June is National Safety Awareness Month and we’re celebrating by talking about safety in the home. While all DIY projects may seem fun and exciting at first, there’s a lot to learn before renovating or remodeling your home. A good rule of thumb is the older the house, the more cautious you should be.
Here are six tips to keep you out of harm’s way while safely renovating your house!
1. If You Can’t Move It, Cover It!
Start your project off by covering any furniture or valuables you plan to keep in the room during the renovation process. Placing a tarp or other plastic covering on the floor and counters will protect you from minor spills or having unwanted dust and toxic debris embedded in family furnishings.
2. Open Up Your Windows
Creating good air flow is a must when working indoors with strong fumes like paint. Open all the windows in proximity to the project. Standing fans can be set up in rooms that don’t typically have a window, like small bathrooms. Other harmful particles like dust can get trapped in the mesh lining of windows and have been known to cause allergic asthma and other types of respiratory issues.
3. Safety First
This may seem obvious, but when DIY projects involve power tools and ladders it’s a good idea to go over some simple ground rules with those who are going to be around the project site, especially children. If your family is going to be around for a lot of the work, set up a “construction zone” that marks where kids and pets are not allowed in. All power tools should be treated with the utmost caution. Keep them a safe distance from your body when using them, and turned off, unplugged from the outlet and properly put away when you’re done working with them.
Not many people realize a ladder is a tool on its own. When working with a ladder, make sure the area is clean, slip-proof, and can securely hold the person’s body weight. A great tip to remember is the 4-to-1 rule; for every four feet of height the person climbs, move the base one foot away from the wall. An estimated 500,000 people each year are treated for ladder-related incidents, and 97.3% of those cases occur inside the home.
4. Check for Asbestos
In the United States, homes built before 1978 may contain high levels of asbestos, making it crucial to test for the toxic mineral before beginning any major home projects. Asbestos was known as a miracle mineral due to its durability and resistance to fire, heat and electricity, and is commonly hidden in a home’s flooring, ceiling tiles, and insulation. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to several cancers, including the lesser known mesothelioma.
5. Test for Lead
Homes built before 1978 most likely contain lead if they still have their original paint. If that sounds like your home, get it checked out by a professional. Paint chips and dust created from scraping or sanding lead paint can negatively impact the health of those near the project and potentially put everyone in the home at risk of lead poisoning.
6. Be Prepared
Accidents happen when you least expect them. Always keep a first aid kit near the project site to quickly take care of cuts, scrapes and other bumps and bruises you might run into on the job.
With these simple tips you’ll be living in your dream home before you know it! It may seem tempting to complete your project as fast as possible, but taking your time will ensure it gets done correctly the first time and in a safest environment possible.