What to Watch for in Home Renovations | Realtor Magazine
Home renovations can help boost the resale value of a property, but they also can expose homeowners to costly repairs or even make them physically sick, if they don’t take some precautions.
Help your renovating clients be on the lookout for some of these dangers that could surface in a home renovation:
Flooding and electrical issues.
Urge do-it-yourselfers to call 811 before they start digging. That is the service line that will inform them where underground utility lines are, such as for water, gas, or electrical lines. This is critical for to avoid, for example, a small water pipe during the renovation, which could lead to flooding. Also, if flooding in a home does ever occur and the water submerges appliances or electric tools, turn off the home’s power before wading through the water.
In a home renovation, always consider proper ventilation. “Most bathrooms have so little ventilation that they unintentionally become labs to grow mold and mildew,” says David Schneider, an interior designer in Chesterfield, Mo. Kitchen and bathroom remodels need fans that can exhaust all of that moisture-ridden air (many experts recommend one 100 cubic feet per minute fan per appliance).
Asbestos and lead.
If the home was built prior to 1978, some extra precautions will need to be taken if the home is at risk for lead or asbestos. “Inhaling or swallowing even small amounts of lead or asbestos is extremely dangerous,” says Dan Barr, property restoration expert with 1-800 Water Damage. “Any time you remove walls or ceilings or do major work on floors, you run the risk of encountering both.” Always wear a mask. Also, contact an indoor environmental expert to take samples before knocking down a wall, to be certain.
High-VOC materials exposure.
Wearing a face mask is smart to help avoid inhaling fumes when painting. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemical-emitting gases found in several renovation materials, including many paints, carpeting, or upholstering. Many VOCs are also known as carcinogens and can cause headaches and asthma. Low-VOC paint and carpeting are available. Also, keep windows and doors open to help ventilate the home.