One of the fastest ways drive yourself or spouse crazy during a remodel is for dust to find its way into all the corners of your home. Keeping dust contained is an important, yet often overlooked, part of any remodel, and you need to be prepared before you even begin your project. Here, I'm going to outline 10 steps you can take to make sure you keep dust under control.
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Disclaimer: This project is sponsored by Trimaco, LLC. All views and opinions expressed herein are my own.
Step 1: Budget for Dust Containment
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised how many people forget to include dust containment as part of their budget. It's not terribly expensive, and likely won't cost more than a couple hundred dollars, even on larger projects. If you fail to account for this, however, it could end up costing you just as much, if not more, at the end in both time and money to clean it all up.
Step 2: Utilize Plastic
Before getting started on any demo work, make sure the area is sealed off from the rest of the home. A fun way to think of it is to imagine you're part of the CDC, and you must protect your home from anything inside the enclosed area.
For this, plastic is going to be your best friend. Use something relatively sturdy. I recommend anything from a 4mm to 6mm thick plastic to serve as protective barriers. I suggest stapling the edges to keep it held tight, then you can seal it off with duct tape or painter's tape. Keep a close eye on your plastic barriers. If there are any tears or cuts, no matter how small, seal it up immediately. You don't want any "outbreaks!"
Step 3: Strategize Your Demolition
If you are going to be doing any demolition during the remodel, such as taking out any walls or floors, be sure to start in the areas on the outskirts of the house first, then work your way inward toward the separating wall. The longer you can keep a permanent barrier between rooms, the better.
Once you are ready to take out that final wall, build a temporary plastic wall using some of the thick plastic discussed earlier. You can also use dust containment poles to help prop it up. Do NOT take this down until your project is complete. This is now your main protection from letting dust into the rest of the home.
Step 4: Utilize Your Windows
If you're lucky enough to have a window in the room you are remodeling, be sure to use it as much as you can. It can be used to remove demo materials, or, if it's large enough, move in and out of the building yourself. You can also create a positive pressure room by installing a box fan in the open window to help the air continue to circulate.
Cardboard and a little tape will work just fine for this. Crack another window open, and the fan will keep a good air flow throughout. Again, make sure the room is sealed up tight, as there's likely to be a breeze, and remove any screens on your window, or else they might become caked in dust.
Step 5: Cover Heat & A/C Vents
One of the fastest ways for dust to circulate through your house is through air ducts and registers. Not to mention it will also wreck your air filters. Close off any of these passages that you can and then seal them with plastic and tape.
Even with the area sealed off, I still recommend you change out your air filter once the project is completed. It's something you should do every few months anyway, so after a remodel is as good a time as any to replace it.
Step 6: Create Single Entry/Exit Points
There is no faster way for dust to get around your house unnoticed than for you and your crew to be moving through a bunch of different entryways. Limit access to one doorway and seal off all other doors. Again, use windows as the primary way of removing materials if you can, and just try to keep movement throughout the house limited.
At your access point, install a solid dust containment door kit with a zipper. Keep it closed as much as you can. Even leaving it open for a little while can allow plenty of dust to slip through.
Step 7: Protect Your Floors
Taking the time to protect and cover your floors both inside and outside your project area will save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run. You want to create singular pathways to and from your project area and the bathroom you plan to use.
For wood or tiled floors, I recommend something like X-Board from Trimaco. It's a simple way to roll out a pathway, and can be held down with tape. With carpet, it's sometimes hard to tell exactly how much dust can get into it, so utilize some protective carpet film and press down. If you have kids or pets, you don't want them getting sick from dust that sneaked its way into the carpet.
Step 8: Keep Your Boots On
This may seem counter intuitive, but I recommend you keep your boots on. Taking them on and off will quickly become a hassle, so it's simpler to get protection for them.
Grab some shoe guards and use them constantly. They will keep dust from sticking to your shoes, and can be easily disposed of after work is done for the day. If you really want to invest in this, I'd recommend trying out the E-Z Floor Guard system from Trimaco. This thing contains a sticky protective plastic for the bottom of your shoes. Just step in, pull back, and tear it off. It's a fast way to get right back to work, and does a great job preventing dust from being tracked anywhere you don't want it.
Step 9: Cut Material Outside
Many people think that dust containment stops with the demo portion, so they will take down all their protective measures. Unfortunately, few things generate more dust than cutting and sanding drywall. It's a large reason why working with drywall isn't one of my favorite things.
In recommend doing as much of the cutting outside for drywall and then bringing the pieces in afterwards. Keep your protective barriers up until everything is complete.
Step 10: Keep a Shop Vac Handy
As I said in the last step, sanding drywall can be an annoying generator of dust. Most pros don't have too much trouble with this, but if you're an amateur like me, I'd recommend get a drywall sanding attachment for your shop vac.
Keep that shop vac handy throughout the project, and do your best to clean up dust as you go. The more you keep dust levels low during the project, the less cleanup you'll have at the end. I recommend, at the very least, sucking up the work area dust at the end of each work day.
And, of course, if you're going to be generating a lot of dust, you should always have protective masks and/or respirators on anytime you're in the work area.
Step 11: And That's It!
And those are my 10 suggestions for keeping dust down during a remodel. Dust can be a real problem if you don't keep it contained, so doing everything you can to stay on top of it will give you a lot of peace of mind.
Hopefully you found them helpful for your projects, and check out the video for more details and examples. If you want to see some more suggestions I have for some of your projects, check out the links below.
And of course, I hope you check out my site to see more projects, suggestions, and fun ideas. Thanks for reading, I hope you learned something, and I'll see you next time!