Catching Fire...Can You Handle It?

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Summers Are More Fun with a Backyard Deck

When I was growing up, my family home had a backyard deck. I didn't realize how much I loved it until I later moved into my own home that didn't have one. We used to have family over for outdoor gatherings and cook out on it. It was covered, so if it rained, it never ruined the party! As a teenager, one of my favorite ways to relax was to go outside onto the deck and listen to the rain fall on its roof. The sound was so soothing. After enduring one summer in my new home with no deck, I was determined to have one installed quickly. I found a local contractor who got the job done quickly and accurately, and my house now feels like a "home!" I decided to start a blog to share what I learned during the deck construction process along with some other tips!

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Catching Fire...Can You Handle It?

6 January 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Fire is a destructive force that affects over 1 million structures and costs more than $12 billion in damages per year. 79% of these fires happen in residential homes and claim more than 2,500 lives annually. While it is impossible to prevent every fire, there are things that can be done to reduce the damage created during a fire. This would likely reduce the extent of the fire damage restoration you would need, reduce the amount of money spent in restoration and diminish the inconvenience suffered by your family. 

Resisting the burn

Your life or the life of your loved ones may depend on the fire-resistant capabilities of the building materials that make up your house. Special materials can be used in the walls, windows, floors and ceiling that take longer to burn, which would afford better opportunities to safely escape the fire and smoke, as well as extinguish the fire before too much damage is done. Wildfires especially, are prone to enter the house through weak and exposed areas such as your roof. Roofs that are covered with slate ($7 per square foot), tiles or standing-seam metal ($4 per square foot) are much more likely to remain safe. 

Fire-resistant windows include dual-pane glass ($260 to $370 per unit), tempered glass ($14 to $70 per square foot), glass blocks ($560 including installation) and wired glass ($22 to $30 per square foot). The best wall materials for resisting fires are concrete ($150 per cubic yard including delivery), gypsum (almost $2 per square foot) and stucco ($6 to $8 per square foot). Concrete that contains more than 60 to 80 percent aggregate and less moisture is much more flame and heat resistant. Stucco can be used to cover less fire-resistant wood and steel.

After the glow

In the aftermath of a fire, the best thing to do may be to hire a professional fire damage restoration company to get rid of the soot, charring and smoke damage from your house. Water and chemicals used in firefighting are also likely to have caused some damage. The longer you take to begin the cleanup process, the harder it is likely to be. You can also choose to make it a do-it-yourself project for you and your family, providing that the damage has not been extensive. Bear in mind that, especially in cases of burnt oil-based products, the smoke damage may be at a molecular level and is best left to a professional to remove.

Soot can be removed with a good portion of 'elbow grease,' Trisodium Phosphate ($5.36 per pound) solution and warm water. Be sure to protect your hands from the solution by wearing rubber gloves and your respiratory system from the soot by wearing a mask. The odor from smoke damage needs special applications to remove it. However, these can often be found in your kitchen and include white vinegar ($1.50 for a 32 ounce jug), baking soda ($0.58 per pound), and activated charcoal (about $17 per pound). 

For more information about fire damage restoration, contact a company like ServiceMaster by Restoration Xperts.