Renovate, Remodel or Restore?

When you’re recovering from property damage, it might be the perfect time for a little home improvement.

Dealing with the damage left behind by a flood, storm or home fire is never easy, but you have some important decisions to make if you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation. For example, should you renovate, remodel or restore the damaged area?

Many contractors are guilty of using these words interchangeably, but they actually describe three different processes. Sometimes recovering from property damage presents an opportunity to increase your home’s value by renovating or remodeling instead of just restoring. Keep reading to learn about your options, and find out how to make the best of your circumstances.


Restoration means returning a structure to its original state. Filling holes in the walls, replacing old carpet with new carpet and refinishing hardwood floors may all be categorized as restoration projects. When recovering from property damage, restoration usually requires less resources than a renovation or remodeling, and therefore it is often the simplest option. If your living room floods, and you want to make it look exactly like it did before the incident, then restoration is what you need.


Renovating a home involves making changes by adding new features or upgrading existing ones. Homeowners often increase their property value by making renovations. In some cases, it may actually be more cost-effective to renovate a room rather than restore it after a disaster, depending on the cost of the original materials. If you’ve been thinking about making your previously flooded basement cozier by adding a bar and a refrigerator, you should ask your contractor professionals about a renovation.


Remodeling a room entails changing its entire structure. If you have a fire in your attic, and you decide to turn it into a separate living area by removing a wall to make more space, raising the ceiling and installing a new bathroom, then you want to remodel your attic. Many homeowners choose to use a disaster as an opportunity for home improvement. Remodeling obviously requires more materials and money than restoring or renovating, but the value it can add to your property, and your quality of life, may be worth it.

Paul Davis Turns Property Damage Into Home Improvement Projects

The aftermath of a fire, flood or storm can be a tense time, so let the professionals at Paul Davis help you find a silver lining. Our company has responded to the disaster recovery needs of homeowners in Indiana for over four decades. All of our technicians are thoroughly trained in property loss management and certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration. Paul Davis can do more than make your home as good as new; we can make it even better. Contact us now to get started.

Should I Attempt DIY Restoration on My Home?

Even the Handiest Homeowners Need to Know Their Limits

Repairing things with your own two hands is one of the greatest pleasures of home ownership. You get to let your creativity run free while you make modifications that modernize and personalize your living space, and there’s nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done. There’s also no better way to impress your spouse, in-laws or neighbors.

Of course, some repairs are forbidden territory no matter how capable of a DIY expert you are. This is especially true after fires, flooding and other disasters. Here are a few restoration jobs that should be left to the pros instead of your own to-do list.

Electrical Work

Under normal circumstances, there’s usually nothing wrong with installing a new electrical outlet or dimmer – as long as you know what you’re doing. If you’ve experienced a disaster, however, even the act of flipping a switch could be seriously hazardous.

Consider a flooded or fire-damaged home. Material deficiencies inside structural components like walls and beams commonly impact wiring, appliances and even breaker panels.

Burnt-out connections might leave electrical components floating at dangerously high voltages instead of being properly grounded. Moisture left behind in the wake of high-water events could increase the risk that you’ll get shocked by touching something you didn’t expect to be powered on. It takes an experienced restoration professional to anticipate and deal with these unusual situational hazards.

Fixing Material Damage

After a fire or flood, it may be tempting to try to replace paneling, drywall and other obviously damaged components yourself. It’s far better to ask for expert help.

What makes material damage so complex? The burnt, moldy or soaked building materials you can see may be just the tip of the iceberg. If you perform a mere cosmetic fix, you could be overlooking serious structural deficiencies that eventually lead to significant dangers, such as partial or complete building collapse. These repairs should be completed by experts who have the tools and experience to determine the true extent of problems.

Water and Smoke Smell Removal

Cleanup isn’t a simple task either. Sure, you can run fans for a few days after a flood, but without industrial blowers and accurate humidity detectors, you’re just inviting unhealthy mold infestations to take root. Smoke smells may persist until you replace all of your furniture, which is a huge undertaking.

Rapid response is the best way to fight home disasters effectively and minimize losses. You need to be able to manage highly involved restoration tasks, deal with insurers to claim reimbursements and perform repairs in a manner that keeps your building compliant with local codes and regulations.

