Although extended timelines and going over budget are normal worries to have when planning a remodel. However, other worries aren’t talked about as much. Whether it’s because they are scary to think about, or they aren’t as well known these concerns are valid, and the best way to protect yourself is to educate yourself. So here we’ll be going over the different dangerous exposures you might run into and how to prepare your home and your family.
What Might You Be Exposed To?
What you might be exposed to depends on how old your home is, if it has any history of water damage or pest infestations, and the types of products used when building or renovating your home in the past. So what exactly could you be exposed to, and what are the symptoms of those exposures that you should keep an eye out for?
- Mold – runny nose, dry cough, watery eyes, skin rashes, sore throat, sinusitis, and wheezing.
- Lead – developmental delay in children, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, hearing loss, seizures, and more.
- Asbestos – shortness of breath, dry cough, loss of appetite, weight loss, clubbing of fingers and toes, chest tightness or pain
- Pest Waste – exposure to rat or mouse droppings can lead to a harmful disease called Hantavirus. Early symptoms are fatigue, fever, muscle aches, and pains in the back, hips, thighs, and shoulders.
While you are unlikely to deal with all of these, we like to be thorough and cover every possibility. But, even with the best technology and cleanest job sites, these nasty contaminants can get into your system and wreak havoc. So please pay close attention and take it very seriously.
How Can You Reduce the Risks
While you aren’t going to be the one swinging the hammer, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risks of exposing your home and family to these harmful contaminants.
First, when hiring a contractor, be sure you conduct thorough interviews to ensure they are a good fit for you and your project and that they have a straightforward and written out procedure for containing and eliminating exposure to these things. If the contractor has no experience handling issues like this, you’ll probably want to go with someone else. On the other hand, if they have a written-out plan for situations like this, you can probably trust them to handle it with care and professionalism.
Second, during the remodel, you should be changing your air filters on a much more regular basis. If a filter is clogged, it will not only make life harder on your system, but it will also let more things through. This will increase the risk of exposure to the rest of the house.
Lastly, if the risk of being exposed is too much for you to worry about, you might want to consider living somewhere else during the remodel. This could last the whole remodel or just until the demolition and clean-up is over. This is a more expensive option, but it keeps you and your family far from harm.
How Your Contractor Can Reduce the Risks
At some point, it is out of your hands, and you’ll have to trust your contractor to do their part to protect your family from these nasty exposures. Luckily, you’ve done your research, and you’ve chosen a contractor who takes these seriously and who has experience dealing with such things.
Some of the ways contractors will deal with lead, dust, and other harmful debris are with dust walls and dust collectors. These systems keep the dust and other particles in the space and reduce their spread throughout the home. Dust walls aren’t just plastic taped to the walls; they are specifically designed to contain the dust. Dust collectors use suction to clean the air and purify it of the harmful things in the air.
Similar to dust collectors, sometimes contractors will install special ventilation systems to protect your home. These suck the air out of the room and blow it outside where it can’t harm the people inside. However, these can’t always be used in certain situations, but they are an option that is sometimes used.
While this might seem elementary daily clean-ups are an essential part of keeping your home safe from nasty elements during a home remodel. A crew that doesn’t clean up and organize the space at the end of each day increases the risk of exposure and injury on the job site. This isn’t good for the crew or your family.
Lastly, during demolition and handling of potentially harmful materials, crew members should be wearing PPE or personal protective equipment. The equipment ranges from full-body suits to gloves and masks, depending on what they are dealing with. Again, if your contractor does not have plans in place or does not give its crew access to these items, you might want to go with someone else.
Although remodeling your home is an exciting and fun experience, certain aspects should be handled with great care and consideration. Talk extensively with your chosen contractor about how to protect your family and their team, and you’ll be sleeping soundly knowing everything has been handled with care.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.