Drywall dust

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Posted by: from Toronto
7/29/2012 at 9:28:13 PM

On the first day, demolition day, my daughter closed her door and we went out, as anyone would. The workers opened her bedroom door to place their tools in her doorway. They were demo-ing the room right across the hall (bathroom). less than 3 ft away.

Well you can imagine she was almost in tears and the 2 of us spent the whole next day cleanning drywall dust off absolutely every little thing she owns.

I have spoken with my contractor and at first he took no ownership. Not only should they have closed her door if she had left it open, which she didn't, they opened it to put their stuff there. He finally said it was their fault and took responsiblity for it. So i kind of got an apology as he admitted recognition of the damage - drywall dust is impossible to get rid of.

Can anyone please comment on this situation. has this happened to anyone else?

I look forward to your replies.

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Date/Time7/29/2012 at 11:24:49 PM

They should have covered the doorway with poly even if the doors are shut. The stuff gets into everything. But its not impossible to get rid of it....just TONS of cleaning and vacuuming.

Maybe look at billing them for your time cleaning it up.

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Date/Time7/30/2012 at 12:25:15 AM

Hi shiela:

It is unfortunate that this situation occurred. However, people are negectfull at times. As Brian has stated, it is time consuming and lots of patience is involved. Do not, however use your home vacumn. You will need a vac with a drywall filter. From experience, I know how to kill a normal vac with drywall dust. This was long before I got into the contracting business.

An apology is not all that should have been offered. As Brian suggests, keep track of your expenses, such as a drywall vac rental and filters, but also get a quote from a cleaner as to how much it would cost to clean everything. Then approach the contractor and work something out.

Renovations while a home is being lived in are tense at the best of times.

Good luck with your project.


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Date/Time7/30/2012 at 12:28:01 AM

First thing is living in a renovation is not just hard for the home owner, but makes it twice as bad for any contractor.

Renovations, you get saw dust, drywall dust, paint fumes, glue vapours , dangers areas around the house were kids could get hurt. And you felt it was okay to put your family in this position? Even though you are happy because the contractor appogised,

And I bet the air conditioner was on full blast, and the cold air returns were just sucking back all the drywall dust back into the furnace, and returned to all the rooms in the house too.

Any Reno your best off covering your furniture, putting your family in a save Place while the work is being done. Lucky it was just dust, and not a shot from a framing nailer skipping through a stud and flying into a family member.

Best to be save, not just bitch about the contractor trying to do his job with people living in the house, and have to move their belongings,

Hope you paying this guy very good. Be sad if you bargened him down on price, and now your crying about him doing the job you hired him for.

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Date/Time7/30/2012 at 1:53:53 AM

RE: "Dust" - It is standard practice to close doors! and poly off doorways to contain the dust from demolition and/or other work, or at least cover furnishings in the area with light poly. We had a sub contractor fail to poly once - the general contractor hired a cleaner and we stroked the bill off our contract. He refers us and still uses us - mistakes happen but usually all is forgiven if someone takes responsibility.

RE: Opening a bedroom door - If they didn't have to work inside, then firstly the glaring issue of privacy is being missed because the bathroom is their job site, not the bedrooms, etc. By opening the door, they really must take full responsibility for the mess and should at least OFFER to compensate you and your daughter for time involved in cleanup.

Brett W.

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Date/Time7/30/2012 at 12:22:05 PM

First thing- you can not - not pay to your contractor.

However, first of all you can bargain a big discount for your project. And if he does not agree to that, get a cleaning company to clean whatever can be cleaned. Buy new things instead of those that can not be cleaned, and mail him copies of all bills. If he refuses- small claims court will straighten him out.

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Sheila in Toronto
Date/Time7/30/2012 at 8:41:29 PM

I would like to thank you all for your responses. and Paulo i Will pay my contractor and yes the air was on full tilt as it was one of those scorcher days. My contractor is also my friend, as always a bad combination. I suppose I was a bit naive as I did expect him to cover over the doorways, and there is actually more than I wrote earlier. The living room which is just an archway was also exposed to all that demo work. it includes all the typicaly electronics TV DVD no stereo - TG . The old couch which is in need of replacing anyway will definitly have to go. TV seems to still be working.

I came to this site to find out if I was at fault - I can't help but feel responsible in some way because I know from past experience drywall dust is impossible to get rid of. Perhaps I should have discussed this with him. There is no contract and he is fairly new to this and starting up on his own.

Believe it or not he is booming with work and usually, he told me this after the fact, his clients move out during constuction. My mother lives in an empty 4 bedroom house a few streets over and we could easily have vacated the premises. I can't image why that was never discuss, I can only come to the conclusion that I didn't ofter.

I will not bargain him down, (thou I may use it if he slams me with a lot of extras)I have not put my family in the line of fire and we stay out of their way.

TG i own a shop vac but thanks for the tip Chuck.

Today, we have worked things out and I am hopefully that he has learned something valuable to take forward, as I mentioned he and his wife are very good friends.

Also I'd like to add - they are doing an excellent job since.......well except for the window issue and the insulation. but that has been resolved now too.

Thank you for all your responses, in the end I believe I am personally not at fault.



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Date/Time7/31/2012 at 4:56:58 PM


It is the contractors fault for sure and when dealing with drywall dust it is a messy way of doing business. Unprofessional workmanship for sure. At Pacheco's Pro Painting we would have vacuumed while doing the drywall or sanding as it does create a lot of dust. That is fine dust to breathe in and not a safe environment for any person to inhale.

Suggestion would be to vacuum while sanding is the proper way of doing any drywall or sanding job, that is how you know a professional is doing the right job.

Hope this helps

Pacheco's Pro Painting

778 877 7045

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Gaby from Amg Renovation in Hearst
Date/Time9/23/2012 at 2:33:13 PM


Now your saying why? because all bad Carpenters, Electricians and more makes the good guys looks bad, that's why clients hires more and more handyman to be less expensive but get stuck again in this problem, this ends up more expensive for the client and the good guy gets blame for the amount spent by the clients (To expensive) they all say, Get the good guy in first place you will see he is not expensive at the end.

Thanks for your time.


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