If there’s one major idea to take away from all this, it’s that while DIY has many uses, disaster restoration is not one of them. To learn more about getting your life back on track, contact Paul Davis today.


Top Tech and Tools For Restoration

Home disasters are more common than you may think. In fact, more than 501,000 structure fires were reported in 2015, resulting in nearly $10.5 billion in property damage. A house fire causes more than physical damage; it also causes emotional damage as homeowners sometimes lose everything that they’ve built over the years. With our cutting-edge restoration technologies, we can help you pick up the pieces and restore your home to good health.

Paul Davis Restoration Technologies

Because modern construction materials burn hotter and faster, you may only have three minutes to get out of your home before the flames spread and engulf the interior. Even if firefighters arrive in time, a fire will create widespread damage in just a few minutes. Smoke, an acidic byproduct, corrodes and stains surfaces throughout the home. In addition, the steps that are used to stop the fire can cause more damage than both the fire and the smoke combined.

Paul Davis takes all these factors into account and has created effective fire restoration technologies to recover, reconstruct and restore your home no matter how much damage has occurred.

Advanced Washing Systems

Our affordable yet successful washing systems consists of environmentally friendly detergents for cleaning and restoring clothing, bedding, shoes and other soft contents and textiles. This system also salvages items that could not have been restored using other methods such as dry cleaning.

Water Damage Assessment and Monitoring

We helped pave the way for MICA, a web-based application that’s used in monitoring, repairing and settling water damage claims. It accurately collects data during the drying phase, giving insurance clients a way to access the information at any time. This useful application not only reduces the cycle time but also decreases the costs when settling water damage claims.

Thermal Imaging Technology

What you can’t may cause the most damage. Our thermal imaging technology allows us to check for water intrusion without the need to cut through drywall or to tear up the carpeting. It’s a cost-effective and time-saving tool, which also gives us a way to show evidence of the problem and to ensure validation after we’ve completed the repairs.

Paul Davis: Professional Restoration Services

When Paul Davis technicians arrive on the scene, you can rest assured that everything will be taken care of from the beginning to the end. We not only take care of fire, smoke and water damage but also help with claims while providing the very best service possible. Contact us now to learn more.


Chimney Cleaning for Fire Safety

Water Damage, Fire Damage and Smoke Damage Erode Your Chimney Over Time, Leaving Your Home Vulnerable to Disaster

It’s not fireplace season yet, but soon enough you’ll be ready to fire up the chimney and enjoy the beautiful glow and smell of fresh burning firewood with your family. Before you light up the first log, you need a thorough chimney cleaning to prevent possible home fire hazards, especially if you have prior damage from water, fire or smoke. Chimney cleaning can be complicated business, so don’t take any chances by trying to do it yourself. Do yourself a favor and schedule an inspection by a professional before the temperature drops so that you can start using your fireplace as soon as winter sets in.

How Often Should You Have Your Chimney Checked?

Fireplaces and chimneys become hot commodities during the winter, but they need special attention during the rest of the year to keep them working safely. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimneys should be inspected once a year at minimum to ensure structural soundness and to remove any deposits or obstructions. Any necessary chimney cleaning, repairs and restoration should be performed before using your fireplace for the first time during the cold season. Even if you don’t regularly use your chimney, you should still have it inspected for animal nesting or deterioration.

Why Should You Schedule An Annual Chimney Cleaning?

In addition to routine maintenance by a professional, you should regularly sweep your fireplace as soon as you notice sooty buildup. Acidic soot deposits can drastically shorten the lifespan of your chimney and serve as fuel in the event of a home fire. Chimneys in areas that are prone to a lot of snow and ice such as Indiana need special attention because cracks can form in the mortar as water freezes and expands. Wear and tear from water and smoke can add up over the course of a year, and it can affect the durability and efficiency of your unit. Structural repairs can take time, so you should have your chimney inspected and cleaned during the warm months before you’re tempted to light up your fireplace.

