Thanks to home renovation shows and information available online, finding inspiration and tutorials for all your renovation needs is easier than ever. However, when you try these on your own, it’s important to be careful about the unexpected dangers of DIY that could affect your safety and health. Taking into account these safety tips can help you to avoid harm while reducing costs and giving your home the lift it needs.
Was your apartment or house built before 1978? If it was, inside and outside, there may be lead-based paint. If lead paint chips or dust is inhaled, the toxic metal in this paint can cause serious health problems. It wasn’t until 1978 that federal regulations restricted the use of lead in household paint. Lead is poisonous to everyone, but has a more significant impact on young children and pregnant women. As children are still growing, their bodies absorb substances more easily than adult bodies do. This toxin can have a lasting result on a child’s brain and nervous system. Lead is also extremely dangerous for unborn babies. It can be transferred through the mother’s blood vessels in the umbilical cord to the fetus, causing premature birth, lower birth weight, as well as brain and nerve damage. If you suspect your walls may be painted with lead paint, have it tested by a professional before removing or sanding it. In addition to professional services, home kits for testing for lead paint are available.
When it comes to DIY renovating, different project types will require necessary protective gear to stay safe. Protective gear like masks and eyewear will shield you from disturbed airborne particles due to sanding, plastering, or prolonged exposure to paint fumes. Throughout the renovation process, you will be working with a variety of construction materials. To avoid skin irritation, splinters, or cuts, find a pair of safety gloves that are protective and fit well. If your project requires the use of power tools like a drill or circular saw, wear earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to protect your hearing. Make sure the room you are working in is properly ventilated, and assess your attire for any possible loose strings or fabric that could get caught or tangled while working. Taking these additional precautions is a small and easy way to protect yourself.
Protect Furniture and Valuables
Home renovations have potential for creating a mess or leaving a stain and it’s always a good idea to invest in tarps and plastic coverings. Apply tarps or plastic covering to furniture, flooring, carpets, and other surfaces to ensure your project stays contained and kept neat. Cover your countertops and corners with cardboards to protect their finish. Proper coverage is extremely important for safeguarding irreplaceable valuables like family heirlooms, and by covering eating utensils and kitchen appliances, you are protecting your health. This may sound like a tedious task before jumping in to your DIY, however in the long run, this step will protect your belongings and save you the steps of moving your furniture.
Identifying and Handling Asbestos
Before beginning your home renovation project, it’s crucial to test your home for asbestos. (Asbestos & other chemicals are real, unexpected dangers of DIY!) Asbestos can be found in a variety of different building materials in homes built prior to 1980, including insulation and popcorn ceilings. If asbestos is disturbed, inhaled asbestos fibers can cause inflammation and tumors to develop in the lungs. Over time, the damage inflicted by these fibers may lead to a serious form of cancer known as pleural mesothelioma. Testing for asbestos should be done by a licensed professional and immediately before the start of renovation. If asbestos is found on the site of your project, halt the progress of your work and have the material removed and disposed of by a asbestos abatement professional.
Using Power Tools
Power tools are often used for renovations due to their simplicity and efficiency. Although these tools may make a project easier, there are additional precautions to be aware of. Before use, make sure the safety guard is on and be aware of the tools proximity to your body. After you are finished with the tool, be sure to turn it off, put back on the safety guard, and unplug it. When a power tool is not being used, it should be kept out of reach of small children and animals at all times.
Despite these protective measures, accidents occur. Before starting any DIY project, make sure you have a first aid kit at ready for any small scrapes or cuts. If a serious injury was to occur, the first thing to do is remain calm. Seek care from a medical professional as soon as possible. In case of electrical or chemical fires, keep an up to date fire extinguisher at your workstation. If you do not know how to complete a project or have a question to ask, never be afraid to seek professional help. Above all, be well rested, cautious, and alert when tackling your home renovation project.
This is not an exhaustive list of unexpected dangers of DIY. Consult a professional before any new (however large or small) project.
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