Whether it’s a building restoration or home remodeling, many homeowners are attempting to tackle an array of DIY projects to make changes in/around their homes. A DIY home renovation project is a great way to save money by doing the work yourself and tackling home improvement projects can help to increase the resale value of your home. However, before you start searching for the best place to get cheap tools, it’s important to realize that not only is it best to quality products over cheap tools, but it’s critical that you think about safety before starting a DIY project. Keep in mind that even a small task may lead to you scheduling a doctors appointment. So, here are a few safety tips to help ensure your DIY renovation project goes smoothly and without injuries.
Dress for the Job
Whether you are installing countertops or gutters, the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe is to dress appropriately for the work. Dressing with safety in mind is just as important as using the appropriate tools, having the proper permits, and meeting city codes. Some safety tips to keep in mind when it comes to safety gear and clothing include:
• Clothing-Wear long-sleeved shirts, socks, long pants, and slip-proof, closed-toe shoes
• Gloves-Wearing a pair of sturdy gloves will not only make it easier to grasp certain tools and pieces of equipment, but they will help to protect your hands and fingers from scrapes and cuts.
• Protect your head-Make sure to tie back long hair to prevent the risk of it getting caught in tools or getting in the way of your vision. Depending on the type of project you’re working on, you may need to consider wearing a hard hat as well. For instance, if you are doing roof repairs or installing gutters, you should consider a hard hat to prevent a head injury should you fall.
• Protect your ears-If you’ll be using power tools or if there will be other loud noises, be sure to wear earplugs or ear coverings
• Protect your eyes-Do not overlook this precaution. There is no way to know when you can get an eye injury. Safety glasses or goggles are extremely important when you are using tools, whether it’s power tools or the tools used for handmade wooden furniture, make sure your eyes are protected.
• For additional safety when doing roof repairs, working on/installing gutters, or any other type of work that involves height, consider using safety harnesses.
Use the Right Tools
Not only is it important to purchase quality tools, but it is equally important to have and use the right tools for the job. For instance, you may be able to pull a nail out with a pair of pliers, but it may cause an injury, so it’s best to start using the appropriate tool, which in this case is a claw hammer. Always inspect tools before using them to make sure there isn’t a problem, such as exposed wires on electric tools or a broken drill bit in the drill. Depending on the tools you’ll be using, you need to know how to properly use them. When using a tool for the first time, whether it’s a table saw or unfamiliar gate supplies, take the time to get familiar with the tool and if using a power tool for the first time, read the instructions to learn about safety guards and tips when using the tool.
Using a Ladder
If your home renovation project requires the use of a ladder, make sure the ladder is sturdy and doesn’t have any damage. The ladder should always be set on a solid, level surface and when climbing up the ladder always keep your weight in the center, avoid leaning out on the side and avoid standing on the top rung. When using an extension ladder, such as when doing roof repairs, lengthen the ladder so that at least the top two rungs are about the eaves. This will allow you to hold on to the ladder as you climb onto the roof. Do not lean a ladder against an unstable surface and never put a ladder on top of another item, such as a chair.
Don’t Work Alone
There are many projects that you can do without a partner, but there are also many more that do require a partner. Having a partner comes with a long list of benefits, such as having an extra set of eyes to be on the alert for potential danger, if there is an injury, someone will be there to call for help and it will help the project go quicker. You should always have a partner when working on a project with height, such as a roof, gutter repairs, or when using a ladder.
Check the Ventilation
When painting, staining, or using products in an aerosol can, make sure there is plenty of ventilation in the space you are working in. Open the windows and if possible use fans to force the odor out a window or open door. Whenever possible, only use products that have low odor and use strong odor products outside when possible.
Get Professional Help
Although there’s a lot you can learn from manuals or watching a video tutorial, there are certain projects you shouldn’t attempt on your own, unless you are experienced. For instance, electricity and electrical repairs can cause a fire, serious injuries, even death without the proper precautions and experience. Even if you are doing the project on your own to save money, projects such as electrical repairs can leave you with more than a loss of money. Other renovation projects that may require outside professional help include:
• Asbestos-Asbestos is a material used to build homes prior to the 1990s. It is a strong, fire-resistant, and durable material; however, it may also cause a fatal disease known as mesothelioma or asbestosis. Before beginning a renovation project where asbestos may be present, contact a licensed asbestos assessor to do an inspection and give you advice on how to have it removed.