Paul Davis Provides Restoration Services in Indiana

Don’t wait for disaster to ignite. However, you can’t always prepare for unexpected disasters. If your home has suffered fire damage, contact Paul Davis today for restoration and reconstruction services.

Is Mold Hiding In Plain Sight?

What You Don’t Know Could Harm Your Home and Health

If you’re suffering from inexplicable sneezing, congestion or other common allergy symptoms, the cause may be unseen mold inside your home. Mold thrives in damp, dark places, so it should be no surprise that most mold problems go undetected. If you’ve ever had significant water damage, fire damage or smoke damage, the chances of mold living in your walls or carpet are very high. If you suspect that a fungal colony is growing in your home, you need a professional inspection right away before it inflicts lasting harm on your property and your health.

The Health Hazards of Hidden Mold

According to the CDC, allergic reactions to mold spores can trigger headaches, asthma attacks and chronic sinus complications. In worst case scenarios, mycotoxins from specific molds like stachybotrys chartarum can cause problems including depression, difficulty concentrating and even memory loss. If your symptoms are more noticeable while you’re at home but improve when you go out, it’s very possible that household mold is keeping you sick.

Signs of Hidden Mold

Mold often has a distinctive pungent, musty smell, but mold may still be present even if you can’t smell or see it. People sometimes mistake small mold growths for dirt or rust. Mold may appear black, brown, white, orange and even pink or purple when it grows behind wallpaper. Large amounts of condensation on your windows or pipes means that there is a lot of moisture in the air, which makes ideal conditions for mold growth.

The Causes of Mold

Mold needs moisture to grow, so water damage (including residual damage) provides a fertile ground for fungi. A common sign of moisture problems is discoloration of your walls, floors or ceilings. If you notice your paint or wallpaper peeling, cracking or warping, that could also be indicative of water issues. Anytime you have flooding, you should have your home inspected for mold damage as soon as possible. If you suspect mold in your home, contact Paul Davis for a consultation today.

How to Be Calm before the Storm

Preparation is Essential

When a hard storm is on the way, you need to be ready to keep your home, your family, and yourself safe. You may even need to plan ahead in case of evacuation. If you have everything you need packed in a backpack, you won’t be scrambling at the last minute to find the following necessary items.

• One or two flashlights with extra batteries
• Portable battery-powered radio
• Drinking water for each person in the family
• Nonperishable food
• Medications and prescriptions
• First aid kit
• Emergency phone numbers list
• Cash
• Personal documentation such as passport, social security cards and other important papers.

You should also have access to pictures of your home before any flooding or water damage. Most importantly, make sure everyone knows where the emergency supply kit is stored for a quick evacuation.

Protect your Home

Not only should you have a storm safety plan for your family, you should also write out a storm preparedness checklist for your home. If a severe storm is expected in your area and you are waiting for an evacuation order, you can prepare your house by:

• Shutting off gas and water mains
• Filling bathtubs with clean water
• Securing storm shutters on your windows
• Bringing in outdoor furniture and loose items from your yard.

Restoration after the Storm

If your home has been damaged by a flood or severe storm, there is help available. One important resource is the National Storm Damage Center, where you can learn how to protect yourself and your home before and after a storm. If your home has suffered damage, contact Paul Davis to begin the restoration and reconstruction process for any water damage within your home.

Flood Preparedness

Is Your Home As Ready For Summer As You Are?

Most people look forward to hot weather with great enthusiasm, but as a homeowner, summer also means you have a seasonal routine to maintain. In addition to keeping the lawn well-manicured and fighting pest incursions, you need to fortify your property against potential high water.

Even if you’re not anticipating a deluge of mythical proportions, it’s critical that you adopt a proactive stance. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of flooding to cause serious material damage. For instance, the National Flood Insurance Program estimates that a single inch of flooding in a 1,000 square foot home could result in more than $10,000 of financial loss. Getting ready in advance is definitely worth it, so keep the following steps in mind.

Assess Your Water-Management Fixtures

Gutters and roof systems are designed to divert excess rainwater in a constructive fashion. While extensive flooding can overcome such protections, they’ll resist the flow of water longer when they’re maintained properly.

