As you tackle your next home improvement project, be sure to follow good practices to keep your living environment as safe and healthy as possible. Here are several ways to minimize harmful odors and chemical exposure as you remodel your home to help you sustain good indoor air quality.
First off, if your house was built prior to 1978, the paint in your home very likely contains lead. Lead dust is very harmful, especially to children since their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to its effects.
If your paint has lead in it, it must be removed properly and carefully by a certified renovator who follows lead-safe work practices. DO NOT scrape, sand, or burn the paint off yourself, or you could release high concentrations of lead into the air.
When making a repair, aim to fix the underlying problem. If you simply cover up an issue by making it look good on the surface, the problem will only grow larger and become harder and more expensive to fix over time. Two common examples of underlying problems that should be addressed include moisture (mold) and structural damage. These types of issues can be detrimental to your health and safety.
To control or eliminate a mold problem, you must deal with the underlying issue—moisture. Mold can cause allergic reactions and serious health problems for many people. If you experience a leak or water intrusion in your home, make sure to completely dry the area immediately. Waiting even 24–48 hours can allow mold to begin to grow in damp areas. If your home is damp and musty, talk with a professional about mold removal options and long-term moisture control.
Never disturb areas of your home that contain asbestos. If the area is in good shape (not damaged), it’s often best to leave it untouched so you don’t expose yourself and your family to asbestos-containing materials, or dangerous fibers will be released into the air. Make sure, if you do need to renovate an area containing asbestos, you work with a trained and accredited professional.
Try to minimize the amount of dust you create while remodeling. You could mist surfaces with water before sanding or cover certain areas with tarps or plastic to keep dust contained while working.
Use proper ventilation to blow any dust outdoors and to prevent it from spreading to other areas of your home. Also be sure to provide maximum ventilation to an area while painting or installing new flooring (particularly carpeting), and continue to vent these areas for at least 72 hours after painting or completing the installation.
Whenever possible, apply paint or finish to materials outside before bringing them indoors. Roll out carpeting and allow it to air out for a couple days before bringing it into your home, if possible. Many paints and flooring materials emit high levels of VOCs, which can cause serious health problems for humans and animals.
For any home improvement services in Ames or Story County, call Cyclone Contracting! Our designers and contractors are experienced, knowledgeable, and creative. Let us know how we can help you create the space of your dreams!