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Minimize dust while renovating


Cutting renovation materials outdoors can minimize dust generated in work areas.
Cutting renovation materials outdoors can minimize dust generated in work areas.

Even though dust is ever-present both inside and outside of a home when renovations are in full swing, dusty conditions are often exacerbated.

Whether a home is new or old, numerous substances can be stirred up when removing walls, refinishing floors, removing tile or expanding living spaces.

These include silica from drywall, lead, asbestos, paint particles and even waste from bugs or rodents.

Homeowners who want to remodel with minimal construction debris floating through the air — both for health purposes and general cleanliness — may find these proactive steps helpful.

Prepare dust-containment plans

If a contractor is involved, it is often his or her responsibility to minimize dust. Do-it-yourselfers must make dust containment a priority. Protecting the floor and keeping the dust confined only to work areas can be achieved with plastic sheeting and other barriers.

Designate an entrance and exit

The experts at This Old House say it is best to choose one doorway as the only means in and out of a work area. Ideally, this doorway should lead to the outdoors. All other doorways should be sealed on both sides.

Remove extraneous items

It’s best to remove clutter from the room, including any furniture that can be taken out of the space. This helps items from becoming dirty, and hazardous particles from settling into nooks and crannies.

Close vents and registers

If forced air systems are part of the home, it’s best to divert air away from the work area. Block vents and intake registers so that dust does not clog the system or transfer to other rooms.

Cut items outside

Design advice site Houzz says that some power tools have vacuum extractors to suck up dust at the point of contact, removing 90 per cent of dust where it is generated. For those who do not have access to these tools, cutting and sanding can be done outdoors to keep dust outside.

Open a window

If weather permits, an open window can provide ventilation. Another idea is to create an air vacuum in the work area. Picking a window at the far end of the work area and mounting a window fan blowing outward can suck dust out and away from other areas of the house.

Clean up daily

By keeping on top of dust, including sweeping and vacuuming the work area frequently, dust will not accumulate and migrate elsewhere.

Dust is a common side effect of home renovation projects, but it can be minimized.

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