13 Best Practices For Controlling Remodeling Dust
As a remodeling contractor I learned early on that learning how to control remodeling dust and keeping out of the non-remodeled portion of your clients home is often more important than the quality of your work.
There is nothing worse than having your client tell you they want you to pay for a professional to remove the plaster dust from inside their baby grand piano.
Over the years I have developed strategies and researched the BEST methods to control remodeling dust. If you believe that any of the materials being worked on during this renovation contain lead paint you need to consult and follow the EPA Renovation, Repair and Paint guidelines as well as your local and state guidelines. Here is my best practice list on how to control remodeling dust.
How to Control Remodeling Dust
1. Communicate The Process To The Homeowner
Even with a hermetically sealed room you’ll get some dust. Take the time to educate homeowners about each step you take to control dust. They need to participate in these steps as well in order to ensure their success. Explain that there will be some dust. By communicating this you are setting expectations. I like to tell clients to expect some dust and then try to follow the old adage of “promising less and delivering more” by keeping that amount unnoticeable.
2. Isolate the Work Area
Close doors and seal the ones your not using with blue tape. I use the Zipwall Barrier System and poly plastic sheeting to create temporary wall and cordon off areas.
Watch a video on the Zipwall dual seal barrier system.
The ZipWall system has spring loaded, expanding poles that allow you install the plastic sheeting tight to the floor and the ceiling. Coupled with special foam rails you can crate a fairly tight dust barrier, corridor or room as needed.
I designate one doorway into the house and install a ZipDoor Kit in that entry way to separate the remodeling area from the rest of the home. I try to choose an entry way that also has a door to close to create a double barrier.
The beauty of the ZipDoor kit is it takes me only a few minutes to install and is ideal for jobs where I need to create a dust barrier and sealed access doorway . One person can install it in under a minute and subsequently reduces labor cost and if you use care when removing it, you can use it again.
The key here is to isolate the work area from the rest of the house and to minimize the migration of remodeling dust. If possible completely eliminate access from inside the house to the renovations area. That means provide outdoor or alternative access to rest rooms, outside basement access to utilities, etc.
Work to establish a negative air pressure environment with outdoor air circulation. Try to keep the windows and doors inside the non- remodeled home closed.
3. Install Sticky Mats
Install sticky mats outside all entry ways to the works site. Sticky mats feature a tacky surface which pulls dirt and debris off shoe soles before they can contaminate the “clean house”.
If workers must enter the non-remodeled section of the house install runners protecting the floor. We use rosin paper and tape or specially purchased floor protection runners to line the path traveled.
4. Seal All Heating and Cooling Vents
This is a simple step that is often over looked by contractors. Duct work is a highway for airborne dust particle and can carry them from the renovation rooms and distribute them into other rooms. Take the time to seal off all ducts with plastic, cardboard and tape. Don’t forget to change the HVAC filter before and after the construction.
Look for ways that air can travel in and out of the work area and seal them off. Learn how to keep construction dust out of HVAC vents.
5. Remove or Cover Homeowners Property
When possible remove property from the rooms being renovated. When not possible completely cover with plastic and seal the plastic to the floor with tape.
6. Protect Floors and Walls
I suggest installing resin paper on the floor and then covering the floors with Homosote or 1/4 Luan plywood with the seams taped. Recently we have started using a product called Builder board. Builder Board replaces the need to install Masonite. It comes in a large roll and is easily taped to the floor.
I tape both edges, then overlap the next sheet by 3-4 inches, and tape both edges again, continuing until the floor is covered. This paper is durable, liquid, and paint and is 100% recyclable. There are also floor protection products on the market that look like a plastic wrap but are durable and stick to the carpet or hardwood floor. There are other options as well such as roll-on products that stick to hardwood flooring or carpet.
7. Capture Airborne Dust
Set up and use a BuildClean HEPA air scrubber during the construction process. This is one of the most effective ways to remove airborne dust before it settles or finds its way into other areas of the home.
We use a BuildClean air-scrubber. The BuildClean Dust Control System provides continuous and highly effective air filtration and captures many types of dust generated during remodeling projects, including cement, insulation, silica, lead, wood, and drywall dust.
The BuildClean system can allow contractors to virtually eliminate airborne dust that results from demolition, sanding, and other standard remodeling tasks. It removes up to 90 percent of the airborne dust generated in the remodeling process, which minimizes the migration of dust and preserves home livability even in the most challenging remodeling projects.
8. Capture Dust At Its Source
Capturing dust at its source is means using a HEPA vacuum to collect the dust as your making it. Several major tool companies now make dust collection attachments to connect to SDS rotary hammers, saws, grinders, and drills.
Utilize HEPA vacuums and collect dust at its source of a generation with vacuum-equipped tools. If you do not have a tool that accepts a vacuum hose, like a sawmill, have a helper hold the vacuum nozzle near the blade during dust-producing applications. Misting both before and during the cutting of concrete is also helpful in reducing airborne dust.
There are three major reasons to use a BuildClean unit, they are:
- Minimizes dust migration
- Provides a healthier and cleaner environment
- Lowers cleaning costs
9. Vacuum Don’t Sweep
Sweeping only pushes the dust around and creates airborne dust. A HEPA vacuum not only picks up the dust but also the fine particulate dust often left behind by brooms. Utilize high filtration multi-layer vacuum bags.
10. Cut Materials Outside
Set up saws, sanders, and any dust-producing applications outdoors.
11. Clean As You Go
We clean all messes as they are created. If you leave the mess and walk through it you’re only kicking it around and grinding it into the floor protecting material. Reducing messes as they occur keeps dirt and dust out of your shoe soles and from finding their way into the house.
Clean the entire job-site daily including vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum.
12. Utilize a Debris Chute
Avoid carrying materials through the non- remodeled house. Try to remove debris out windows and down chutes to the dumpster.
13. Don’t Dry Mop or Dust:
Dry dusting only pushes the dust around and allows it to become airborne. Use a damp rag or a special microfiber dusting rag to collect dust off flat surfaces, trim, sills, and furniture.