Best Fire and Water Damage Restoration Companies

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Best Fire and Water Damage Restoration Companies

Use our guide to research the best fire and water damage restoration company for you. Fires, floods and other disasters can strike suddenly and unexpectedly. After these tragedies occur, fire and water damage restoration services help homeowners recover and restore the property. Start by considering a company’s experience, reputation, professional certifications, services offered and your insurance coverage.

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What to consider when choosing a fire and damage restoration company

Certified experts

It is imperative to make certain that the company in question has all the required state and local certifications to complete the restoration job. These certifications should also be up-to-date.

  • Certification: Look for credentials from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, also known as the IICRC, for well-trained fire and water damage experts.
  • Sub-certifications: The IICRC has additional specializations such as mold remediation or structural and commercial Drying. Ask the company for details about their sub-certifications.
  • Restoration vs. reconstruction: Note that the IICRC refers to restoration, not reconstruction. If the damage is to severe that contractors are required to partially or completely rebuild/reconstruct properties, make sure that they have all the proper local licenses and certifications necessary.


Every disaster is unique and requires the utmost care. If a company begins operating from the wrong starting assumptions, it can prolong or completely derail the restoration project unnecessarily.

  • Relevant experience: Make sure that the company providing restoration has dealt with many previous situations that are similar to the current task at hand. For example, standing water from a flood could become contaminated with chemicals or substances that make it a biohazard. Make sure the company knows what they are dealing with before they come out to avoid added confusion that slows down the job.
  • Comprehensive evaluations: Don't hold back any information. Even details that don't seem to be significant initially can greatly impact the company's professional evaluation of the restoration requirements or the extent of structural damage.

Asset protection

Different kinds of materials - such as furniture, computers, floors, etc. - require different treatments under very specific timetables.

  • High-priority assets: Decide which assets have the highest priority and then look for the company that specializes in that particular area.
  • Practicality: Replacing property or recreating data may be less expensive than restoration. Don't compromise your practicality.
  • Pre-inspection reports: Some types of leases require a pre-inspection report by qualified restoration personnel to establish insurability levels.

Time to recovery

Hours, and sometimes minutes, can make all the difference in what is recoverable. Make sure the company will be ready the moment disaster strikes.

  • Rapid response: The first few hours after a disaster can make all the difference in terms of what is recoverable. Look for rapid response times. Also critical, is advice on what to do immediately and what needs attention within the first 24 hours.
  • Schedules: Look for a company that can give a full, detailed schedule of steps that they will need to perform before an estimated completion date.
  • Variable costs: Be prepared for costs to vary greatly based on factors that aren't obvious at first, such as structural damage and the extent of smoke damage.

Storage facilities

Some restoration companies offer storage facilities. Find out how much space the company has to house your undamaged assets and what their storage rates are.

  • Storage conditions: Make sure that storage facilities are nearby and adequate in terms of factors like temperature control and security.
  • Packing services: Ask if they provide packing services, which means that they can thoroughly clean property before packing it up and putting it into the company's storage facility.
  • Record keeping: Make sure to take photographic records of the condition of your property before it goes into storage.


Ask for names of commercial or governmental agencies that the company has worked for and look for referrals.

  • Referral limitations: Don't discount a company just because its referrals aren't perfect. Some items simply aren't restorable, and that fact creates disappointment.
  • Reputation vs. proficiency: Balance the value of the company's reputation with the company's demonstrated proficiency at deploying new technology.
  • Additional advice: Ask your insurance carrier or lease holder if they have any specific recommendations or requirements for disaster-recovery providers.

What are different types of restoration?

Water damage

The most common type of restoration services deals with water damage from weather events, from plumbing ruptures or from actions firefighters had to take to put out a fire. If not handled properly and quickly, standing water can lead to mold growth, corrode electronics and the weaken the structural supports of a building. Dealing with mold prevention, detection and remediation as a result of standing water is the next most common suite of services. If water damage has resulted from damaged plumbing, the company must have the resources to treat the property for contaminated water and biohazard recovery.

Fire damage

Fire damage services include recovery after a natural or man-made disaster. Many people don't realize it also includes smoke damage, even if the fire was suppressed before it grew out of control. Smoke can permeate and damage many different types of materials, even stone. Often, smoke damage from a thermal or chemical fire can be so severe that the roof, walls and floor are not restorable. Restoration experts must have many years of experience to properly identify which items they can save and which items to replace.

» MORE: How many house fires are caused by dryers?

Data recovery

When fire or water damages paper files or electronic equipment, data recovery services attempt to recover as much lost information as possible. Services for data recovery after a disaster have become the fastest-growing area of restoration services. Specifically, these services deals with techniques to retrieve irreplaceable data from damaged devices, system failures, common accidents or cybercrime. This field is changing rapidly as new technology develops that can recover data in ways that were impossible even a few years ago.

Who can benefit from fire and damage restoration services?


When there is a disaster at a private home, apartment building or vehicle, fire and water restoration specialists need to possess a greater level of sensitivity about personal losses. In many cases, people who have lost their homes and property may need community support in order to handle the costs of restoration. Homeowners may also need additional help from the restoration provider in dealing with their insurance companies. Due to the sentimental value of items in the home, victims of fire or water damage many need help assessing whether it is more practical for their property to be restored or replaced.


