How to Handle Dust During a Remodel

Project planning
May 05, 2018

If you’ve decided to start a home renovation project, you have an important task ahead of you: construction dust control.

With the right strategies, you can learn how to remove construction dust from your home and make the renovation process that much cleaner—before your contractor begins breaking ground.

Clear the Workspace

Instead of learning how to clean construction dust from your favorite furniture after the fact, clear the workspace beforehand and keep your big furniture pieces out of the way from the get-go.

Take a proactive approach to construction dust control by following these steps:

  • Remove Sentimental Items from the Area: Anything left in or around the workspace may be prone to damage, so make sure special frames, photos, books, and anything else with sentimental value is packed away.

  • Remove Furniture: If your furniture is light enough to move, consider placing it in a different room or garage—away from the work zone. This will aid in construction dust control, and leave your contractor and his or her team with a more open, unobstructed work area.

  • Cover Remaining Furniture: If your furniture is too heavy to move, cover it with heavy plastic. Hard surfaces are somewhat simple to clean, but construction dust that becomes deeply embedded within fabric material is another story; heavy-duty plastic covering will help prevent construction debris from dirtying your favorite couch.

Flooring protection

  • Protect the Floors: Carpet is especially vulnerable to dust during remodels, as tiny particles can easily get stuck within soft fabric. Wood flooring is also at risk of damage during a construction project, so it’s important to invest in floor protection during your renovation, including:
    • Plastic covering
    • Sticky mats
    • Corrugated plastic

Try to get these tasks done before the first day of your renovation—your contractor will likely be grateful that you’re so prepared, and you’ll be ready to kick off your project immediately.

How to Contain Dust During Your Remodel

Containment is the name of the game when it comes to construction dust control. Once your project begins, use these tricks to avoid spreading fine dirt particles throughout your family’s living space:

  • Choose a Single Entry/Exit Point: Pick one entry/exit point in the construction zone and tape a protective path of tarps or plastic to and from it to prevent workers from tracking dust. Simply shake out the tarps at the end of every day and store them to be reused later.

  • Ask Your Carpenter to Work Outside: Not all home renovation projects create a flurry of dust, but any home improvement that involves carpentry work will probably lead to a dusty mess. If your home remodel requires any type of woodwork, ask your carpenter to complete his or her work outdoors.

Daily Cleanup

You’ll find that removing construction dust from your house requires a thorough cleanup schedule. Use the following tips to keep dust to a minimum during your remodel:

  • Ask About Your Contractor’s Site Cleanup Habits: Before you accept a bid from a contractor, ask him or her about their crew’s plans to clean the site daily. Also ask your contractor if they’ll include an air scrubber—a portable construction air purifier which filters dust, particles, and contaminants from the surrounding environment.

  • Do Some of Your Own Cleaning: Do your own cleaning at night after the crew has gone. Debris may still track throughout the house despite your best attempts at construction dust control, so be sure to keep a watchful eye and clean up any dirt or debris that snuck in during the day.

  • Hire a Professional Cleaner: While you and your contractor will likely do your best to keep dust at bay, sometimes construction dust requires the help of a cleaning professional. Consider hiring a cleaning service to come in at the end of your project; these professionals can thoroughly clean your newly remodeled home and remove any hints of remaining dust.

Ventilate during your remodel

Ventilation Concerns During Your Remodel

As you consider how to clean construction dust, keep ventilation in mind. While your contractor may only be renovating one room in the house, fine dust particles can circulate and flow throughout your home. Use these ventilation tips to help clear your living space of dust:

  • Open Your Windows: If the weather and project permits, open up windows to increase natural ventilation and air out the workspace. Remove screens to prevent any dust particles from getting trapped inside.

  • Tape Up Vents: Tape up vents so that dust doesn’t make it into your home’s ventilation system. In the event that dust does get into your ductwork, be sure to enlist the help of a construction air purifier to prevent risk of respiratory issues.

  • Depressurize Your Home: The EPA suggests using an exhaust fan during the renovation and for 72 hours after the project is completed; this will help to remove dust from the area and create a pressure barrier to help prevent dust or pollutants from spreading to other parts of your home.

Keeping Your Family Safe from Airborne Dust

When ventilation isn’t enough to handle the construction dust from your remodel, use some preventive strategies to keep your family safe. Plan outdoor activities in the backyard or park to get away from construction for a bit—especially if you or your children are sensitive to dust. During the remodel, do your best to keep kids out of work areas and don’t forget your furry friends—send Fido and Fluffy to doggy daycare or to a friend’s house.

A bit of mess is unavoidable during home improvement projects, but learning how to handle dust during a home remodel will help ease the stress of your upcoming renovation.