So, you’re gearing up for that grand home transformation you’ve dreamt of? Kudos for taking the plunge! There’s no denying that big renovation projects are exciting, and turning your home into exactly what you want is a thrilling challenge.
But, there is a nitty gritty side to home renovations that you shouldn’t ignore and that’s safety. It may sound mundane compared to choosing paint colours or tiling patterns, but safety is absolutely crucial, especially for first-timers. Trust us, you want your renovation journey to be remembered for that fabulous open-concept kitchen, not a mishap with a power tool. Here, we’ll equip you with the knowledge to make your renovation both dazzling and safe.
Identify the Danger Zones
Identifying potential dangers before you begin can be a game-changer and they’ll be specific to the type of project you’re tackling, the materials you’ll be working with, and what sorts of old materials you may need to remove. If you suspect there’s any chance you may be dealing with asbestos, for example, go ahead and call in the pros for some initial advice, even if you want to tackle things yourself. They can give you some advice and help you stay safe.
Every space also presents its own challenges and limitations, some of which can introduce unexpected issues. Spot those exposed wires, slippery areas, and unstable surfaces. A quick assessment now can stave off a plethora of potential accidents down the line.
And while clutter might seem benign, things like tools, debris, and materials can pile up and become tripping hazards. So, go ahead and make a pact with yourself to tidy up your tools and workspace as you complete each stage of your job and at the end of every single day, no matter how tired you are.
Finally, if you’ll be handling paints or solvents, make sure you’ll have good ventilation. Those potent fumes are more than just a temporary headache—they can pose serious health risks.
Prepare your PPE
Some of your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE!) will vary with the job, but there are some core pieces of protection that you should have on hand if you’re committed to DIY renovations.
Safety goggles are non-negotiable. With so many tasks involving materials that could splinter, spray, or spark, protecting your eyes becomes paramount.
Clothing that fits is also important. It may be tempting to wear something loose or baggy, especially if you’re working in a space where temperatures will rise, but it’s much safer to wear something that can’t get caught up in your tools or just generally get in your way.
Masks! We know, they’re nobody’s favourite, but dust is ubiquitous when you’re doing almost any kind of home renovation. Shielding your lungs from these fine particles is essential. Consider this: there’s a reason professionals in the construction and renovation domain often undergo spirometry testing. Chronic exposure to dust can compromise lung function over time.
The right gloves can make a world of difference when you’re handling rough materials or chemicals. Buy a pair that’s suited to the job and that you don’t mind wearing to be sure you actually put them on when you should.
Prioritize Electrical Safety
There are considerations here with regard to the job itself and how you maintain and use your power tools.
For the renovations, your needs are likely to vary. Research ahead of time to get a sense of whether DIY or a professional electrician is the way to go. In some places around the world, only licenced electricians can tackle significant wiring projects, so please do what’s needed to get the right advice and stay safe if you’re upgrading wiring as part of your project.
When using extension cords, ensure they’re rated for the tools you’ve chosen. Pushing them beyond their capacity is not just ineffective but can elevate the risk of a fire. And a golden rule before diving into any task, you should give your tools a thorough inspection. If you spot equipment with damaged or fraying cords, it’s time for a repair or replacement.
Make Sure You Have the Right Ladder
We’ve all seen those daredevils in memes and videos stacking ladders precariously and all manner of dangerous madness. Don’t even be tempted by that. Before day one of your DIY, make sure you have exactly the ladder you need and that you know how to use it. It should be the right height for the job, sit evenly on the ground in the space where you need it, and be able to withstand the weight of you and anything you’ll be carrying up it.
And when it comes to using any ladder, stick to the golden rule while ascending or descending. Always maintain three-point contact. Resist that urge to overstretch for that slightly out-of-reach spot. Instead, reposition your ladder. It might take an extra minute, but safety always pays off in the long run. If there’s something you will need once at the top of the ladder, recruit a DIY buddy to hand it to you once you’re up there.
Read Those User Manuals
We know that new power tool looks super fun and you really just want to plug it in and get going, but it’s absolutely worth your time for any new DIY tech in your life to take the time to read the manual. That’s where you’ll find details on proper settings and set-up, safety guidelines, and potential hazards.
The manual will also contain info on maintenance tips, from cleaning to part replacements, which can prolong the tool’s life and keep it performing optimally. Almost all manuals come with a troubleshooting section, as well, which will undoubtedly come in handy if things aren’t going quite as planned.
Mix and Store Chemicals Safely
Take the time to read the labels on any chemicals you are working with, especially if it’s the first time. And, take those labels seriously. Wear goggles, gloves, masks, or any recommended equipment, and be sure to follow any advice on ventilation to avoid damage to your lungs or your health.
You should also always store chemicals in their original containers. This isn’t just about organization. This ensures that you and others can easily identify the chemical and its hazards later on. Mixing or storing chemicals in random containers can lead to dangerous reactions or confusion about their content. Those original labels and containers also provide vital information on safe handling, storage, and first-aid measures that you may need next time!
Ready to Begin?
We hope so, and we are excited for you! You’re joining in the fun at a great time and are in good company, with all the people that began DIY projects during the pandemic.
Tackling a home renovation project is both exhilarating and challenging. It’s a blend of creativity, hard work, and the occasional unforeseen hiccup. But through all the excitement and challenges, your safety remains the cornerstone of a job well done. Approach each task with mindfulness, respect for your tools and materials, and a commitment to the best practices.