How Professionals Control Construction Dust During A Remodel

Home Remodeling Construction Dust Abatement

Eliminating Construction Dust When Remodeling

Construction dust. It's the highest priority cleanliness and health issue facing both homeowners and contractors during a home remodeling project. Dust is everywhere, all the time, however when it comes to construction dust, it's particularly abundant and even potentially hazardous. All sorts of nasty stuff get released when you're demolishing walls, taking apart cabinets, removing floor and tile. Not to mention potential waste from bugs, mice, spiders, silica from drywall, potentially even lead if you live in an older house.

Professional contractors have ways of mitigating dust during the demolition and construction process. If you're doing a significant project and will be staying elsewhere during construction, it's less of a health hazard than if you'll be staying in your home. However, without mitigation, dust can travel throughout your home, meaning you'll be cleaning it up for weeks or months after the contractor's truck pulls away.

An excellent professional contractor will have several strategies and tools for keeping dust under control throughout the process. While it's virtually impossible to COMPLETELY keep all of it out, here at Toulmin Cabinetry and Design, we do everything we can to keep that fine dust from going all over a client's home. 

Let's look at some of the tools and processes we use. But first, let's explore some of the questions you should ask a contractor about their construction dust process before you sign a contract.

Having the Construction Dust Talk With your Contractor

When it comes to home remodeling, from a contractors standpoint, making the construction process as easy, safe and healthy for their clients is a top concern. In fact, livability during the construction process is as important as the final result when it comes down to it. Every contractor is concerned about their reputation and should have the tools, strategies, and processes in place to make your project as painless as possible.

Here are some things to think about, and questions to ask contractors about their process when taking bids for your project.

BuildClean Construction Dust Abatement

Ask About The Tools They Use 

High-quality tools can help control dust. Several manufacturers produce power tools with built-in dust mitigation systems. For example a saw, or sander that collects dust as it's cutting or sanding. These tools can remove as much as 90-percent of dust when it's generated. Professional-grade dust removing tools are costly, and not all contractors will use them.

As a general rule, any type of heavy dust generating process, for example using a table saw, tile saw, etc. should take place outside the home whenever possible.

However, power tools are only used on about 10 – 20 percent of demolition so your contractor will have to go beyond these types of tools. 

Do Your Contractors Set-Up Dust Barriers?

At the bare minimum, a contractor should put up plastic sheeting over entry points in a room under construction. These are called zip walls and are designed to keep dust within a space. They use a zippered entry. The problem is that entering or leaving through these barriers can allow dust to escape. 

Make sure your contractor has a zip wall system. Many will combine power tools with dust extractors, dust barriers, and air scrubbers in combination to control construction dust. Talk to your contractor about how debris will leave the room. For example, if demolishing a kitchen, how will the cabinets and countertops leave? Is there an entry to the outdoors or will it need to be removed through the front door? Make sure their team stays within the room that is being worked on, to help minimize dust.

Outside the area being worked on, they should place sticky mats to pull the dust off of shoes. Make sure HVAC vents are covered and if there is a return vent in the room, make sure to take that into account. 

Some contractors may use a fan blowing air out of the room through a window to create negative air pressure that will keep dust in the room being worked on when a zip wall is opened — your local building codes to determine if this practice is allowed.

Do They Use Air Scrubbers?

You can't eliminate construction dust. However, you can capture it when it becomes airborne before it enters the home. That's what air scrubbers do. They're small portable machines that draw in the dusty air, filter it, and exhausts clean air usually vented through a window.

The Build Clean system is an affordable option that contractors can purchase. It's a superior system that has 6X more filter area than its competitors and has 360-degree dust catching capability. The system requires fewer filter changes, and the machine is designed to increase the fan's RPMs as the filter gets loaded, so there is no slowdown. The machine also alerts you when it's time for a filter change.

Other Considerations...

While dust control is a function of the contractor, there are other considerations to ask about when you're gathering information. If you have carpeting or hardwood flooring that is staying in place, make sure your contractor has a plan for protecting your floors. The days of red rosin paper are behind us. There have been significant advances in floor protection in the past few years. Ask your contractor their procedure for floor protection.

Make sure to protect your home in non-work areas. Remove any fragile personal possessions, take down artwork, and cover furniture with plastic sheeting for added protection. Seal return ducts to prevent dust from entering your HVAC system and spreading throughout your home. This is also a good precaution to keep your furnace filter from clogging.

A professionally qualified contractor will understand that the client's living experience during construction is a major contributing factor to an overall positive customer experience during a remodeling project. They should have the strategies and tools to keep the dirt and dust to a minimum, protect your home during construction, and keep your family comfortable, and safe throughout the process. Have a conversation with any contenders during the bid gathering process to make sure they do!

Here at Toulmin Cabinetry and Design, our entire process is focused on the client. From working with them throughout the design process to keeping the job site clean, as dust free as possible, and safe, we understand that providing the highest-quality craftsmanship is only half of the job. We understand that a successful project is one that also disrupts your lifestyle the least. We work hard to meet our client's needs and turn our clients into friends. Give us a call for your next Tuscaloosa or Birmingham, Alabama home improvement project.

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