Older buildings are more difficult to renovate than newer ones for a variety of reasons. The building may no longer be structurally sound in some areas (hence the remodeling and re-strengthening) and older structures were often built using materials with hazardous chemicals such as lead and asbestos.
Despite the danger, making alterations or remodeling older structures can be done safely and securely provided proper safety measures are followed. Here are some other tips that would help make restoring an old building less hazardous:
Check for asbestos and lead in the materials used in the home or building – More often than not, homes and buildings built before the 1980s have asbestos in the materials used, as well as Lead-based paint. These chemicals can be hazardous to one’s health and removing them is even more dangerous than just living in a house packed with the stuff.
Before doing any work on old buildings, make sure to get samples of the paint, floor tiles and other areas where lead and asbestos may be found and have them sent to a laboratory for testing.
Check for the presence of mold or water damage – Mold and moisture can wreak havoc to a structure. Spores from molds are also dangerous to the health of the people working on the structure. Unfortunately, most of the affected parts of the home or building are only found during the renovation itself. If there are signs of water damage or molds, the best thing to do would be to find the source of the moisture and cut off the water supply to prevent it from spreading any further.
Always wear safety gear – Many people ignore safety regulations because they don’t feel comfortable wearing long sleeved shirts, goggles, hard hats, or face masks. These regulations were put in place for a reason and ignoring them can have dire consequences – especially when working on older structures which may be unstable or are filled with harmful chemicals.
It is also advisable to make sure that the tools one is using is up to standard. This way, accidents due to faulty equipment can be avoided. These tools are available at most reputable hardware stores and online through websites such as Tradefix Direct.
Use “safe” building materials – Just because the building material is asbestos and lead-free, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. There are still a lot of harmful chemicals that can affect one’s health when inhaled or when they accidentally come in contact with exposed skin. Luckily, there are building materials that are considered safe like paint that doesn’t have a lingering scent or boards that can be used as an alternative to plywood and other common building materials. They may be more expensive, but they are definitely worth it.
Hire a professional if needed – Removing materials containing lead, asbestos, and mold is a dangerous task. If the person working on the remodeling project does not have any experience in removing these things, it is better to just hire a professional to do it. These people have the necessary equipment to safely remove these materials, making the renovation process a lot safer and easier.
Written by Arthur Wilson, a freelance blogger and content writer.