Summer is home renovation season. Many homeowners choose to complete projects such as remodeling their kitchen or adding a sun room. These projects increase home value, but can also increase stress. One stress that you need to address with you contractor is that of dust management on their projects. It is inevitable that remodeling generates significant construction dust. This dust can result in physical discomfort or even health issues. Do not allow your contractor to neglect the importance of dust control and cleanup during renovations.
Everyone is familiar with dust in their home. It accumulates on top of ceiling fans, window sills and in the corner of floors. But what is in “everyday” dust of the home? It typically consists of a combination of several items: skin flakes, lint from fabrics (clothes, bedding), outside soils tracked in, pet hair, insect parts and the list goes on. Like it or not, these are the things that we live with every day. The larger concern however is jobsite, or construction, dust.
Job site dust depends on the scope of the project and the materials being manipulated during the construction process. If you thought the list for normal household dust was bad, you may not want to read on. For example, when demolition is being performed it could expose mold spores, dead bugs or even rodent feces to the work space. Those items hide in walls or behind cabinets and appliances. In addition, building materials create a huge dust concern when being demoed; sawdust, gypsum, silica, lead and even asbestos can all come into play during the process.
Professional Remodeler recently referenced a study that stated there was a large disconnect between homeowner expectations and contractor attitudes when it comes to dust control on the work site. The survey revealed that 89% of homeowners had significant concerns about the indoor environment during a remodeling project. Job site dust was listed by 85% of respondents as the top concern. Only 64% of contractors shared the same concerns and just 39% conveyed that they took the necessary steps to address the issue of dust control. It is clear that remodeling contractors have a lot of catching up to do in order to align their efforts with client expectations regarding work site management and dust control.
Taking the necessary steps to protect your home during a remodeling project is not rocket science. Make sure that your contractor is going to implement the following controls to make sure your home is not contaminated with renovation dust.
– You want to isolate the work space from the rest of the home and keep dust in the contained space. For example, you don’t want dust traveling from the kitchen to the dining room. In order to achieve this, temporary walls or barriers should be setup to contain the work space. This is typically done with rolls of plastic sheathing, tape and extension polls holding the sheets in place.
– Using HEPA air scrubbers at the work site will drastically reduce dust issues. HEPA air scrubbers filter the air and capture 99.97% of particles that have a size of 0.3 microns or greater. For example, the average lead dust particle is 2.0 microns and bacteria usually run between 0.3-60 microns so both should be captured by a properly utilized HEPA air scrubber.
– Your heating and air conditioning system may need to be shut down temporarily. HVAC systems circulate air throughout your home and sending construction dust through them could damage the system and/or cross contaminate other areas of your home. Sealing off the vents in the work space could be another alternative to shutting off the entire system. Work out a plan for your specific situation, but just don’t forget to address the HVAC system as it pertains to dust circulation during the renovation.
– Make sure your contractor is taking necessary precautions to protect your belongings. There are many different ways this can be done. First is by removing items or furniture from the work space. A second option is to cover items and sealing them off. This is especially important for areas that have cabinets in which dust can sneak through the drawers and contaminate the items inside.
Following a renovation there will likely be the need to perform post construction cleaning services. The goal is to minimize the need for heavy cleaning by implementing the dust management procedures listed above. Make sure to budget post construction cleaning into your project. Proper post construction cleaning will utilize HEPA air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums in the process. Air duct cleaning may also be recommended.
Soil-Away Cleaning & Restoration specializes and helping families and businesses recover from property disaster. Whether it is a flood, fire or mold damage situation, Soil-Away is available 24/7 to serve. Many projects involve extensive demolition of damaged building materials in which we are committed to work site safety and dust control. We understand the inconvenience of a property disaster and will do everything in our power to make the recovery go smoothly. If your property has sustained water, fire or mold damage call 603-641-6555 to reach the restoration experts at Soil-Away.