In 2019, about 16% of people buying their first homes sought houses in urban areas. But no matter if you purchase a home in the country or the city, you’ll probably renovate at some point. When you renovate, you’ll need to consider the safety of all occupants. Here are some tips for staying safe during a home renovation.
Begin with DIY Basics
Before you start your renovation, think of safety first. In this country, there are 472,560 primary care doctors seeing patients on a consistent basis. But no one wants to visit the doctor with an injury that could have been avoided. Consider the following safety reminders:
- Be sure that you have the proper pieces of equipment and that all pieces are functioning properly.
- Get all required permits.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Opt for head-to-toe covering when necessary, avoid open-toed shoes, and wear socks, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, a hardhat, and gloves.
- Protect your hearing with earplugs if you’re running noisy machinery.
- Protect your eyes with safety goggles or glasses when drilling, sawing, or spraying chemicals.
- Be careful using the ladder. The bottom of the ladder should be placed one foot away from the structure it leans on, for every four feet of the ladder. This will result in an incline of about 75%. Don’t climb above the third step from the top and have a spotter every time you ascend the ladder.
- Know your city’s safety codes and follow them.
Discuss Safety for Children and Pets
If you’re working with a contractor, talk to them about safety at the beginning of the renovation and throughout. You should work together to create a zone where no one except you, the contractor, and the workers are allowed to enter. Most importantly, children and pets should be kept strictly away from this designated area, as they can be hurt by equipment, toxic materials, and other hazards. New traffic patterns for family members should be designed before the work begins so that everyday household activity is kept away from the work zone.
Know How to Prevent Injuries
You can get seriously injured while working on home renovations. A simple renovation can quickly transform into a stay at the hospital, which costs an average of about $10,700 in the United States. Prevent injuries and costly hospital bills by considering the following recommendations:
- Keep your work area clean. Secure supplies and tools when you’re done with them so that no one will trip over them. If there are children in the house, lock up tools carefully so that kids can’t get to them.
- Care for your tools. Electrical tools with frayed wires, unsteady ladders, and hammerheads that come loose can cause serious harm. Replace worn-out tools and handle the ones in good condition properly so that they’ll last.
- Don’t rush. When you’re using tools, take it slow, use safety guards, and know where to place your hands.
- Don’t work by yourself. Join forces with a spouse or friend so that there will always be someone else to spot a potential safety hazard or take care of an injury. Better yet, enlist the help of a professional to avoid the risk of injury altogether.
- Educate yourself. Read manufacturers’ instructions carefully and follow them to the letter.
- Prepare for the worst. Stock your first aid kit and keep it close by. You should also keep your phone on-hand in case a more serious injury should occur.
Protect Air Quality
Children and adults with allergies and asthma are particularly vulnerable to the dust and particulates that any sizable renovation releases into the air. But really, no family member should live in a home with poor air quality.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts or vents around the work area should be sealed. Using plastic sheets and disposable drop cloths, and vacuuming at least twice daily with a HEP-filtered vacuum, can protect the home’s occupants from contaminants in the air they breathe. These measures are of utmost importance if dangerous materials such as lead paint or asbestos will be let loose into the air.
Consider Booking a Hotel
If you’re undertaking a renovation that is very involved and likely to disrupt your entire household, it may be wise to move the family into a hotel for a few nights — especially while paint is drying. If you don’t want to book a hotel, get children and other family members outside when sanding, varnishing, or painting is being performed. This can ensure they won’t be exposed too long to potentially harmful fumes or debris.
Follow Flooring Installation Guidelines
Laminate flooring typically requires two to four days to adjust to the climate of your house before you can install it. In addition to knowing the technical requirements of each type of flooring, you’ll also need to be well aware of the safety precautions involved.
Cut the flooring outside, with a fan directing the dust away from the house. Wear a mask while cutting and be certain that the power cords on your equipment are intact. Your saw blades should be sharp and your saw should have shields to protect you from injury. Wear earplugs to protect your hearing and wear knee pads when you’re kneeling on hard floors. Wear eyeglasses or goggles at all times. It’s a good idea to wear gloves so that you don’t get splinters, too.
Design Safe Staircases
Over 1 million people in the U.S. are injured on stairs every year. If you’re renovating a staircase, safety is of particular concern. Make sure to install adequate lighting along the staircase and place light switches in easy-to-reach points at the bottom and the top of the staircase. Put treads of varying colors at the edges of steps so that each individual step is easy to see. Use non-slip materials to avoid dangerous falls. Install a sturdy, easy-to-grasp railing.
Clean Up With Safety in Mind
Some amount of cleaning up is usually required after a renovation is completed. Be sure the dust and particulates have been vacuumed, air vents are cleared, walls and moldings are wiped down, tools are secured, and air filters have been changed. This will ensure your remodeling project will end on the right note and you’ll be able to start enjoying the results right away.
No aspect of a home renovation is more important than safety. You can take steps before and after to ensure the well-being of your family. With these tips in mind, any DIY project or major remodel can be completed safely.