Spring is the perfect time to tackle the home improvement project that has been on your mind all year. Whether it’s finally removing that outdated light fixture or painting those old cherry wood cabinets, an essential part of any project is taking the proper steps to come out of it unscathed. There’s a reason why the phrase “safety first” is so popular. It is the most important part of any activity that involves some risks. Follow these tips to ensure your safety during your next project!
Do Your Research
As much fun as it seems, taking on a big project is overwhelming. Before you get in over your head, make sure to do your research. One wrong move or loose screw could leave you in a pretty dangerous situation.
Whether the project is hanging up a picture frame or tearing down a wall, before you start hammering away, read up on how to take the safest approach. You definitely don’t want heavy wooden beams falling left and right. DIY websites and Youtube videos are helpful resources for learning how to complete home renovation projects by yourself. Use more than one source of expertise in your research to ensure you cover all your bases.
Once you know how to carry out your project, you should determine which tools and materials will guarantee the best outcome. Check out your local home improvement store and consult an employee. They can direct you to the best supplies and how to use them, especially if you’re a beginner. Operating a power tool is not the same as picking up a hammer. Familiarize yourself with the model you’ve chosen along with its instructions and safety features. Get the family in on the safety fun, too! Educate your kids about the tools and materials you plan to use to help them understand the risks involved.
Protecting your well-being for the long term is just as important as wearing long clothing to prevent any immediate cuts or scrapes. One way to keep yourself safe in the long run is to include healthy materials in your project. If you’re already working on revamping your home aesthetically, why not take the extra step and use eco-friendly materials to create a healthier home for you and your family. Materials like hardwood bamboo flooring prevent dust and toxins from building up in carpet, which can cause health issues down the line.
Beware of Toxins
Most homeowners who choose to renovate have outdated homes to modernize. Before you start tearing down walls, understand that there may be toxins living in the materials used to build your home years ago. Disturbing them could expose you to life-threatening diseases. It is crucial to approach this situation carefully and with the right resources.
Removing that popcorn ceiling you’ve hated for years? Proceed with caution as popcorn ceilings often contain asbestos. Disrupting asbestos-infested materials without a proper inspection could expose you and your family to the dangerous toxin, which can cause cancer such as mesothelioma. Because symptoms of mesothelioma do not show up for 10-50 years, it is especially important to take preventative measures. If you live in a home built before 1980, consider getting an abatement test to check for asbestos-containing materials before you start your renovation.
Another important toxin to look out for while renovating your home is lead. Lead is the most prevalent in dust from deteriorated paint in older homes built before 1978. Messing with decaying painted surfaces without the necessary safety measures may result in lead exposure and ultimately cause lead poisoning. Parents, especially, should be cautious as lead is extremely detrimental to children and their development. If you are concerned that your older home may contain lead-based paint, it’s best to hire a professional to check your chipping paint and have them test samples for lead.
If an inspector does find either of these toxins in your home, please refrain from handling the removal yourself. Leave it to a certified professional who can dispose of those toxins safely and without risks of exposure to you or your family.
Accidents happen, but there are precautionary measures you can take to prevent as many injuries as possible. It’s not uncommon for you and your family to continue living in the house that you are renovating, especially if you are taking on the project yourself. To protect all parties, it’s important to keep an organized work area and be aware of your surroundings. Debris and shrapnel can spread so keep your kids and pets away from the chaos. Simple tricks include taping or hanging tarps to block off the areas. Then at the end of each workday, unplug your power tools, clean up loose screws, and put materials away in a secure, out-of-reach location.
Another way to keep yourself out of harm’s way is to simply put your ego aside. Need to move heavy furniture? Enlist someone to help you instead of thinking you can do it all on your own. Better to be safe than sorry! The same goes for specialized renovations like electricity or gas repairs. Instead of trying to tackle those risky projects by yourself, consider hiring a professional to utilize their expertise. After all, the purpose of your renovation is not to look good in front of your peers.
Speaking of looking good, unfortunately, home improvement projects are not fashion shows. Practicality trumps style in this case. Wear closed-toes shoes, keep your body covered, and stock up on all the necessary equipment. For example, safety goggles block flying particles from injuring your eyes. Operating power tools? Noise-canceling headphones prevent serious damage to your eardrums. Wearing a dust mask while using a power saw isn’t a bad idea either. Protect your lungs! Even a nice pair of thick gloves can save you from a hospital visit. If there is any sort of emergency, always have a first aid kit handy or a phone nearby to call for help.
This safety checklist is just as important as the shopping list for your materials. Checking off each of those safety measures will not only make you a DIY expert in no time, but will also allow you to enjoy your renovation without a scratch on you. As excited as you may be to transform your home, completing those necessary steps before you begin will leave you feeling safe and stress-free.