By Ryan Kinney
Sweep and Vacuum
The easiest way to avoid damage is to sweep and vacuum often. The majority of the damage particularly to flooring or surfaces comes from dust and debris being ground into or dragged across flooring or countertops. Best practice is at a minimum to sweep and vacuum daily throughout a project. Even more often is better, especially for jobs with large amounts of demo. A couple of great pieces for these tasks are a soft bristle broom, a quality large dustpan, and a powerful extra “sucky” vacuum.
Work Outside Or In the Garage
If there is trim to be cut, cut it in the garage. Do you need to frame a wall? Cut the studs outside. It seems simple but this will cut down on the dust left on the interior. The less dust and debris in your project from the beginning will help reduce the protections needed for the project. Now if that seems like a lot of trips in and out of the house then see or section on Dust Collection below.
Maybe the most prolific form of home protection is the giant sheets of plastic to seal off a section of the house. Here at The Building Company we like to use no lighter than 4 mil thick plastic, 6 mil is better for longer jobs. If you combine this with a Zip Wall door it can be a very effective way to close off the space from dust and debris. If you combine these with the ZipWall ZipPole it becomes a complete quick up, quick down system.
Ram Board/Floor Covering
There are many types of protective floor coverings. A common type of covering that is used is Contractor’s Paper or Builder’s Paper, a lightweight paper used especially to protect floor from light traffic such as paint in a room where the flooring is not being redone. Generally, here at The Building Company we generally opt for X-Board. X-Board is a quality medium traffic protective floor covering. In some locations such as stairs or high traffic hallways it is better to go to a heavy duty product like Ram Board. Ram Board has some accessories such as stair guards and seam tape. Best practice is to suit the product to fit the traffic.
Dust collection is the advanced form of vacuuming. In fact it’s almost like pre vacuuming. Most saws, sanders and cutting tools have dust collection ports on them these days. Some excellent dust extractors would be Makita’s 11 Gallon Model and Bosch’s 9 Gallon Model. The benefit of utilizing dust extraction is that you hardly generate extra dust from cuts at all. The newer systems do a great job of getting most of the dust and debris leaving very little clean up. They also help cut down airborne dust. This becomes the best of both worlds. It allows a contractor to utilize their time more efficiently because they are not going in and out of the room. It also allows them to utilize less time cleaning up.
Air scrubbers are HEPA filtration systems that significantly reduce the air particle count. Particularly in high dust situations such as lath and plaster removal or heavy sanding, these are a lung saver. Anyone who has worked in a high dust environment knows how brutally long those days feel when you can hardly breathe. Implementing a few of these scrubbers will quickly knock down the amount of dust and help protect your house from the scratches.