8 Essential Steps to Rebuilding Your Home After a Fire

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: August 16, 2022

A fire in your home is devastating. You’re so relieved and grateful that everyone is OK, but now you’re dealing with the enormous task of putting everything back together. From a charred roof and fire-damaged interiors to water-soaked carpets, it’s hard to know where to start.

If you ever find yourself facing this situation, will you be prepared for rebuilding your house after a fire?

The road to recovery can seem long and involved. We provide fire restoration services to Chicago homeowners every day, so we understand how hard it is to tackle the job of rebuilding your house. It’s a huge project, but it’s easier to manage when you know what to expect.

Let’s dive in.

8 Steps to Rebuilding a Fire Damaged House

house fire damage repair

It takes time to recover from a house fire, but you don’t have to do it by yourself.

Many of the jobs involved must be handled by licensed professionals, so you can count on solid help as you work through these eight steps.

1. Call the Insurance Company

Rebuilding a house after a fire begins with the first call to your insurance company. It’s important to set the claims process in motion as soon as possible.

Talk with your agent about bringing in a professional fire restoration contractor like ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba if youre in the Chicago area.

You want to work with a restoration company that has a proven track record and maintains Preferred Vendor status.

If you wonder, “Do I have to rebuild after a fire?” let your agent and restoration contractor be your guides.

2. Assess Your Home’s Structural Damage

Before you can get started on a fire-damaged house renovation, you have to make sure your home is safe.

Your restoration contractor can recommend a structural engineer for this important phase of the job. The engineer’s inspection identifies damages and outlines necessary repairs for:

  • Basement, second floor and attic floor joists.
  • Interior load bearing walls.
  • Foundation and basement walls.

The restoration contractor can also put you in touch with licensed carpenters and electricians who specialize in working with fire-damaged homes.

3. Make Sure the Property Is Secured

Once you’re cleared to begin work on the house, secure all but one entryway, and board up broken windows. Your restoration contractor’s team can help with this job.

By closing up your home, you minimize the chance of vandalism during the rebuilding process. Many insurance companies insist on securing properties vacated after a fire.

4. Address Structural Repairs First

This is another project phase that belongs in professional hands.

You want experienced carpenters to take care of heavy repairs needed to ensure the house’s structural integrity.

Their work covers rebuilding the attic, replacing damaged trusses and floor joists and securing interior framework.

5. Inspect and Repair the Electrical System

Even if the fire didn’t destroy your entire home, its electrical system must be inspected and repaired by a licensed electrician.

A fire-damaged house often needs a new breaker box, and all wiring, outlets and fixtures have to be tested for safety and replaced if damaged.

6. Address Problems Specific to Fire Damage

Every fire-damaged house renovation includes specialized cleanup work that takes care of specific damages caused by fire and smoke. Your restoration contractor addresses these problems and more.

  • Mold growth in damp sheetrock
  • Smoke stains and soot residue
  • Contaminated air ducts

7. Clean Up Room by Room


The average time to rebuild after a fire can range from several weeks to several months, so you have to be patient. Your certified restoration technicians are your best partners during recovery.

They replace ruined sheetrock, restore fire-damaged floors and even help you salvage furnishings.

Tackle this final phase one room at a time.

8. Document Everything From Start to Finish

The cost to rebuild after a fire can be very expensive, so document everything related to repair and replacement costs.

Transfer photographs and paperwork to digital files so that you can prove the extent of your loss and the cost of recovery.

Detailed records make it easier to work with the insurance company, and your restoration contractor can help with the claim process too.

Need Help with Restoring Your Fire Damaged Home in Chicago?

fire restoration team chicago

With the combined muscle and talent of experienced carpenters, electricians and fire restoration services, most homes can be successfully rebuilt. 

If you ever have to deal with the aftermath of a house fire, you can count on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. We’re one of Chicago’s most trusted fire restoration contractors, and we’re here for you 24/7.

We know rebuilding a fire-damaged home can be difficult, but you don’t have to face it alone. Just give us a call: 773-647-1985

How much does it cost to rebuild a house after a fire?

If the fire was limited to a small area, rebuilding costs average between $5,000 and $10,000. Rebuilding after extensive house fire damage can cost as much as $80,000 and $150,000.

Do I have to rebuild after a fire?

Consult with your mortgage company and insurance company to verify this. If you are a renter, your renters’ insurance company should be able to provide you with relocation options.

How long does it take to repair a house after a fire?

Depending on damages, it can take a few weeks or several months. The process starts with water, fire, smoke and soot damage cleanup. Additional rebuilding time includes repairs and reconstruction.