With the plans drawn up and the papers signed, your renovation is ready to commence. But before you start removing plaster or knocking down walls, it’s not just the bricks and mortar you need to think about. Remodelling houses – particularly old houses – can come with risks, and they’re not just physical. Renovation health risks can pop up if the necessary precautions are not taken. Ranging from minor through to serious, and even life-threatening, these are very real risks that can be prevented.
Plan ahead and keep your family safe from the top five renovation health risks.
Renovation Health Risks
This is a fibrous material that was used as insulation prior to the 1980s when it was discovered that it contained materials that cause cancer. Take care if renovating a house built between 1950 – 1990 as this was the prime era of asbestos use, which can be found in the walls, pipes, ducts and floor coverings in houses from this time. If you suspect that your house may contain asbestos, do not attempt to remove it on your own. Contact a professional to undertake this process to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Another material that you can often find in older houses, lead is a resource that was common in the 19th century, often in paint products. People added lead to paint as they thought it would act as a protective coating. However, it was later found that, like asbestos, it carried adverse health side effects. Lead paint is at its most dangerous when cracked or peeling, as the damage can create a dust that carries the contaminated materials into the air. Much like asbestos, professionals should deal with lead paint, ensuring the removal of all traces.
You have seen the effect of moisture and heat on a loaf of bread; that same effect can happen inside your walls or under your carpets. Dampness over time can cause a permanent build up of mould, which multiplies as it feeds off the materials that it grows on, and reproduces by creating spores. These spores can create ongoing respiratory concerns when inhaled. If you find that your house has mould, do not simply cover over affected areas – tempting though it may be. Avoid the risk of long term health issues by addressing dampness at the root of the cause, and calling a professional to eradicate the mould before it spreads.
Even when it doesn’t carry harmful chemicals or materials, dust is a hazard. When knocking down walls or removing plaster, it’s safe to assume that there will be plenty of mess and dust as the materials crumble. To avoid the dust spreading, be sure to isolate the area of the renovation, and equip yourself with a mask and goggles when carrying out the work to prevent respiratory and eye irritation.
After surviving ripping up carpet with asbestos, stripping lead-laden paint, removing mould-infested walls and dust from demolitions, there is just one more major hazard to encounter: fumes. These can come from paint, surface adhesives like glue, and stains for timber. Avoid headaches and lightheadedness by donning a mask and keeping the room well ventilated at all times.
Stay safe when renovating and don’t cut corners. No cost savings is worth compromising your safety or that of your family.