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Old 10-10-2009, 03:20 AM   #1
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


Hi Folks -

New to the forum here. I posted the below in remodeling, but wasn't sure where to post so I am also putting a link here in General Discussion.

Smoke Damage:Must Walls be torn out or will Clean / Repaint Work?

Thanks

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Last edited by Solo1; 10-10-2009 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 10-10-2009, 04:47 AM   #2
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


If it were mine,I would gut it and re do.

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Old 10-10-2009, 08:23 AM   #3
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


I'm not into fire restoration (I stick with water damage) and the same questions arise...see, there comes a point in both restorations when a certain logic comes into play, where the damage done versus the cost of repairing it are elements of an equation that is best solved on the spot. So while we have the technology to repair what you have shown us in the photo, insurance adjusters have to ask at what financial cost, at what 'cost' to the HO (in terms of discomfort and trauma) as well as what time-frame is out there and ultimately, what image does the process reflect of the insurance companies values.

Sure, you could clean every wall and every moulding with cleaning compounds, deodorize, reprime, repaint and hope the smell gets sealed out. But what about "phantom smell" - that's when the HO sees the same walls professionally cleaned and sealed - but swears he still smells smoke...it's a psychological fact. So, you replace the wall. Not because it can't be cleaned but because - in psychological as well as financial terms - it is "cheaper" to replace them.

Look at it this way: Insurance companies have money in the bank, always have and always will. Money in the bank is an asset, sure, but their biggest "asset" is satisfied customers, those who keep on paying their premiums and go about saying good things about their agent or their carrier...so whether the wall replacement costs $50 or $500 is not important. The image of a company caring enough to replace every thing with new, upgrading as they go along, is money in the bank for the agent and the carrier...

Send furnture etc out to a remediation/restoration company, replace the walls and ceiling, make sure the structure isn't affected, prime and paint with SW or BM paints, replace everything and make it look like it was before...that's what I want to see from my agent and the company that carries the policy on my house.
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Old 10-10-2009, 10:52 AM   #4
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


Thanks for reply. I added to the above post to clarify.

I am looking at an investment opportunity. I DO NOT have the insurance , the landlord does. And, since she is well represented, she can maximize the proceeds from the insurance company.

I am looking to repair at substantially less cost and buying the home at well under market value since the landlord has the benefit of insurance proceeds, she is positioned to sell house for land value.

Here is original post.

Smoke Damage:Must Walls be torn out or will Clean / Repaint Work?

Thanks.
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:30 PM   #5
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


Oh I see...well if its an investment property, then there's even more reason to proceed with a gut. I think that whatever anyone does to that property, they will have to counter the fact that there was a fire there and do all they can to restore it and to me that means gutting it right down to the roof rafters; wall, floors everything out...then soda blast, deodorize with ozone, reinsulate, then rebuild. But you'll be in the $80-$100K range, if you rewire, replumb, reroof etc.

It's cheaper to rebuild than restore.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:18 PM   #6
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


More facts:

Rebuild estimate is about $115k...more than value of house.

Restore? Not sure. Can't imagine more than $50k.

Where are you getting your estimates? What am I not thinking of? Here is what I can think of now:

Cleaning, duct treatment and deodorization: $10k (getting bids)
Then seal and paint... no clue? Any idea? 1030 sq. feet.
Replace L/R hardwoods
Three Windows in front of house and frame.
Replace L/R ceiling and insulation.
Kitchen Cabinets.
Door Frames.


Details?

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Old 10-11-2009, 01:03 PM   #7
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


Might as well do it right instead of trying to patch it. if an engine crew went into the house and put water on everything, it is pretty much done. I work in the fire service and I've seen many houses that were burned pretty bad and then later on halfway repaired.

I can tell you one thing for sure, you will never get that smoke smell out of the house. When I was 11 years old, the house burned that my mother and I lived in burned. I still have a guitar that was in that fire and smoke damaged, and I can sniff the sound hole and still smell that fire.

It never really goes away.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:25 AM   #8
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


Not really my area of expertise either, but it's been my experience that you can still smell the smoke after normal remediation. I've installed new drywall on a couple of fire jobs. At the moment I'm doing some repair for a retired couple who had a fire in 1975. The wife swears she still smells smoke when they open the attic stairs And they had several pieces of furniture professionally refinished and she says she can still smell smoke.....
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:37 AM   #9
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


In my opinion, drywall is cheap. The cost in time to put up the new walls will probably be about (or less) than the time to clean the existing walls. Priming and painting will have to be done on either, so that's a wash. I'd start with new material and not worry about any "what ifs," like the smell not going away.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:32 PM   #10
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Smoke Damage: Tear Down Walls / Ceiling or Not


thanks much for the reply folks....

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