Remodeling your home can be a massive and challenging task, especially if you’re going for a significant overhaul. Not only will the project take a significant amount of time and effort, but it may also result in injuries or health risks if you fail to observe proper safety precautions.
If you’re planning to work on the remodel yourself, you should make sure that you have everything you need to accomplish it and that you’ve done proper research on how best to go about it. Thorough preparation is needed if you want the remodeling process to go smoothly. However, if you think the project is too complicated for you to handle on your own, you may want to consider working with professionals with the skills and expertise to handle home remodels.
Whether you’ll be handling the project yourself or outsourcing licensed professionals and working with manufacturers and installers like Hardie Boys, it’s essential to be well aware of the safety measures to observe. Here are several safety tips for your home remodeling project.
Make Sure The Structure Of Your Home Is Secure
If you’re restoring an older home, you may want to check if the structure is compromised. There are various factors that may have caused it. For instance, heavy flooding can cause certain homes to have foundation hazards. In such cases, seeking advice from a professional would be beneficial, as they can help with the inspection and give you advice on how to rectify the situation.
When looking for signs of structural instability, it would be best to start with the basement. Consider fissures in the walls or the appearance of mold and mildew as indicators of water intrusion, which could be a sign of wood rotting above.
Suppose you’re planning on making significant changes to the structure of your home, such as removing load-bearing walls or adding a second story. In that case, it’s important to consult with a structural engineer to ensure that the changes you’re making are safe and won’t compromise the structural integrity of your home.
Also, if you’re tearing down walls or removing other structural elements, ensure to support the structure properly so it doesn’t collapse. This process may involve using temporary walls or installing support beams. Note that removing too much of the structure at once can cause the house to become unstable. That said, it’s important to work with a professional and remove elements one at a time, carefully checking the stability of the structure as you go.
Familiarize Yourself With The House’s Floor Plan
One of the essential preparations before remodeling your home is to be familiar with your home’s floor plan and the various utilities installed. If you have the house’s original floor plan, you can readily determine the gas lines, electrical lines, water lines, etc. Knowing the location of the utility lines will allow you to plan out the remodel without making costly mistakes along the way, particularly when it comes to demolition. It can also help you avoid accidentally cutting off power or water during remodeling.
If you don’t have a copy of the floor plan for your home, you can try asking the previous owner or checking with the county assessor’s office to see if they have a copy on file.
Keep The Work Area Clean And Wear Protective Gear
During the project, remember to keep the site clean and to wear the proper gear. Make it a priority to keep everything organized in the work site by placing tools in a designated location and labeling and safely storing all materials.
When it comes to protective clothing, make sure to invest in durable pants, gloves, and a belt, along with a sturdy hat and steel-toed boots. Don’t forget to wear a pair of safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris or dust.
If only a section of your house will undergo a remodel, you need to decide on the proper means of access to the rest of your home. You can do this by designating routes around your residence.
Make sure to have readily accessible exit points from all areas of your home. An alternative entrance should be safe for heavy traffic if the central area of your home is what you will remodel.
Ensure That All Safety Devices Are Functional
Before starting your renovation project, it’s crucial to ensure that all the safety devices in your home, such as smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, are functional.
Don’t forget to check if your fire extinguisher is working too, since you never know if you’ll need it during your project. A home should have at least two working ABC fire extinguishers, and it would be best to invest in models that are large enough to handle a fire.
If your remodel project involves heavy-duty demolition or requires you to cut through concrete, you should isolate the site as much as possible using white plastic sheeting. This is to protect the rest of the house from dust or silica exposure, as well as from the carbon monoxide that gasoline-powered tools might release.
Maintain Proper Ventilation
A home remodel might involve the demolition of concrete or drywall. Depending on the extent of the demolition, it could make for an unideal indoor environment.
With this in mind, you should ensure that the area has good ventilation before, during, and after the remodel. Open the windows and position industrial fans around the area to flush out all airborne particles from your home. Additionally, consider wearing protective gear that allows you to breathe safely, such as a dust mask or respirator.
Observe Electrical Safety
In any major home project, it’s crucial to observe electrical safety measures to prevent shock, electrical fire, and explosions.
During a remodel, it’s likely for wires to be exposed. Any loose or open wiring can put one at risk for electrocution, and fires or explosions may result from excessive heat caused by an overflowing current or faulty wiring.
