Indoor air quality contributes to the health of your family, and a kitchen renovation provides the ideal opportunity to enhance air quality and create a healthier home. Take a closer look at the various aspects of your remodeling project, and make decisions about demolition, design and building materials that improve indoor air quality during and after the work is done.
Renovation contractors need to be careful when tearing down your existing kitchen to replace walls, windows, cabinets and countertops. Several substances commonly used in construction prior to the 1970 s pose a threat to your health when disturbed, scraped or broken up.
Ask your contractor whether any of these harmful substances are currently located in your kitchen:
- Lead commonly found in lead-based paint, this substance can be harmful if consumed or inhaled. Always be sure to thoroughly clean the area after demolition, especially if you will be preparing food in the immediate area.
- Asbestos often used for insulation, asbestos fibers are dangerous when inhaled. Some homes may contain asbestos that is not undamaged and therefore, not dangerous, although it still needs to be removed.
- Pest Droppings mouse droppings and the remains of other pests may present unwanted bacteria and germs, and your contractor may encounter droppings behind existing walls and within old cabinetry.
Be sure that your contractor assesses the condition of your existing kitchen before beginning the demolition process. Have a plan in place for handling harmful substances like lead, asbestos and pest droppings, and find out how and where these substances can be disposed of without harming the environment.
Dust presents another danger during the demolition process and throughout the balance of your kitchen renovation project. Although it is a natural result of construction, dust can be harmful to those with respiratory conditions and weak immunity. Consider installing dust shields or taping off the area to allow for better air quality in the balance of your home.
Remember to close off the floor and return air vents in the area to limit the construction dust in your ductwork. Depending on when your renovation is taking place, this dust can be spread around your home within hours. Schedule a duct cleaning after the project to ensure the majority of this substance has been removed.
A healthy home has balanced humidity and does not contain mold and mildew. Design your kitchen renovation to include a properly sized and professionally installed ventilation system to maintain peak conditions.
Most kitchens have an exhaust vent built into the range hood. If your new kitchen includes a range on the island, be sure to have an exhaust vent included in the general design to cut down on humidity and moisture created during the cooking process.
A good quality range hood fan will have various settings and be directed through an exterior wall. Do not design the system to vent into your attic or garage; instead, move moist air completely out of your home to cut down on mold and mildew and improve healthy conditions. Other venting should include the typical heating and cooling systems, located to keep this busy area comfortable at any time of the year.
Windows also help to keep the area bright, bringing the healthy rays of sunshine into your home. Plan to include large windows fitted with high efficiency glass, designed to keep your heating and cooling bills down while allowing the natural light in.
Also consider having your ductwork assessed during the kitchen renovation, to ensure the system is functioning well. Leaks in your ducts could lead to a radon build up and other unhealthy conditions, as well as costing you more in utility bills. Remodeling often allows access to ductwork that is difficult to reach otherwise. Talk to your contractor about repairing any leaks found before you close up the kitchen walls again.
Building Materials Concern
Be sure to include certain building materials in your kitchen renovation, those designed to optimize health in your home. Choose the paint, flooring and countertops wisely, being careful not to use products with high levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Common brands of paint contain VOCs and can emit harmful off gasses once painting is complete. Many varnishes and other pressed wood products also contain VOCs. Talk to your contractor about other options, such as those more natural products and finish alternatives.
Think about your flooring as well, and stay away from cheaper brands with inorganic adhesives and chemical-based finishes. Underlayment and painted or stained trim may also emit off gasses. The adhesive in your laminate countertop could also be a source of VOCs. Ask about each of these factors in your new kitchen and opt for materials that contribute to healthier indoor air quality.
Your Contractor Selection
Keep in mind the contractor s experience and portfolio when hiring for your kitchen renovation. Find out whether or not they have worked on older homes before and ask about how they ve handled demolition and removal. Ask about their design experience in modern homes, and assess their ideas on styling and layout in terms of health.
This project is well worth the expense, but hiring an experienced contractor will ensure a quality job that lasts for years. Why invest the money in improving your indoor air quality, only to let shoddy work create countless hassles and require extensive repairs? Take the time to hire a reputable company and be willing to pay for their expertise and craftsmanship.
Your new kitchen renovation gives you a chance to improve the indoor air quality of your home. You can also add more natural light and enhance ventilation with well-placed windows and a properly sized exhaust vent. Assessing the state of your ductwork also helps to eliminate leaks that could lead to dangerous levels of radon. Take advantage of the opportunity to create a healthier home and you will realize a greater return from your kitchen renovation project.Posted by: TrustedPros