Living through a major home remodel can turn anyone’s life topsy-turvy, but when you suffer from asthma, it can become a hazard to your health. That’s why it’s important to hire a contractor who knows how to minimize indoor-air pollution during a home remodel, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
Dust, debris and fumes from demolition and construction can wreak havoc on your eyes, nose and skin. A skilled remodeler will know what steps to take to minimize pollutants infiltrating the other living spaces of the home. Many remodeling activities, from demolition to sawing and installing moldings, have the potential to create dust. Using low-dust work practices, such as misting surfaces with water before sanding or scraping and covering the work area with plastic or poly-tarp sheeting, can contain the dust. To help his clients survive the dust and grime and to make sure your family breathes clean air, a remodeler can seal off half the home and work behind plastic. Plastic barriers can be used at all entries to the construction areas and vents can be sealed off.
Clear the air
Adequate ventilation is another key to healthy indoor air during construction. Exhaust ventilation, such as a fan blowing out from the work area, will help remove dust and other pollutants and, by creating a pressure barrier, will help keep pollutants from spreading to other parts of the house, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The types of materials used can make your project healthier, as well. There are many eco-conscious and formaldehyde-free materials available, including insulation, sub-floor materials and cabinetry construction. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas compound (HCHO) that is recognized as a carcinogen and allergen that can irritate your eyes, mucous membranes and the upper respiratory system. Another healthy material choice is low-VOC latex paint instead of oil-based paint.
If a contractor asks you to pull his or her own permits, that should be a red flag for a you to find a different professional. Relying on a contractor to navigate the permitting process can save you time, money and stress. Permits are the way cities regulate construction and help ensure that all construction is safe. The safety of the occupants of buildings is the primary reason for having construction codes, and the permits are an agreement that whatever work is being done to a home complies with those codes. Most government bodies adopt codes for construction, mechanical, plumbing and electrical, and in addition, there are federal, state and local laws that govern construction, such as those covering energy conservation.
Although you are allowed to pull your own permits, it is in your best interest to have the remodeler do it instead. The process of getting the permit will generate a flurry of questions from the local building department that you are most likely not qualified or prepared to answer.