Safety Tips to Consider when Renovating Older Homes

Every now and then people think of renovation. DIYers eagerly want to work on home improvement, but if you live in a house constructed before 1978, then there are some essential safety tips to consider before you start sanding walls or using that hammer.

  • Does your house have lead paint?
  • What kind of surfaces and materials you will disturb?
  • Do you have damaged pipe insulation or tiles which have asbestos?
  • Will any pipes get disrupted and may leach lead in drinking water?

If any of the things apply in your case, then you should take precautions because you may be subjecting yourself and your dear ones to health risks.

Test for lead paint

If your house was constructed before the ban of lead paint in 1978, then you must be having it in your house. If lead paint is kept in good condition, it poses no significant risk. If disturbed, it can release hazardous lead dust in the air which can lead to lead poisoning. Lead poisoning may cause brain damage, poor IQ, ADHD and autism like symptoms along with mental and physical problems. Even a small granule of lead dust say the size of a grain of sand can lead to lead poisoning and severe damage to your health.

Hence before commencing the renovation work, go for lead testing NYC by a certified lead risk assessor. With the help of an XRF spectrometer they will check your paint layers and pipes to know if there is any lead paint present on the surface or underneath.

Look for asbestos

Before renovation, also check for materials with asbestos. Inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to fatal health issues such as malignant lung cancer and asbestosis. It is common in old homes and so before going for renovation, you should get it checked. 

Recommended precautions

If the test confirms presence of lead or asbestos, then you should take necessary steps to keep yourself and your dear ones safe.

  1. When you are working make sure the kids, pets and elderly people leave the premises for the time being. They can return once the area is fully cleaned.
  2. Shut the doors where you are working. You should use 4-6 mil plastic sheet and painters tape to seal the work area completely. The aim is to prevent these hazards from contaminating the other parts of the house.
  3. Wear a mask with N95 rating or more which filters out finest particles. Wear it all the time when you are working and cleaning. Also wear a Tyvek suit while working to protect your clothes. Make sure you cover your feet with boots. Once you are out, make sure you leave the suit and boots for washing.
  4. Do not sand. Lead dust calls for most paediatric lead poisoning cases annually. Sanding may release lead dust in the air which may circulate inside the house for a long time. So, sand as less as possible.
  5. Lastly, once you are done, use a HEPA vacuum to remove the remaining dust and debris from the area. Make sure all the toxic materials are cleaned well.