors and ceilings are restored, and salvageable contents are cleaned.

When the project is finished, your home or business is returned to its pre-loss condition.

How Are Fire Restoration Contractors Different From General Contractors?

fire damage contractor

You might wonder if a general contractor can provide the same services as a fire damage restoration company.

There are similarities, but there are also important differences. Let’s highlight what each type of contractor can and can’t do.

What General Contractors Do:

  • Remodel residential and business interiors and exteriors.
  • Finish basements, build room additions and handle hardscaping.
  • Manage new home and commercial site construction projects.
  • Often rely on subcontractors for electrical, plumbing, HVAC work and more.

What General Contractors Don’t Do:

  • Assist with insurance claims for fire and water damages.
  • Offer on-call emergency services for home and business owners.
  • Specialize in property damage mitigation, remediation and restoration.

What Restoration Contractors Do:

  • Provide a 24/7 response to fire damage emergencies.
  • Immediately address residential and commercial property security.
  • Identify and repair hidden structural damage to walls, floors and ceilings.
  • Work with advanced property restoration equipment and techniques.
  • Expedite the fire damage claims process with insurance companies.
  • Offer restoration services for all types of damage, including storm flooding.

What Restoration Contractors Don’t Do:

  • Offer general construction management for new building sites.
  • Charge for services covered by homeowners or commercial property insurance.
  • Deviate from OSHA standards for on-job safety and compliance.

How Do I Choose the Best Fire Damage Restoration Contractor? 5 Questions to Ask

fire damage restoration contractor in chicago

Understanding the fire damage cleanup process puts it into better perspective. You know what to expect. Recognizing the difference between general contracting services and professional fire damage restoration helps too.

Now, you’re ready to fine-tune your decision. If you know someone who’s recently dealt with a property fire in your area, ask them about their experience. Check online reviews for fire damage repair services.

Once you’ve narrowed the field, ask a potential hire these questions.

1. Are They Industry-Certified?

Reputable restoration contractors make sure all their technicians are IICRC-certified. This certification is backed by specialized training focused on an advanced fire damage repair and restoration process.

2. How Deep Are Their Capabilities?

Take into account the number of years they’ve been in business. Their experience with different types of projects is important too

For example, if you need fire damage services at a commercial property, ask about their resources and capabilities for large-scale projects.

3. Do They Handle Fire-Damaged Contents?

Contents can range from office equipment and documents to home furnishings and belongings. Most restoration companies can salvage contents, but a full-service restoration contractor also provides content pack-out and transport to climate-controlled storage at their secure facilities.

4. Do They Offer Specialized Cleanup and Remediation?

Sewer lines ruptured by intense heat spill dangerous pathogens. Toxic black mold quickly grows in water-damaged materials. After a fire, contamination from asbestos and lead spreads through older properties.

You want to hire fire damage cleanup specialists with the necessary certification and training for cleaning hazardous environments.

5. Can They Help You With the Insurance Claims Process?

Established restoration businesses maintain their Preferred Vendor status with local and national insurance carriers. This allows them to streamline the paperwork involved in filing your fire damage claim.

It’s also your assurance of their expertise in dealing with insurance companies.

Looking for a Fire Restoration Contractor in the Chicago Area? Turn to ServiceMaster by Zaba!

When you’re making decisions under difficult circumstances, you want to be prepared. It’s our goal to share facts that help you deal with the impact of a property fire.

Our staff is standing by 24/7 with answers to all your questions. ServiceMaster by Zaba proudly serves Chicago and the suburbs with more than 50 years of combined fire damage expertise.

We’re always here, and we’re always ready for your call: 773-647-1985