• Air conditioning repair-Although an air conditioning repair may seem like a minor challenge, it may actually cause injuries. For instance, if the air conditioner is leaking Freon, it can be dangerous to drain it and it may cause environmental damages as well.
• Lead paint-If your home was built prior to 1970, it may contain lead-based paint, so if you plan on painting, especially if your painting project requires scrapping the previous layer of pain, you should have a lead-based paint test done before doing any sanding, scraping or painting. Sanding or scraping causes the lead-based paint to become airborne, which may ultimately cause you to inhale or swallow the paint, which can cause lead poisoning.
• Mold-Certain types of mold can be dangerous if it is inhaled. Mold, such as black mold, may be found in areas of your home that are prone to dampness, such as the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room and under the carpet. If you suspect there is mold in your home, contact a mold removal professional to assess the problem and remove the mold.
Use a Mask
If your renovation project requires the use of chemicals, it’s critical that you use a protective mask. It’s also important to carefully read the label to ensure you are using the proper type of mask for the product being used. For instance, some chemical products require a respirator to be worn for optimum safety. Also, keep in mind that wearing a mask will also be beneficial for projects, such as sanding and painting to prevent the risk of tiny particles getting into your lungs and airways.
Know Your Lifting Limits
Moving heavy or large objects may cause serious back injuries. Always use caution when it comes to moving or lifting heavy objects, such as furniture. It’s always best to be safe instead of risk a serious injury, so don’t hesitate to ask for help moving an object that may seem heavier than you anticipated.
Be Aware of the Elements
While most people consider tackling extensive home renovations when the weather is nice outside, this is actually a dangerous time to work on large, strenuous projects, especially if they are outside. For instance, working on the roof when there are high humidity and temperatures outside, may lead to harmful exposure to UV rays, dehydration, or heat stroke, so always use caution when working outside in the heat. Take frequent breaks and don’t forget to stay hydrated. When working with power tools, you should never work outside in the rain. If you are in doubt, it’s best to go with your instinct and be cautious of working in an unsafe element.
Seal Off Working Zone
When you are working in an area that may be intriguing to children or pets, be sure to seal off the area to prevent the risk of injuries. Always keep tools, chemicals, equipment, and materials out of the reach of children and pets, especially while you are in the process of working and may not notice them being present. The best ways to seal off your working area is by covering doorways with plastic, but if you are in an area that prevents you from completely sealing the area off, consider using caution tape as a warning.
Have a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
It’s common for tools to overheat, and potentially cause a spark or a fire on nearby materials. It’s essential that you have a fire extinguisher within close proximity to your working area. Make sure you know how to activate the extinguisher if needed and routinely inspect it to make sure it is in reliable, safe condition.
Don’t Ignore the Dust
Whether you are making homemade wood furniture, installing a new furnace, or ripping out existing walls, there will be dust during your renovation project. The dust particles from your projects can irritate your airway and lungs, which may make symptoms of asthma worse. There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of dust that spreads out beyond your work area, such as using plastic barriers between rooms. Always wear a mask when working on a project that produces dust and try to clean up as often as possible while working to reduce the risk of the dust spreading through the house.
As you are finishing up, it’s important to clean up after completing your project. It’s best to clean after one project and before starting another one. Don’t forget to thoroughly wipe down all walls and molding in the area when you are finished. If the walls were recently painted, simply use a dry duster to wipe them down. Be sure to vacuum the entire area, including corners, around moldings, and along the baseboards. After vacuuming, mop the area with appropriate cleaners and allow drying before walking on the floor.
The most important thing to do after you complete your renovation project is to put your tools away. Don’t simply put them on a shelf in the garage, they should be cleaned, dried, and stored properly to prevent the risk of injury or damage to the tools. One thing that many people overlook after completing a renovation project is the air filters in the furnace. So, be sure to replace the air filter to prevent the risk of paint fumes, dust, and other debris from being blown out into your indoor air. Keep in mind that it is always safer to hire a professional to do the work for you if you aren’t experienced in the project at hand. It’s best to go ahead and ask for help than to risk an injury or to have more work to do later on because of improperly doing the work in the first place.