Renovating a house yourself is an exciting time and a chance to really get to know what your home is made of. Sadly a lot of the building materials you may come across are neither good for the environment or for human health.
If you’re going to be doing updates to your home yourself, here are 7 home renovation materials that you will definitely want to wear protective gear if dealing with.
Most homeowners assume that remodeling their kitchen can significantly increase the value of their home. Few homeowners recognize that the increase may depend on the degree of remodeling and the costs involved. Factor in not using the best home renovation materials, and you could end up costing yourself even more in the long run.
7 Home Renovation Materials To Be Careful With
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a type of plastic commonly used in construction because it is cheap and easily available. PVC is often used in pipework and the insulation of electrical cables but can be found throughout your home in areas such as the drain pipes, bathroom plumbing and sewage system.
PVC only becomes hazardous if PVC dust is inhaled or ingested because it contains dioxins and phthalates that can interrupt the bodies natural hormones and affect the basic function of the thyroid gland, pituitary gland and reproductive glands. PVC is also carcinogenic and can lead directly to cancer. As a precaution you should wear a face mask if you are cutting up PVC pipes.
You’ll most likely only come across lead if you are dealing with an older home. Lead was a common additive in certain older types of paint and was also used in roofing. Lead is a highly toxic metal which can build-up of lead in the body over a period of few months or years leading to lead poisoning.
Lead poisoning can be fatal and can also cause severe mental and physical impairments. Children and elderly are especially at risk. If you’re dealing with lead, wear gloves, wash your hands and wear a facemask at all times and be very careful if children will be visiting your renovation site.
Another hazardous material often found in older homes is asbestos. Asbestos is the name given to several natural materials which contain fibres. Asbestos is fire resistant and heat resistant and so was used to help fireproof buildings – you may find asbestos in your ceiling tiles, walls or as insulation for your boiler. If inhaled asbestos can cause a number of very harmful diseases including mesothelioma which is a type of cancer.
Nowadays people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma will often get in touch with a specialist such as a mesothelioma attorney from NBA Law Firm in order to claim compensation against their former employer for exposing them to such hazardous material. Using asbestos in new construction is now banned in many countries and there are strict guidelines set out to protect people who are removing asbestos from older houses.
If you think you may come into contact with asbestos it is best to get in touch with a professional who can remove it safely.
Fibreglass is a common type of home insulation which, as the name suggests, is made up of tiny fibres of glass. Fibreglass can be very irritative to the eyes, skin and throat if you come into contact with it as it is made up of small sharp pieces of glass. It is advisable to wear a respirator mask, eye protection and keep skin covered when using it.
An alternative to fibreglass insulation, is having insulation blown into the walls. While it may not be your ideal DIY job, it can be more cost effective over all with heating, cooling and the need to replace over time. Blown in insulation is one of the easiest and most cost effective home renovation materials that can save you money.
Cellulose insulation is safe. It is made of paper, but the chemical treatment provides it with permanent fire resistance. It's been said that cellulose insulation is more fire resistant also compared to fibreglass insulation.
Silica is found in most rocks and stones including in sand and clay. Inhaling silica dust can be very dangerous and if inhaled consistently over a long period of time can lead to serious lung infections and lung cancer.
Silica dust can be released from any process which involves creating dust from rocks or sand. If you are working with stone at all it is advisable to wear a respirator mask.
Halogenated Flame Retardants
Halogenated flame retardants are often added to materials in order to limit the spread of flames in the event of a fire, however, when heated halogenated flame retardants become highly toxic and should not be ingested.
Always dispose of old building materials in a safe way and if burning any home, wear suitable protective clothing to protect yourself from the potentially hazardous fumes.
If you are dealing with decking, fencing or any other outdoor wooden home renovation materials, then you may come into contact with creosotes.
Creosote is a category of carbonaceous chemicals formed by the distillation of various tars and pyrolysis of plant-derived material, such as wood or fossil fuel.
One of the most commonly used creosotes is coal-tar creosote, which also happens to be one of the most toxic. Coal-tar has been directly proven to cause cancer and so be very careful burning any creosote soaked wood materials.