Last edited 23 Apr 2021

How to keep dust under control during a home renovation


[edit] Introduction

Dust is one of the prime ‘stress amplifiers’ during home renovation projects. It can travel to the farthest corners of the home, entering furniture, flooring, wardrobes, and electronic equipment.

Not only is the renovation dust bad for your health, it can spread through an entire house creating a mess that takes much more time to clean than it would to contain the work area.

This can be prevented by dust management techniques.


[edit] Fit dust containment into your budget

While it doesn’t cost much, be ready to spend $100-200 depending on the size of your project. While it’s an added cost, having your home clean once the dust settles is invaluable. You would certainly spend more than that sum for cleaning products and house cleaners at the end of the project.

[edit] The use of plastic

Before you start with demolition, it’s essential to contain the project in its own bubble as much as possible. Separate any areas you’re not working with plastic sheets, stapling them up and reinforcing the edges with tape. Depending if you’re keeping a wall or not, you may use duct tape or more wall-friendly painter’s tape. You should use at least 0.4 mm to 0.6 mm plastic, which is flexible enough to be manageable, and yet strong enough to withstand throughout the whole project. As your project progresses, make sure to check if your enclosure remains dust proof.

Protecting your floors both inside and outside the work area saves many stressful hours trying to remove the dust. Create a single entry and exit pathways to and from the project site, with a detour to the restroom, and make sure the workers are using those pathways only. When it comes to flooring types, carpets are notorious for sucking up the fine demolition dust. Even if you’ve separated the non-project areas with plastic sheets, go an extra mile and protect the carpet with a cling wrap, or simply fold it up and relocate it.


[edit] Consider moving out

If you’re planning to renovate your entire home, you may need to relocate for a few months. Even if you’re just remodelling one floor, you will need to store the furniture, appliances and other belongings somewhere else. You can hire a moving company or you can rent out a truck and relocate things yourself.

[edit] Do the demolition in stages

If the remodelling project requires a lot of demolition, first tackle the areas away from the rest of the house, and then move towards the separating wall. The key is to keep the barrier between the rooms intact as longer as possible. Before the last wall goes down, erect a temporary plastic wall using a simple wooden frame and some thick sheet plastic. This wall will be your main barrier protecting the rest of the house until the work is done.


[edit] Cut and sand outside

Unfortunately, home renovation dust doesn’t stop after the demolition stage. Not many things generate more dust than cutting and sanding drywall boards. While fitting drywall may be one of the last stages in a home remodelling, it’s easy to overlook how much dust it can create. If possible, do as much of the drywall cutting and sanding outside and only bring in the finished pieces.

[edit] Plan for single entry and exit point

Even if you separate the work from non-work areas, the project crew must enter and exit the area somehow. Limit this foot traffic to one doorway only and lock and seal all the remaining access points. Remove the door from its hinges and install a dust containment door kit with a zipper, which should be closed at all times except when the crew is entering or leaving the area.

While no solution is 100% dust-proof, combined they can keep the bulk of the dust in the project area, making the final clean-up much more manageable.

See also: Construction dust.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

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