Out of the Embers Update: A Truss-Worthy Builder

December 4th, 2017
photo of smoke rising out of suburban house in Dexter, Michigan prior to restoration by Acheson Builders

Fire broke out, was thought extinguished, then returned at this Dexter home.

Progress Restoring Fire-Damaged Home

Good news! The Dexter, Michigan home that suffered a fire earlier in 2017 is nearly rebuilt and restored.

The fire, which began one night in the living room where a new gas fireplace apparently malfunctioned, resulted in no injuries but wreaked significant damage to walls, ceilings, a large portion of the roof, and to floors throughout the two-story structure.

photo of fire engines and fire fighters standing together at scene of house fire that was later rebuilt by Acheson Builders

Fire engines and fire fighters on scene at this home in Dexter, Michigan prior to second outbreak.

The damage that even a small, contained fire can inflict on a house affects more than those portions that actually burn; smoke can permeate all materials and parts of a house, and fire fighters’ water and fire-extinguishing material can cause its own unique form of destruction. This home was no exception.

photo of Acheson Builders crew members up in roof section fastening framing pieces during reconstruction of house in Dexter, Michigan

Crew securing trusses and finishing framing.

For this job, Acheson Builders proposed a plan for both restoring and remodeling the house (see earlier blog report on this project), and began work in July, 2017. Initial work focused on removing damaged materials remaining after a previously hired fire-disaster company had​ removed drywall in affected areas. Acheson Builders unscrewed thousands of projecting drywall fasteners which had been​ left behind​ by the prior drywall removal​, stripped out all smoke or water-damaged insulation in walls and in the attic, and removed wiring and plumbing that was affected by the fire.

That left . . . the odor . . .

Smoke Smell — How to Lose the Burn

Special treatment was undertaken to ensure that all vestiges of smoke damage were eradicated. This required hiring a company that specializes in deep cleaning to be conducted​ in​ multi-step process. First was a patented Hot Thermal Fog™ treatment to open up the pores in the wood (see sidebar “Makeover for Smoke-Damaged House“), followed by thorough cleaning and deodorizing with an ozone and hydroxyl treatment. After this, a sealant was sprayed over everything: all remaining exposed wood, wires and pipes, etc., to prevent any residual smell from escaping. This included the entire attic, where a lot of smell had traveled beyond the burned area.

Yet another company was employed to clear out and certify all of the ductwork, to ensure NADCA standards.

Acheson Builders then re-installed insulation in all areas where it had been removed or where needed.

Roof and Framing

Then we brought in the crane. Crane? No, we did not employ a large, long-necked bird, but brought in a construction crane for removing and replacing seriously large structural trusses for the roof​ in the central part of the house​.

photo of fully deployed crane ready to lift materials onto fire damaged house being restored by Acheson Builders

Construction crane in use during framing and roofing phase of restoration.

(Quite a few remodeling jobs could benefit by a having a crane available but cannot accommodate one, due to site features such as hills and trees; this site was well suited to use of a crane.)

photo of truck-mounted construction crane ready to lift trusses and plywood onto fire damaged house being restored by Acheson Builders

Construction crane in use during framing and roofing phase of restoration.

Now the roofing has been completed, damaged walls re-framed, and new sheet rock fastened on. All exterior work is complete: framing, roofing, siding, paint — all protected and done.
 

New Fireplace

Installation is complete . . . a different brand from the one that malfunctioned and​ burned the house, thank you very much!

Basement Remodel

Extra remodeling, not related to the fire,​ has been undertaken in the basement.​ The owners decided they may as well have the basement finished (a project that they originally had planned to do a few years down the road) while we are already at the home doing other restoration.​ New walls are now framed and drywall will be installed by the time you are reading this. Then comes the fun work of installing all the finishes.​
 

Next Steps

Believe it or not, further smoke odor treatment is needed — to the floors and underlayment. Once done, floor finishes can be completed. After that, tile work will be undertaken. And then there is the exterior: follow-through work includes cleaning up garden beds and re-mulching them. Even these areas were damaged by the fire, firetrucks, and initial demolition processes (before Acheson Builders had been called in).

Check this space in​ the near future for more updates!

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Makeover for Smoke-Damaged House 

Hot Thermal Fogging as defined by CleanFax Company

“Thermal fogging most closely approximates the very small size of smoke particles, driving the particles deep inside tiny cracks, crevices and pores of surfaces, just as the original smoke deposits were created.

When properly created and applied, thermal fogging delivers excellent odor control. . . . “

Source: http://www.cleanfax.com/restoration/effective-thermal-fogging/

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