A well-cleaned system of gutters and downspouts can redirect more moisture away from your building and its foundations. Check around welded pipe joints, mounting brackets and other fixtures for leaks, rust or signs of pooled water. This could help you catch a small problem before it leads to a disaster in the middle of a serious downpour.

Poke Around Your Foundation

Flood waters don’t always enter buildings via the most obvious paths. For instance, a longstanding crack in your concrete basement wall might weaken gradually for years. Water accumulation during your next storm could exert enough pressure to weaken the existing fault in a single catastrophic burst. If you weren’t aware of the problem in advance, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.

It’s vital to inspect your basement on a regular basis. Check features like sealed joints and high-stress points, such as corners, for signs of stress. One good sign of excessive moisture in the earth surrounding basements is efflorescence, or built-up powdery substances and tiny crystal deposits that occur when water evaporates through your walls and leaves behind salt and minerals.

Repair Current Damage

Finally, don’t neglect problems you already know exist. If you already experienced flooding or excessive moisture that caused damage, letting the material deficiency sit uncorrected is a prime way to leave your property vulnerable to future floods.

Take immediate action by contacting a restoration expert so that they can assess and fix the issue. This is also a good way to spot related faults that might indicate the existence of structural weak points, such as bowed basement concrete walls or warped timbers. To become better prepared for flooding or just fix existing problems, get in touch with Paul Davis right away.

Summer Fire Safety For Your Home

Five Simple Tips to Keep You Safe This Summer

Summer is finally here. It’s time to play outside, barbecue in the backyard and chill under warm evening skies. The season comes with its share of routine chores around the house too. As you gear up for lawn mowing and tree trimming, put these home fire safety tips on your must-do list, too.

1. Baby Your Grill – Without regular maintenance, your outdoor cooking station can cause serious fire damage. Keep drip pans and grates free of grease build-up that can turn open flames into dangerous flares. If your setup uses a gas tank, check lines for wear, and make sure connections are tight. Always keep kids and pets a safe distance away from the grilling action.

2. Keep Things Wet – Shrubs that shrivel under the hot summer sun are potential fire hazards. A stray spark from the grill or a carelessly tossed match can ignite flames in a dry backyard. Keep the lawn watered, replant dead areas, and cut back dry brush. Keep an eye on tree branches over your grill too. A flare-up that scorches burgers can also ignite that shady canopy overhead.

3. Keep Extinguishers Handy – When you’re cooking outdoors, always have an extinguisher within reach, and keep another one handy in the kitchen. Check the pressure gauge every month. Replace any extinguisher that shows wear on its hose or nozzle. If your extinguisher is older than 10 years, invest in a new model. It costs far less than addressing water damage and smoke damage to your home after a fire.

4. Play Safely With Fireworks – Fireworks are fun, but they can also be dangerous. Always light them a safe distance from the house, and keep them away from the kids. Don’t try to light up the sky all at once. Proceed with caution, and keep a bucket of water nearby for duds and spent fireworks.

5. Develop a Plan Now – Every home needs a solid fire evacuation plan. Get the family together, and determine multiple escape routes out of the house. Go over evacuation basics that include staying low to the floor to avoid smoke, testing door knobs for heat and using windows for exits if necessary. Identify safe routes out of the backyard too.

We want you to stay safe this summer and enjoy the season. If you’d like more ideas for home fire safety tips, contact Paul Davis today. We offer more than 20 years of professional reconstruction and restoration experience, and we’re here for you 24/7.

Renewing Your Home Inside and Out

Top Remodel Tips for Safety and Structural Integrity

Your home is one of the biggest investments that you will ever make, but keep in mind that it also provides one of life’s basic necessities: shelter. It has to withstand both freezing temperatures and sweltering summer heat. The weather might be dry one minute and pouring rain the next. Over time, weather will exact quite a toll on your home, but just like your vehicle and personal health, taking care of your home will keep it safe and sound for decades to come.

Prevention Is Key

The best defense against fires, leaks, and other accidents is prevention. When it comes to remodeling, basic construction and utilities — electrical, plumbing, heating and air, and properly sealed exterior walls — are just as important as aesthetic or functional upgrades such as new kitchen cabinetry. We understand that most people have a limited budget and a dream bathroom or kitchen in mind, but if some of your electrical outlets are sparking or a shower is slow to drain, those issues ought to be addressed before any finishing touches such as new flooring or molding are added.

