Repairing a property following fire damage

Fire damage is devastating and perhaps the worst kind of damage you can suffer to your residential or commercial property. Repairs can be complicated, time-consuming and costly. Yet fire damage is quite common – it’s the fifth most common type of insurance claim, according to Aviva. If you’ve suffered fire damage, help and recovery are just a phone call away.

We know how distressing and traumatic it is if your property has been affected by fire. We have huge expertise in this area and offer full fire damage repair and restoration services.

When you call us to help with your fire damage insurance claim, we will work quickly and effectively to ensure your property is professionally and correctly reinstated to the highest possible standard with the least possible stress.

Taking swift action

The first 24 to 48 hours after fire damage are the “golden hours” of recovery. The sooner you take action and call us, the sooner remedial works can happen and the impact of the damage can be mitigated. As soon as the fire has been extinguished, contact Sarrani as we can help you manage your claim in partnership with a dedicated loss assessor.

Our highly trained technicians aim to be on site within 24 hours when called out to a fire damage site. They have all the necessary skills and equipment required to clean the site, neutralise and deodorise toxic smoke odours and undertake restoration work as quickly as possible after the fire damage first occurs.

And because we are paid by your insurer, there are no additional costs to you for our help in project managing the repairs. All work carried out under our supervision comes with a 1-year guarantee. Full details are contained in our terms and conditions, available on request.

Assessing the extent of the damage

One of the first things our team will do is assess the extent and type of damage to your property. Fire can cause numerous types of damage, including:

  • Flame damage - including synthetic residues arising from oil-based materials such as plastic and fabric; dry powdery residue from natural materials such as wood and paper; and greasy, oily residues from proteins, like meat in the kitchen.

  • Smoke and soot damage – this causes the biggest problem, as the smell can permeate through and the smoke can linger for months if not treated. Smoke and soot are acidic and can accelerate the deterioration and corrosion of your property, so time is of the essence. It might not be just your property either – smoke smells can affect neighbouring properties such as other flats, shops and restaurants.

  • Water damage – if the emergency services extinguished the fire using water, your property may also suffer flood, mould or other water damage.

  • Damage from other substances - chemicals used by the emergency services can also cause damage to fixtures, fittings or the structure of the building.

Eradicating smoke contamination

We have access to state-of-the-art smoke and soot removal and cleaning technology. We work with organisations such as Edge Equipment Hire, a dedicated and specialist equipment hirer catering for the needs of professional damage restoration companies.

Edge also provide technical help to their customers, not just on how to use their machines but also on the best course of action depending on the scale and nature of the problem. We spoke to them about the different methods used for eradicating smoke and smoulder contamination:

  • Wet wash - the most common and cost effective method is a wet wash of the walls and areas of the property that have received smoke damage. These are washed down with towelling, followed by an application of chemical degreaser.

  • Chemical degreaser - this is an alkaline, used to 'wash' the walls of the acidic smoke particles.

  • Encapsulation - for smoke that has permeated through walls or other structural materials and hard to reach areas, structural latex paint is used to encapsulate the smoke particles and seal them in.

  • Air filtration devices (AFDs) - these eradicate the smoke by processing the air through a series of filters, removing the potentially harmful contents.

  • Plasma - this kills the smell and then the source can be located and eradicated. It’s a common mistake that people assume smoke damage won’t be an issue if an area was not directly impacted by fire. Smoke will move to cooler areas of a property during a fire, so it is important to look for and identify damage throughout the property.

  • Chemical sponge - contrary to its name, this is a chemical-free, water-free, dry-cleaning method using a sponge made of either vulcanized natural rubber, or synthetic latex-free material. These sponges effectively remove soot and smoke damage from a variety of surfaces including bricks, wallpaper, paint, metal and wood, as well as fabrics, books and artwork. They work by drawing the dust, soot and smoke residue into the cells of the sponge material.

  • Abrasive blasting - chemicals or dry ice are blasted at the surface to remove the particles that cause the smell. An alternative method is soda blasting, which is a very mild form of abrasive blasting using baking soda instead of chemicals or dry ice. These methods are quite expensive and usually reserved for older properties, such as churches and listed buildings, that can't have water-based treatment.

  • Latex paint – this is also for buildings that can’t have water treatment, and is usually very expensive. Latex paint is applied and peeled off once dry, capturing smoke particles within it.

  • Masking agent – this is sometimes used in homes and business properties that haven’t suffered severe damage. It’s a temporary strong air freshener that makes the smell of smoke while it dissipates over time. This is like using air freshener when you’ve burned your toast, for example.

Repairing the fire damage

Should you find yourself in the stressful situation of having to deal with a fire at your property, we are here and able to help. Once remedial works have been carried out, our specialist technicians will undertake the necessary restoration, work which might include flood repairs, deep-cleaning soot from upholstery and carpets, and evaluating and (where possible) restoring the contents.

For more information on fire damage repairs, see our services page or contact us on 020 3006 3126, to speak to an expert and find out how we can help you.