Staying Safe While Remodeling

Remodeling your home is a fun and exciting project. Updating appliances, knocking out walls or building a fun backyard holds a lot of opportunity for future fun with your family and friends.

As fun as updating your home can be, it's important to ensure safety for your family. Whether you're doing the work yourself or hiring a construction team, there can be a lot of potential for safety issues. Here's what you should address before you start the project and look out for during construction.

Hazardous materials
In not so previous years, there was a variety of materials used in construction that are now deemed hazardous. This includes lead paint and asbestos, both of which can cause numerous physical ailments.

Have your home tested for lead-based paint. If the home was built or remodeled before 1978, it's likely that the outside or inside contains the hazardous material. If dust containing lead particles is ingested, it can lead to lead poisoning. As long as the paint isn't peeling or cracked, it isn't an issue. Renovations usually disturb paint, so it's best to get a lead-based paint inspection.

If your home was built before 1980, it's likely that it contains asbestos in floor tiles, ceiling tiles, insulation, seams on sheetrock, and pipe cement. Asbestos becomes a hazard when it's airborne and breathed into your lungs, causing lung cancer or mesothelioma. Have an inspector come to your house and take samples of possible asbestos-containing materials before you begin renovations. If your house does contain asbestos, you should live elsewhere while the renovations are taking place and ensure that certified professionals use proper precautions. If you decide to work on the house yourself, you should make sure that you use a proper respirator mask to help filter out dangerous particulates.

Building materials
Adhesives, paints, sealants and varnishes can emit organic compounds or VOCs. Even when stored, it's just best to keep your family away. Ensure that your children don't play around building materials and watch out for headaches, dizziness, memory issues or breathing irritation. It's best if you ask your contractor to store materials in a place where indoor pollutants won't be an issue.

Besides potential hazardous material, building supplies are sharp and hard. Children playing around concrete blocks, nails, wood material, and tools will likely hurt themselves if they fall. Keep your family away from the construction materials to be safe and make sure you have a first aid kit handy just in case there is an accident.

Give construction workers space
It's an interesting business, and as much as you'd like to pick the brain of the tile guy or your paver, it's best if you keep out of the way. Talk to your children about staying out of the construction zone and ask the foreman to put up yellow tape to give your children boundaries. If you want to ask the professionals about what they're doing, make you wait until after the work is done to ensure everyone's safety.

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