Put Security Above Your Head

One of the very best structural remodels in which you can invest is a brand new roof if your current shingles are curling, the plywood sheathing sags when you walk on it, or the roof is simply at the end of its life expectancy. Roof leaks always get exponentially worse with time — water damage, mold, and rotting insulation are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to headaches you’ll encounter with rain making its way inside your home. A new roof can cost thousands of dollars, but it’s a fraction of what you could end up paying for reconstruction.

Windows of Opportunity

Leaky windows can make you uncomfortable when it’s hot, cold, or humid outside, and you’ll end up paying more for utilities, but most people don’t realize leaky windows can also make their homes more vulnerable to high winds. Some of the newest research into tornadoes and hurricanes shows homes with properly sealed windows and doors fare better than homes with porous exteriors.

Other common structural remodels include:

  • Upgrading electrical and plumbing to meet modern codes
  • Installing underground drains to channel water away from your home
  • Repairing footers and strengthening your home’s foundation

What to Do After a Fire or Flood

Fire damage often looks worse than it actually is after a small blaze. Even if your home’s studs are exposed and slightly charred, we can often save your home’s original structure, which saves you money. Smoke damage on drywall typically requires nothing more than a fresh coat of primer to seal the odor and then two top coats of paint to match your home’s existing colors.

Accidents still happen, and if you have a leak or fire in your home, first make sure that you and your family are safe. Turn off all water to your home in the case of a leak, and contact the restoration professionals at Paul Davis.

Full-Service Emergency Restoration

Experiencing a fire or weather disaster is traumatic, and the aftermath can transform even the calmest of lives into stressful chaos. Water, fire and smoke damage is often overwhelming, and structural instability or collapse may lead you to believe that your home or place of business is hopelessly lost. In most cases, this isn’t true. Experienced restoration specialist Paul Davis can quickly assess damages and put even worst case scenarios on a smart and sound path to recovery by restoring normal living conditions, managing secondary problems and helping you find your way through the confusing recovery process. Here are the steps Paul Davis takes to ensure the best possible outcome.

Paul Davis Full-Service Emergency Restoration

1. Emergency Board-Up and Structural Stabilization

As soon as you and your family are safe, stabilizing your property is an essential task. Paul Davis understands the importance of promptly boarding up windows and providing structural stabilization to prevent further destruction caused by hidden damage to framing and walls.

2. Water Damage Control

Whether it’s due to broken pipes, storm damage or fire extinguishing efforts, water infiltration can quickly deteriorate building materials and create conditions favorable to dangerous mold and mildew growth. Addressing water damage quickly can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs. Paul Davis uses industrial-grade water extractors, air movers, dehumidifiers and other professional equipment to efficiently remove water from rooms and damp materials. To prevent mold and mildew disasters, disinfectants and antimicrobial products are used to sanitize affected areas.

3. Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration

Paul Davis uses environmentally friendly methods to conduct fire and smoke damage restoration processes such as soot removal, odor elimination and air purification. All affected items including furniture and personal possessions are removed and carefully inventoried for cleaning and restoration.

4. Reconstruction Services 

Unfortunately, if severe damage has occurred, some areas of an affected building may need to be reconstructed. Paul Davis is fully qualified to conduct reconstruction and meets all state licensing and insurance requirements. A variety of reconstruction services are available for home and commercial projects.

5. Assistance With Insurance Claims

Filing insurance claims can be confusing for the average person, especially when extensive property damage has occurred. In the midst of dealing with the fallout of a disaster, the last thing you need is to be overwhelmed by a complicated claims process or unfamiliar terminology. Paul Davis will help you with the insurance claims process so that you can focus on getting other aspects of your life back to normal.

When Disaster Strikes, Paul Davis Is Here to Help

Disasters happen, but having the right people in your recovery plan greatly reduces the negative impact they have on your life and your future. Don’t let a fire, weather catastrophe or other chaotic event disrupt your peace of mind. Contact Paul Davis for a consultation today.