Protecting Your Home During Renovations and Construction

Protecting Your Home During Renovations and Construction

Written By

Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Congratulations on finally scheduling that home renovation! The contractor set the date for the workers to come, and you’re now clearing out the area for the job to be done. But how do you protect your home from accidents during the renovation and construction period?

Construction work is messy, and that mess isn’t confined to just dust. Workers will bring in ladders and drills, tool boxes and drywall; your home can turn into an obstacle course in no time. Here are some safety tips for protecting your home during this tumultuous time.

Partition off the construction area

Even if you’re renovating your entire house, workers usually focus on one or two areas at a time. Screen off the entrance to the living area with plastic sheeting hung from the door frames. You can get rolls of thick plastic at a home improvement store, taping it down when necessary to prevent dust from entering the clean rooms. That also prevents the seepage of construction equipment into other parts of the house.

Ladder leaning up against the outside of a house

Clean up daily

Whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring someone, the area should be swept up daily to remove not only dust (which you don’t want in your living area), but nails and other debris. Ladders should be propped up against the wall and tools put away. If you need to enter the construction area after working hours, take a good flashlight, as your overhead lighting may be disconnected and it’s easy to trip in an area where the floors may be uneven and objects aren’t where you expect them.

Cover the flooring

Contractors will usually do this on their own, but make sure that if you’re keeping your beautiful hardwood floors, nice carpets or tile, they’re covered during construction. Workers will be dragging in equipment and heavy items like cabinets, and you don’t want them to mess up your good flooring.

Keep kids and pets away

It’s fun for kids to watch construction in process, but there are hidden dangers your kids won’t see. There might be nails on the floor, sharp edges on the walls, exposed electrical wires and cords crossing the floor. Part of protecting your home means protecting your children too. If your child wants to watch the work being done, each of you should don a pair of safety glasses and watch the construction together in a place that’s out of the way. Pets should be kept out of the construction area too, as they can mistakenly step on sharp objects or knock something over.

cutting wood with a saw

Cover the unused equipment

Often, contractors will cut wood using a table saw and leave it sitting there overnight. Protecting your home means safeguarding the outside as well as the inside. Saws can be dangerous to your kids or anyone who ventures into the backyard. Make sure your contractor not only covers up the saw, but unplugs it and keeps the cord wrapped up. You don’t need anyone to accidentally trip on a power cord or turn on the saw.

Check the fire alarm

Even though the area isn’t being used during construction, it can still catch on fire. Construction workers use flammable paints and glues, and sparks from equipment and electrical wires can cause a fire. A working fire alarm makes protecting your home easier. If there isn’t a place to hang one up, put a battery-operated fire alarm in the room at the end of each day, and know where your fire extinguisher is.

While these are helpful tips, also ask your contractors what they do to keep the construction area safe. It’s a good reminder to them to keep safety in mind, and lets them know that you want the process to be safe for them as well.