Fire restoration options

Question Icon
Posted by: from Toronto
6/7/2016 at 7:00:29 PM

I have had a large loss fire and am a bit overwhelmed with the choices for restoration. I have been told by some sources to use my own contractor and then others insist I should use the preferred contractor already doing the cleanup and demo work to do the rebuild. I don't seem to be getting and solid info though. Some say use my own contractor, they will do what I want done and get it done faster. Others say I am more protected using the restore company already there.

Basement fire, main level also taken down to studs, flooring and cabinets out on 2nd floor as well so far. It's a pretty big project.

I am looking to work a reno and upgrades in as well since everything is already ripped out and I had a wish list for future already including removing a wall and upgrade of kitchen, flooring and basement adjustments.

Has anyone had to deal with this before and have any specific feeedback? Single mom, not wanting to be taken advantage of and led down the wrong path.

User Icon
James from got mold?™ in Saskatoon
Date/Time6/7/2016 at 10:04:35 PM


Read this blog for information pertaining to your concerns. Hope it helps

User Icon
Date/Time6/7/2016 at 10:19:20 PM


When hiring a Contractor, it is always best to choose someone whom you are comfortable with. Someone who has the proper insurance and also knowledge. If going with the restoration company, chances are they will only build what was there. You will most likely not get the additional features you are looking to add on. Best bet is to seek out both sides, see what they say, and go with your instinct. If you need someone to take a look at your property and give you an idea of costs and what can be done, please contact me. I have been in the industry for many years and have experience dealing with insurance companies. Again, at the end of the day, it is who you feel comfortable with. Make sure you are fully informed of all work that will be completed if you use the insurance company's people. You don't want to be caught unaware. There are no stupid questions! Chances are, though, they will not do more than fix what was already there.

Hope that helps.


User Icon
Date/Time6/7/2016 at 11:26:57 PM

Let me clear a few things up here that may be confusing you or giving you conflicting information. You have the ability to choose your own property restoration contractor, it is always your choice and don't allow the insurance companies or anyone let you think otherwise. As for dealing with a preferred contractor, that isn't always your best choice, and if you use any reputable iicrc certified property restoration contractor they will always warranty and guarantee their work. You have the right to choose the one that you feel the most comfortable with regardless of who your insurance company suggests. Do your research, check out their better business bureau rating, certifications, etc. Just because they are part of a large franchise doesn't make one company better then the local independent restoration contractor either. As for upgrading your home while in the process that is always an option and usually at a cost to the homeowner. This goes along with what I stated earlier, go with someone you trust and feel comfortable with, have a contract and only sign it when you are satisfied that you are getting what you asked for especially when you are upgrading.

User Icon
Steve from OMC Contracting in Kitchener
Date/Time6/8/2016 at 6:25:59 AM

Hi There,

Contractors working for insurance co.are always more expensive and there position is they are not working for You but insurance,now You can rich Your own conclusion what it means. My advise is select the contractor that You think is honest with the knowledge and that will do the best job for and more.


User Icon
Donald from KCMC Inc in Burlington
Date/Time6/8/2016 at 8:45:47 AM

Dear Mara,

With respect to your dilemma KCMC can offer you this advice.

Engage an independent qualified person (architect or engineer) to do a complete schedule of work.

Please note that a lot of hidden damage can be over looked by the insurance inspector.

This will be your starting point in agreeing the total damage with the insurance company.

The insurance company's own contractor will submit a quotation to restore the house only to its original condition.

By using your own scope of work you can have individual qualified contractors quote on your project.

When you have all quotations you can then negotiate with the insurance company a settlement amount no less than what the agreed scope of work will cost by your preferred contractor.

When you have settled with the insurance company you can then increase your scope of work (using your qualified person) and ask the preferred contractor to revise his quotation accordingly.

The contractor designated by the insurance company will most all ways give the lowest price.

In the end if you are in control of the purse strings you are then in control of your finished product.



User Icon
Mara in Toronto
Date/Time6/8/2016 at 8:46:38 AM

Thank you so much for the feedback guys.

I want to be able to guide the reno and be able to communicate well with the person doing the work. I am not talking crazy changes, but things like moving a vent or upgrading the bathroom vanities and consulting together on it. I just don't get the feeling that happens with a larger restoration company.

For those who have experiencing working fire restores with significant smoke damage, is there risk in using my own contractor, who doesn't necessarily have a lot of fire experience? I know the restoration company there now spot tests drywall in the areas there are not sure about ripping out, but would a typical general contractor know what to look for when they assess this as well? I would hate to get this work done and still smell smoke because something was missed. I have a child on the autism spectrum with a hypersensitivity to smell so I want to be extra careful about it.

Can I request that the cleanup company get it to the state that we are sure the damage is cleaned and it's ready for reno work? While they are working well with me now and say they are working for me, what happens once the contract is signed if I agree to use them?

This forum is just fantastic BTW. It would be great it a site like this existed for people like myself navigating how to deal with insurance and contractors. I am very grateful to be able to ask questions here.

User Icon
Mara in Toronto
Date/Time6/8/2016 at 8:50:56 AM

We were posting at the same time Donald. Thanks for those suggestions as well. I am going to check into these things today.

User Icon
Date/Time6/8/2016 at 9:42:27 AM

I strongly recommend an independent contractor that is fully insured, has a timeline and scope of work that meets your satisfaction. Progress billing, which means when he is finished a phase he is paid, is a good system as the contractor gets paid for the work he has already done, and you don't lose money if he skips out. You should ask the private contractor to provide you with a reference list of past projects, and check them out. To protect your home from any mold issues that could arrive due to the amount of water used in the fire and before any work is started on the rebuild, a mold investigator should come in, test and provide you with a Clearance Certificate prior to releasing the restoration company. This will ensure that the job was done properly and that you will have no issues down the road. Last but not least make it very clear to the contractor that change orders will only be accepted with your approval.

User Icon
Date/Time6/8/2016 at 10:10:15 AM

The restoration Company you have was probably recommended by your Ins. Company. This type of Restoration Co. Is specialized in Floods, Fires and probably Mold. Start with the Better Business Bureau just to see what Company's are there and how they may help you. I'm a Restoration Specialist myself for over 20 yrs. but I restore old Un-maintained homes into there former glory. One contractor

for all would be good, but there are special people out there that only do ,Painting, Cabinets, Flooring , Doors & windows. get many Very Detailed Estimates. This is your Contract and protection.

User Icon
Ronnie from Industries Solutions in Regina
Date/Time6/8/2016 at 11:27:17 PM

Hi single mom =)

We've addressed this exact situation in the past on several occasions. NOT judging established 'restoration' companies, but often you may find their expertise lies in the remediation and/or abatement of the damage. NOT the moving forward aspect of fine finishing and the actual (for the want of a better term) architectural aspects of your project. I agree with a previous reply, stay with what/who you know, making sure you are not viewing them thru rose colored they truly KNOW the details involved with fire loss remediation.

As to the 'get it done faster'(?) yes....remediation, restore companies are typically over booked, and often likened to the 'Kodak' companies of construction. ie: do lots of clients at the same time.

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get quotes from top-rated contractors