How do I keep my house clean during a reno?

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If you have a clean site you have a safe site, so keeping your house clean during a renovation is not only important for your sanity, it is key to the health and safety of all those on site.

The other reason for keeping a site clean and tidy during a renovation is that damage is minimised to parts of the home that are already complete; finding scratches on your floor or dents in your newly lined walls is not only annoying, it’s costly to repair.

So we’ve compiled a list of things you should know to ensure you, your home, and the contractors working on it aren’t impacted by untidy work practices.

Bulk rubbish should be in the bin

It’s the builder’s responsibility to keep the site tidy – not yours, and this means all bulk rubbish such as timber off-cuts should be put in the skip.

“Any good building company will clean up after themselves,” says Refresh’s Jim Gleeson. “There won’t be blocks of wood lying around with nails poking out, there won’t be nails or drink cans lying around; a clean site denotes a professional builder.”

Often builders will set aside an area where off-cuts are thrown into neat piles on a daily basis, but Gleeson says at the end of each week the site should be tidied properly, so if you feel there’s a build-up of rubbish on the site that makes it unsafe, let your builder know.

Another common problematic practice is using the centre of a room as a storage space for materials; not only is it untidy it can also be dangerous, says Gleeson. Bulk materials should be kept away from areas where contractors are working.

Dial down the dust

When it comes to dust, your plasterer is the biggest culprit on site. If you’re living on site, or you simply don’t want every nook and cranny of your house filled with dust, you’ll need to do more than close the bedroom doors during the plastering and sanding period.

“Dust is insidious - it’s like air. It doesn’t matter if you close the doors – it just seems to get through. I’ve had houses where we’ve closed every door, every day and at the end of the day at the other end of the house you wipe your finger on a mirror and it’s white,” says Jim.

The key, he says, is to employ professionals plasterers (and floor sanders) who use an extraction sander – “that drops the plaster dust right down”. It means the majority of the dust will be vacuumed as it is sanded, rather than manually sanded with no extraction, where the dust goes everywhere.

Then, when the work is completed, the vacuum bag of dust should be disposed of by the plasterer in the bin, and not left lying around, says Jim.

But there’s one thing the homeowner can do during this stage of the renovation to help reduce dust and that is to seal off doorways to parts of the house that aren’t being renovated with the plastic drop sheets that painters use when spraying.

Hot tip: make sure you use tape that won’t rip the paint off your walls.

Protecting floors

When it comes to plumbing and electrics, your contractors should always attempt to protect your home, particularly the floor, from dust, sawdust and other grimy matter by laying a drop sheet down before starting work.

This is even more important for anyone working inside the home at height cutting through plasterboard when pre-wiring for the electrician.

“They should have two to three drop cloths with them at any point in time, where one is laid on the floor, so the ladders don’t mark the floors, and if they’re doing cutting they’ve got drop cloths over spaces around them,” says Jim.

It goes without saying that painters should always use drop sheets to protect floors and also plastic sheets to mask off any areas around doors if they are using a spray gun.

One helpful tip is to use a professional floor protection company to completely seal off floor areas during a renovation. They’ll lay thick cardboard over carpet and areas that need to be protected. Jim always factors this service into the cost of a renovation,  so that “by the time we pick up and leave, we’re not having to do remedial work.”

Remedial work is costly and what you ideally want to avoid, so make sure you ask your contractors what they will be doing to keep your site healthy, safe and clean.

Get in touch

Interested in end-to-end project management that allows you to carry on with your life while your renovation is expertly managed? Get in touch to arrange a free consultation with a Refresh Renovations specialist

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