Fire Damaged Home Rehab

There is a home in my neighborhood that is being rebuilt for fire damage. It was a two story home with a finished basement before the fire. The fire department reached the home in 10 minutes but there were flames coming out of the roof before the occupants realized the home was on fire. The rumor is the home caught fire due to a lightning strike. I find this to be a good learning experience for me as an inspector. I’ve made initial contact with the guy that bought the home and is rebuilding it. He’s very friendly and talked with me about the process. I’ve seen evidence of encapsulation in some homes that I’ve inspected in attics but nothing to this extent. This one interests me because, if he finishes this house the way I suspect, it will be very hard for an inspector to detect the encapsulation. Especially if you have no information on the history of the home.

The home was a two story home and the entire 2nd floor was totally destroyed. He will be building it back as a two story home. The area in the back of the home where it looks like there will be some attic space will be the Kitchen area and will have a vaulted ceiling so that area will be covered with Sheetrock and insulation. Not really visible in this initial photo. The area I’m talking about is located in the right, rear of the first floor.

What is this communities’ thought on fire damaged homes? What are some questions you would ask? This guy that is doing the rehab appeared to be pretty knowledgeable and I get the feeling this is not his first rodeo. I thought about maybe asking if he’d be willing to let me interview him. So I want to be able to ask pertinent questions that may help home inspectors and myself as well if he does agree to let me interview him.

I’m in North GA, Atlanta Area.

Your feedback is appreciated.

David Barber


It will be subject to same local building code as a new or remodeled home except with a few more eyes on the project including the local housing authority,neighborhood code and the neighborhood association. It could be a good learning experience for you with permission from the contractor. Here, the property is condemned and only certain people are allowed on the property during construction. Edit: The insurance company will try to pay as little as possible.

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Here is a nice graphic by @rmayo and he may weigh in.

Just one thing to consider when looking at fire damage.


Here is a good article that may help you with learning more about the process.
Fire Damaged Buildings Fire damage assessment, repair & prevention for homes & other buildings (


The white paint just encapsulates the smell. Any charred members with more than 10% section loss should be removed.


Reinforces my theory, as long as everyone is out safe and nobody is in danger, don’t be in too big of a hurry to call the FD.

****just kidding if my insurance company is reading this post sometime in the future :wink: :innocent: :fire_engine:


There wasn’t much left of the structure. They should have put it in a dumpster.