Virtually all remodeling projects require some degree of demo, and with demo comes dust & debris. A good “site prep” plan is vital. Before we talk about the importance of site prep, it’s key to define what it is. Site prep involves protecting your home from not only construction activity, but also the traffic of the workers coming and going. Planning the best route for the various trades with the least amount of disruption includes providing the necessary protection for your home during your remodel.
Many remodeling projects don’t require our homeowner to move out of their homes. However, when working with considerable square footage or a critical area of the home such as the kitchen, if possible, it might be more comfortable for you to stay elsewhere. Unlike what we see on home improvement TV shows, remodeling projects can take weeks or even months to complete. This requires that the site prep be meticulous and in for the long haul. A roll of duct tape and plastic sheeting won’t be sufficient for a multi-month remodel project.
Critical Areas for Site Prep
When considering how to protect your existing floors during a remodel, you need to first consider the type of flooring you are wanting to protect.
- Carpet: Construction traffic on existing carpet can cause damage. A product as simple as self-adhering film will help seal out the dust and debris. Depending on the type of carpet and protection needed, painter’s drop cloths can work but we don’t recommend them for a project lasting weeks or months.
- Hardwood Floors: There are several products designed specifically for hardwood floors. Corinthian uses Ram Board and ProTect. Ram Board is a heavy-duty cardboard that we tape down. Ensure that your contractor uses the type of tape adhesive that doesn’t pull the finish off your floors. ProTect is a lighter duty product that self-adheres to the floor and eliminates the need for tape. Painter’s drop cloths on hardwoods can be slippery, so we don’t recommend it.
- Tile Floors: Ram Board or ProTect are good options for tile floors. We don’t recommend self-adhering carpet protection for tile because it can be difficult to remove the adhesive from the tile. Our goal is that we feel comfortable if something such as a hammer were to drop on the tile. Using thick protection reduces the chance of the tile cracking or breaking.
If any walls are being removed or new ones added, ensure your contractor has a plan for dust control. There is a product called ZipWall. It uses adjustable poles that are erected to hold light weight plastic in place. These will work for short term but aren’t suitable for projects lasting weeks or months. We prefer to “frame” actual temporary walls with lumber and cover both sides with heavy duty plastic. We staple the plastic to the framing and tape the edges to the walls, floor, and ceiling, ensuring dust can’t slip through into the rest of your home.
We also install an actual door with weather stripping. This provides proper access in & out of the work areas while properly sealing off the opening when closed. It also separates the construction space from the space you are living in. It is vitally important to keep the door closed to ensure dust is not escaping into your home.
As a best practice, we also like to provide our job sites with a HEPA air filtration system to remove airborne dust during the construction project.
If you plan to stay in your home during the remodel, you’ll want your heating and air system to be operational. Ensure that your contractor has a plan to protect your system. Air returns should be covered during the peak of dust times (demo, drywall, etc.) and a pre-filter used for the other times. You’ll also want to keep floor registers covered so debris can’t fall into the duct work. During construction it is also a good idea to keep a close eye on the existing HVAC air filters and make sure that they are changed often, especially during dusty periods.
These are just a few of the measures Corinthian does for proper site prep. Each project is different and will require a unique plan for that job. You might also be interested in reading a past blog we wrote on Remodeling Site Protection and How We Protect You During Covid and Beyond.
Make sure you talk with your remodeling contractor to confirm that site prep is included in their estimate and that you are comfortable with it. Remember, all successful projects start with a good site prep plan.