The companies that specialize in restoration services for commercial properties understand the full cost of downtime and lost revenue while the restoration takes place. The damage to the company's reputation and brand value can be permanent if the fire and water restoration is not handled rapidly and efficiently. They are fully aware of the heightened legal responsibilities of business owners to protect employees, customers, investors and all of their personal data. Industrial clients often have very specific requirements in terms of handling their most valuable assets, such as semiconductors and cooling towers.

Government and non-profits

Organizations dedicated to public welfare or positive social outcomes often have an increased exposure to natural and man-made disasters. Government agencies and non-profits often have to operate under stricter guidelines, with greater regulatory oversight and under tighter pricing requirements for the contractors they choose.

Victims of data loss

It doesn't take a great deal of water to destroy electronic equipment or paper files. Moisture in carpets has been responsible for destroying paper files and spilled drinks have wiped out millions of dollars worth of data on company computers. Rebuilding after a fire or water disaster means getting the business back open as soon as possible, and that requires rapid data recovery. Lost customer data due to water damage can also expose the company to legal and regulatory liabilities. In the information economy, a simple electrical accident involving water damage to private data can wipe out the viability of a business faster than the physical damage from a fire or flood.

Fire and water damage restoration FAQ

Is the smell of smoke after a fire harmful?

Yes, if you smell smoke after a fire, the quality of air is compromised. Children, older individuals and those with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions or weakened immune systems are especially at risk from chemicals (e.g., carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide) in the smoke and soot after a fire. Usually, the most effective and efficient way to safely remove smoke after a fire is to call in a professional fire damage restoration company.

Can smoke damage be removed?

Yes, the best way to remove smoke damage is to contact a fire damage restoration company. If you want to repair smoke damage yourself, take these steps:

  1. Wear protective clothing and equipment: Put on pants, long sleeves, gloves and eye protection.
  2. Ventilate your home: Open windows and doors, and use fans, but not your HVAC system.
  3. Put down floor protection and remove undamaged household items: Alternatively, you can cover undamaged items with plastic or sheets, and seal off undamaged areas.
  4. Vacuum: Use a vacuum and its upholstery attachment. Be careful not to scrub and make stains worse.
  5. Wipe stains: Use a dry cleaning sponge on walls and other surfaces.
  6. Wipe down surfaces: Soak a rag in commercial smoke or soot remover and wipe down all surfaces. Wash the walls with a rag soaked in hot water and trisodium phosphate or dish soap. Wipe the walls again with a rag soaked in water.
  7. Dry everything: Use a clean rag and fans. You may continue to smell smoke for days or weeks while it dissipates. If the smell persists further, you may need to throw away items or contact professional cleaners. Don’t forget to replace HVAC filters.
How do you clean up fire damage?

Contact a fire damage restoration company to clean your property. Post-fire conditions can be hazardous to your health, and you can cause further damage trying to clean the property yourself. A fire damage restoration company has the training and equipment to:

  • Identify the source of the fire
  • Evaluate and treat fire, water and smoke damage
  • Remove belongings for cleaning and storage
  • Perform restoration and check for safety
  • Deodorize the property
How do you clean up water damage?

To clean a minor, limited water spill:

  1. Stop the source of water, including by shutting off the water, if necessary.
  2. Use a wet-dry vacuum to remove as much of the water as possible.
  3. Towel the affected area to soak up leftover water.
  4. Turn on box and ceiling fans.
  5. Use a dehumidifier.

If these steps do not work, you should strongly consider contacting a professional water damage restoration company.

How much does fire restoration cost?

The average cost of professional fire restoration is about $13,000, with most property owners paying between $3,000 and $28,000. The cost depends on factors including:

  • The amount of fire, smoke and soot damage
  • The extent of water damage
  • The size of the property
  • The number and types of household items the company will salvage
  • Structural repair costs

Keep in mind that your homeowners insurance policy may cover part or all of fire damage restoration costs. Be sure to speak with your insurer about your coverage and which professionals you can hire.

Is it safe to stay in a house with smoke damage?

No, it generally isn’t safe to stay in a home with smoke damage — even if it seems like all the smoke has gone away — unless a professional restoration company has checked the property. Smoke and soot has invisible particles and chemicals, including carbon monoxide, that can cause serious health problems, especially among children, older adults and those with health issues.

Do plumbers fix water damage?

Yes, plumbers fix minor water damage from household items like pipes, faucets and toilets. For larger-scale problems, such as flooding or water damage after a fire, it’s best to contact a water damage restoration company.

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    Author reviews for fire and water damage restoration companies


    PuroClean has been rapidly expanding across North America, adding more than 300 offices since 2001. They are sponsors of the American Red Cross Disaster Responder program and have built partnerships with local plumbers and property managers in the areas they serve. They handle fire, smoke, water and mold restoration services.

    Read more about PuroClean
    Rainbow International

    With 35 years of service in this field, this group of experts has built hundreds of recovery offices in 10 countries. They handle fire, water and mold restoration services.

    Read more about Rainbow International

    AdvantaClean has been rapidly expanding across North America with more than 300 offices since 2001. They handle water and mold restoration services for residential, commercial, industrial and government customer.

    Read more about AdvantaClean
    Stanley Steemer

    This experienced restoration and cleaning company, with services since 1947, has offices in 48 states. Though known more for their steam-cleaning equipment, they also handle residential and commercial water restoration services.

    Read more about Stanley Steemer

    Belfor has high-tech mobile-command centers with arrays of computers and dedicated satellite towers. They operate the largest fleet of restoration vehicles containing state-of-the-art recovery equipment. They handle fire, water and mold restoration services.

    Read more about BELFOR

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