Safety Tips for Before, During and After the Renovation Process

by SafewiseMarch 25, 2014

Transforming your space through a renovation can make your home more beautiful and functional, improving the time you spend there as well as improve your home’s value.

If you’re ready to work on improving your space, whether it’s remodeling the kitchen, updating the bathroom, or transforming the backyard, be sure to keep safety tips before, during and after the renovation in mind.

Start with Safety

It’s important to start your project with safety in mind. Make sure you have the right equipment and it all works properly before you get started. You’ll also want to make sure you have permits and that you meet city codes. Consider these safety reminders before you begin renovations.
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  • Wear the right clothing. If you’re going to be spray painting or spraying any mold removal or herbicides, you’ll want to cover from head to toe. Wear socks, closed-toed shoes, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and gloves.
  • Protect your ears. If there’s going to be excess noise, be sure to wear earplugs.
  • Watch your eyes. Safety goggles or glasses are extremely important when spraying, drilling, or sawing.
  • Take care with the ladder. A good rule of thumb to follow with ladders is the 4-to-1 rule. For every four feet of ladder, the bottom part should be one foot away from the wall or space it’s leaning against. That’s approximately a 75 percent incline. Don’t go higher than the third step from the top and always have someone spotting you when climbing a ladder.
  • Be up-to-date on codes. If you’ve just sketched an idea on a napkin or you’ve hired an architect, renovations usually mean you need to bring items up to code. This is especially true in older homes. Find out about specific safety codes in your city before you begin.

Time to Start the Project

Once you’ve properly prepared for your renovation project, the fun begins. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment or carried away with an idea. Be sure to project yourself and your family as you are busy making your home beautiful. Keep these tips in mind during your renovation project.
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  • Have good ventilation. If you’re painting, be sure to have good ventilation. Open windows and doors or use a fan to limit irritation from fumes. House paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOC) that come out as gasses. These gasses can quickly cause headaches, dizziness, and lung irritation.
  • Consider the amount of dust. There’s always going to be dust from drywall, insulation, plaster, or sanding. The dust from these projects can irritate your lungs and airways, making conditions like asthma worse. But an area many people forget about when it comes to dust is carpets. According to the Ontario Lung Association in Toronto, Canada, removing carpet can release a large amount of dust particles that can end up in your lungs. You’ll want to wear a mask where these projects are concerned.
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  • Head outside. If you have a messy or extremely dusty job, go outside if possible. Be sure to wipe your feet and shake out your clothes before you come back inside to avoid bringing the toxins back in the house.
  • Go eco-friendly. Where possible, use paints, varnishes, cleaners, and paint thinners that are as green as possible. You can choose VOC-free paints and those labeled “green” to help you breathe easier.
  • Head to a hotel. Some home renovations are so large that it’s better to get out of the house altogether. When you’re sanding, painting, or varnishing, get out of the house as much as you can to avoid breathing in too many fumes. If possible, go to a hotel for a night or two while paint dries.

Stay Safe Until the End

Once you’ve finished your renovations, there’s still a little bit of clean up to do. Have you eliminated all the dust? Are air vents clean? Use this checklist to clean up safely after a big home improvement project.

  • Clean the walls. Be sure to wipe down walls and molding when you’re finished. If you’ve painted the walls, just do a dry dusting. If you’ve kept the old paint, you’ll want to wipe with a damp towel. For high places, wrap a towel around a broom to dust.
  • Get out the vacuum. Go over carpeted spaces multiple times to get any excess dust. For wood, linoleum or tile flooring, be sure to mop. Be sure to vacuum upholstered furniture as well, even if it’s been wrapped up during renovations. Dust has a way of getting into the smallest cracks and crevices.
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  • Put tools away. You’ll want to make sure your tools are properly put away and stored. Don’t leave ladders, drills, or nails lying around.
  • Change the air filters. Perhaps the most important clean up project is changing air filters. Paint fumes and dust from sanding can collect on the air filters. You’ll breathe cleaner air, plus your furnace will run better with a new filter.

Increase Home Safety

Now that you’ve been safe during your renovations, you may want to consider a few more home projects. Keeping your family safe should be your top priority. Try a few of these ideas to add safety features to your home. Not only will your home and family be safer, but you’ll also increase your home’s value.

  • Install motion detectors. Motion detectors can deter thieves because a light comes on when motion is detected. Put these detectors near all external entrances.
  • Don’t forget the peep hole. It seems like such a simple thing, but a peep hole on doors will allow you to see who is waiting on the other side. You never want to open the door to someone you don’t know.
  • Mount your television. Televisions can topple over and can be especially dangerous for toddlers. Keep your little ones safe from TV accidents by wall mounting your television. Not only is the TV safer on the wall, it also frees up your floor space.
  • Don’t forget deadbolts. Replace any old or broken locks with newer, safer deadbolts. A deadbolt is harder to pick, keeping the inside of your home safe from intruders. If you’ve recently bought a home or let any repairmen or contractors have a key to the house, be sure to change all the locks in the house.
  • Replace outdoor light bulbs. If you have burnt out or broken bulbs outside, change them right away. An illuminated back yard or front entrance will help deter thieves. Criminals like a dark area where they can’t be seen.
  • Professionally install an alarm system. A security system can bring you greater peace of mind. Most professional systems come with monitoring, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and yard signs. The mere presence of an alarm system will keep criminals away.
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If you’re getting ready to remodel or you have a home improvement project you’re ready to tackle, be safe first and foremost. Follow some of these ideas to keep safe while making your home beautiful.
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If you’ve recently finished a home renovation or project you’re proud of, enter Homes.com’s “Style Your Space” contest. You could win $2,500 simply for showing off your transformed space. Go to Homes.com for full contest details.

About The Author
Safewise
Elli is the head of outreach at SafeWise. SafeWise is a community-focused security organization committed to home and family safety and security. Refer to SafeWise’s frequently ask questions about home security for just about every question you have related to security systems, home break-ins, security equipment, and home automation.

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