Some other common electrical hazards that may be present during a remodel include the following:
- Exposure to live wiring
- Improper grounding
- Overloaded circuits
- Exposure of wiring to flammable materials
Before you start your project, make sure all plugs, cords, and wires go through inspection before use. You should also inspect all tools and equipment for damage.
If you’re going to operate corded tools outdoors, you should plug them into a receptacle with a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). In case a short circuit occurs, a GFCI will turn off the circuit right away. Additionally, don’t forget to switch off the power supply from the circuit breaker when dealing with any electrical work.
Observe Roof Safety
If the roof is part of the remodel, it can pose certain risks, especially since you or your workers might be working from a great height. Some safety concerns you may want to prepare for include falls, unsafe surfaces, and inclement weather.
Generally, it’s best to work with a professional roofer if your roof requires extensive work. Always remember that if you buy the skills to handle a task, it can save you from risk.
Watch Out For Black Mold
If you’re remodeling an old house, you may want to check for the presence of black mold. Any major home project that involves extensive demolition might stir up large amounts of mold that can put your family at risk for respiratory problems.
Black mold is especially problematic since it can trigger flu-like symptoms, such as wheezing, stuffed nose, and eye and skin irritation. The longer you’re exposed to this type of mold, the more severe the symptoms.
You can pinpoint black mold when you find black specks, usually behind a bathroom wall or in areas prone to excessive moisture. When treating a small space that has black mold growth, it’s best to wash the site with bleach solution. If there’s extensive growth, you should opt to call in a mold removal service for more efficient removal.
Observe Deck Safety
Though not as precarious as the roof, a deck can also be a safety hazard. As with any part of your home, you should always scrutinize the deck before starting any work. Make sure to check for any signs of mold, mildew, or other moisture-related problems. Pay close attention to areas where there’s evident deterioration of wood and determine how well the deck supports weight.
If your deck requires structural repairs, you need to plan with a contractor to ensure safety throughout the project. Make it a priority to keep all tools and equipment secure, and prevent young children and pets from accessing the worksite.
Some of the usual hazards when working on a deck include the following:
- Issues with the wood
- Warped, wobbly, or loose stairs
- Problems with the supports
- Slippery surface
- Instability of the railings
Other possible concerns indirectly associated with your deck project include exposed nails, extension cords, wiring, and power tools, as well as chemical fumes from finishes or varnishes.
Make Sure All Tools Are In Good Working Condition
One of the significant causes of injuries in a remodel project is the use of faulty or malfunctioning tools. With this in mind, it’s essential to ensure that all tools are in good condition.
If your tools are starting to show signs of wear or developing issues, it might be best to replace them with new ones. You may think that you can still get some use out of it, but it’s better to take extra safety precautions than to put yourself at risk. If all your tools are still in good shape, make sure to provide regular maintenance and handle them with care.
Be Careful When Handling Paint
Most homeowners might not think of paint as a safety concern. However, a painting job can expose you to various hazards, including chemical exposure or slips and falls.
As is usually the case, being ready for potential hazards is always the best defense. Before working on a painting job, make sure the area has adequate ventilation. Check the safety instructions on the paint products you’re using and make sure to maintain a safe distance from any electrical equipment. Additionally, make sure to clean up the area thoroughly afterward.
Address Flooring Concerns
When tearing down flooring to make way for a replacement, it’s crucial to seal off the site so family members and pets cannot enter. Clear away any debris as soon as you can and keep tools in a safe place after use. If you’re using power tools to sand wooden flooring, clear the site beforehand and use the proper protective gear.
Some of the common hazards with flooring include the following:
- Uneven or loose surfaces
- Cracks or broken tiles
- Obstacles such as tools or flooring materials
A good way to prevent injuries in your home is to make sure there is no unevenness in floor level. You can do this by firmly securing loose parts of the flooring while removing and replacing uneven sections. If you’re planning to install a carpet, make sure to install it well and secure any loose spots in place.
Be Ready With A First Aid Kit
Often, emergencies and accidents can occur even if you strictly observe safety precautions. With this in mind, it’s crucial to have a well-stocked first aid kit in case of any injuries.
Before starting on your project, make sure that you have all the necessary supplies in your first aid kit and store it somewhere that’s easily accessible. You should keep a phone close by as well, in case of more serious incidents.
A home remodeling project has its share of risks, especially if you’re planning an extensive one that involves several of the rooms in your home. With the help of the above construction safety tips, you can ensure the safety of both the people working on the project and the family members living in your home, and allow the project to flow smoothly until its completion.