By Jesse Morado
Any remodeling project, no mater how large or small will create a mess. Demolition, cutting wood, drywall, painting, and flooring work all contribute to the dust and mess. Protecting existing finishes and areas outside of the work zone during a renovation is key to maintaining a reasonably clean home during a renovation. Installation of site, floor, and dust protection is a must if you wish to keep your home neat and areas in and out of the work zone free from damage. Site protection for the exterior and interior of your home should be done before any work begins.
Protect your trees, shrubs, sprinkler heads, pool and deck surfaces and driveway. Heavy delivery trucks can damage your driveway, lawn and trees. If trees overhang your drive you may want to have these trimmed back to prevent damage from trucks. If a dumpster will be placed on your driveway it is a good idea to lay protective sheathing under it to protect your drive from spills and gouging from the dumpster.
Floor protection will keep your floors from being damaged while contractors traffic between the work zone and the door. A heavy-duty plastic laid over carpeted areas secured with an adhesive backed carpet protection or painters tape around the perimeter of the room will keep carpets clean during your renovation. Hardwood floors should be covered with a resin paper taped at the seams and taped with painters tape at the perimeter. Masking and duct tape applied to hardwoods can harm the finish so be sure to only use painter tape. If you will be experiencing heavy demolition, you may consider laying sheets of thin sheathing, (plywood, OSB, or hardboard sheathing) over the paper to prevent damage. This protection can also be applied over tile or stone floors.
Dust protection is very important during a renovation. Family members with allergies, a need for cleanliness, and indoor air quality are all reasons for managing dust. Make sure that all air registers within the work zone are blocked off where demolition or dust will be generated during construction. Failing to do so will draw dust into your ductwork and your HVAC filter will become clogged affecting your systems efficiency.
Tape plastic over doorways between the work zone and areas outside the work zone.  Make sure that the plastic is secured tightly around the opening to keep dust from being drawn in each time air changes in air pressure occur. A zipper door allows workers to come and go between these areas while maintaining the barrier. Large pieces of furniture that cannot be relocated from the work zone should be moved to a safe zone and completely covered before any work takes place. If your renovation is taking place during warm weather months, opening a window and setting a box fan in the opening so that dust is sucked out of the work zone is extremely helpful in managing dust.
Lastly, make sure you cover furniture, appliances, counter tops and other personal belongings that cannot be removed from the work zone before any work commences. Take pictures to memorialize their existing condition prior to work beginning.
These simple protection measures will help you survive your remodeling project and keep dust, debris, and damage to finishes to a minimum.
Jesse Morado is President of Renovation Coach, Inc. a consulting firm providing pre-construction guidance and risk management for homeowners. He writes a daily blog for and is the current Education Committee Chair for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. He is also a FHA Rehab Consultant.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.