Saturday, 18 January 2014

Remodeling and Health, Part - 1

Home remodeling is a messy affair. While the work is on the home is filled with dust, dirt and all kinds of pollutants. Not only does this make life uncomfortable, it can lead to a variety of health issues for the family. The ideal solution is for the family to move out of the house while the work is in progress, but this is often impractical. When the family stays in the home while the remodeling is being done, it is essential that they take precautions to minimize the health risks. While this is especially important in the case of those suffering from respiratory problems and allergies, it makes sense to do what is possible to protect everyone from the health risks.

Here are a few of the most common of issues and their solutions.

Minimizing Dust and Fumes

The first thing to do is to hang plastic sheeting over access points to the part of the house where the work is being done. The sheeting must be left up until all the work in that area has been completed. Once the work in that area has been done, the sheeting should be rolled up tight to prevent the dirt that has accumulated on it from falling free. The sheeting should not be carried through the house for removal - the dirt will spread through the house as it is being carried. It is better to make a chute at an open window and push the debris out through this. This will prevent dust from rising in the air inside the room and contaminating everything.

In addition, when entering the work area, masks, goggles and if possible, protective clothing should be worn. These should be worn immediately on entering the work area and taken off before leaving so that the dirt on them will not be carried through the rest of the house.

Once the project has been completed, the windows of that area should be left open as much as possible. It will take about 3 weeks for the area to air out. If possible set up fans in a window to exhaust the indoor are outside. Those living in cold climates will find that this becomes easier if the remodeling work is undertaken in the warmer months.


If new flooring is part of the remodel, the type of material being used must be considered from health grounds as well as aesthetics and practicality. Hardwood floors are the best in terms of providing the least possible source for irritants and pollutant to collect. But even with hardwood, the chemicals used in many finishing materials can cause reactions. To minimize the risk have varnishes and waxes with a low volatile organic compound content used. Also stay out of the house while the work is in progress. Wait until the odor has completely dissipated before reentering the house. Ventilate the area for several days after the work is completed.

Carpets are the perfect home for dust mites and all kinds of infections to grow. When planning the remodel, consider the possibility of minimizing the use of carpets to reduce the ongoing chances of infections which will only increase as time passes. Bare floors and washable rugs are the healthiest options. Where carpets are used, have a regular cleaning schedule ready and ensure that the newly laid carpets are completed cleaned before the room is occupied.

Cleaning Chemicals

Many contractors use strong chemicals for cleaning up after they finish their work. While these may be effective in removing the dirt, the residue they leave behind can affect the health of the occupants of the home. Talk to the contractors about using cleaning materials and techniques that are safe but do not compromise the quality of the cleanup.

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