One of the fastest ways to drive yourself (or your spouse) crazy during a DIY remodel project is to have the dust carry over into the rest of the house. Dust can seemingly travel to the farthest corners of the house coating furniture, flooring, windows, and electronics. Dealing with it after the fact is a pain and can be really time consuming to clean all the nooks and crannies. I can’t sit here and lie to you that it’s possible to keep remodel dust 100% contained BUT with a little bit of prep work on the front end and some maintenance throughout the project, it is possible to keep it under control and limited to the areas you’re remodeling. Here are a few things that can help you make dust containment much more manageable!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Trimaco. All views and opinions are my own.
1. Budget For Dust Containment
This seems like a no-brainer but almost every person I’ve talked to about this never considered dust containment as part of their remodel cost and in my opinion it’s one of the biggest mistakes DIYers make. We’re not talking a ton of money here, but plan to budget around $100-$200 (depending on the size of your project) on the front end to dedicate towards dust containment. It’s an added cost, but having a clean home during a remodel project is worth it’s weight in gold! Trust me when I tell you that you’ll be glad that you did! You will have spent AT LEAST that amount of money by the end of your project anyway in time, cleaning products, materials, or house cleaners if you don’t prep for it.
2. Plastic is Your Best Friend
Before I get started on demo for any remodel, I always try to contain the project as much as possible in it’s own little bubble. Think of it like you work for the CDC and you’re trying to contain a dangerous virus like the movie “Outbreak”. (Great older movie with Dustin Hoffman. If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it!) Anyway, back to what I was saying. Cover any areas you’re not immediately working on where dust might travel through the house in plastic.
Staple it up in place and then seal the edges with tape. You can use duct tape or a more wall friendly tape depending on if you’re keeping the wall or not. I recommend at least a 4 millimeter to 6 millimeter plastic because it’s thin enough to be manageable,but thick enough to withstand the duration of your project without getting destroyed.
If you poke a hole in it or tear it during your project, FIX IT RIGHT AWAY! This is the maintenance part I was talking about. Throughout your project you’ll have to continuously check and make sure your enclosure is staying dust proof. Make sure your tape is secure, and a stray nail or sharp corner hasn’t pierced through your enclosure.
3. Do Your Demo Strategically
If you’re doing a bunch of demo as part of your project or maybe removing a wall to open up a space, focus on the areas away from the rest of the house first before moving towards the separating wall. The longer you can keep a permanent barrier between rooms, the better. Before you take out the last wall, build a temporary plastic wall on the other side using some thick plastic and some dust containment poles or a basic wood frame. This wall will serve as your main protective barrier for the rest of your project so make sure you check it for any damage or loose spots regularly as you go about your project.
4. Utilize Your Windows
If you’re lucky enough to have windows in your project area, they can be really helpful as a place to remove demo materials. In addition to that, they can be used to create a positive pressure room by building a box fan enclosure to have the dust blow outside while you’re working. Thick cardboard, scrap plywood, or thick plastic and some tape works great for this. Keep in mind that if the windows are open, there’s likely to be a breeze blowing in if the fan is not running so make sure everything else in the room is sealed up tight!
5. Cover Your Vents
One of the fastest ways to get dust circulating around your house is to not cover your air ducts and air returns. Not only will the dust get in there and get blown around the rest of the house covering every inch of your belongings, but it’ll also clog up your air filters. Seal around all your registers in your work area to make sure it doesn’t become an issue. I still recommend replacing your air filter on your system after any remodel. It’s something you should do every few months anyway.
6. Create Single Entry/Exit Points
There is no faster way to have dust travel throughout your house then to have a bunch of places where you or your crew can go in and out of your project area. Limit it to one doorway or entry point and thoroughly seal all the other access points. Use the windows as places to remove materials if you can so you don’t have to go in and out a lot. At your access point, install a solid dust containment door kit with a zipper like this
E-Z Up Dust Containment Door kit. Make sure you keep it closed up at all times. Even leaving it open for just a few minutes while creating a lot of dust can be enough to have it flow into the rest of the house and make a mess. BE A STICKLER! If you have help on your project, make sure your crew is as diligent about containing the dust as you are!
7. Protect Your Floors!
Taking a little bit of time up front to protect your floors both inside and outside your project area can save you a huge headache down the road. This goes along with the previous point about creating single entry/exit points. Create singular pathways to and from your project site and to the restroom to protect your floors and make sure you and your crew are using only those pathways.
- Carpeting – You may not realize how dirty it has become because your carpet will suck up the jobsite dust. If you have kids or pets crawling around on it, it can be dangerous for them. Protect it with some cling wrap like the Easy Mask Protective Carpet Film. It’s easy to install and keeps your carpet protected from tracking and absorbing dust.
- Hardwoods/Laminates/Linoleum, etc. – Keeping the dust and dirt off harder surface floors is pretty simple with some basic builder’s paper. It’ll keep your floors from getting dirty and your boots from tracking dust through other areas of your house. Line your walkways to and from your project site back to your exterior door and you’ll be protected through the whole house. For a little added protection from scuffs and scratches, try some heavier duty cardboard floor protector.
8. Keep Your Boots On?
One of the biggest culprits of spreading dust is the bottoms of your boots and it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to try and take them on and off as your go in and out of your work area all day. Utilize shoe guards as much as possible or if you want to splurge and try out an awesome new product, check out the E-Z Floor Guard system from Trimaco!
This thing allows you to step in, slide back and tear off a sticky protective plastic membrane for the bottom of your boots.
Think of it like a box of cling wrap in your kitchen. It’s super easy to use and you can just stash it next to your entry/exit point to make sure you can always walk through the house without fear of tracking dust. The dust on the bottom of your boots is trapped to them by the plastic wrap so you have nice clean feet when going through the house!
9. Take Your Cuts Outside!
Many people think that dust containment stops with the demo portion of the remodel so they take down any dust containment they’ve put up and throw it away, but few things generate more dust than cutting and sanding drywall. Hanging drywall is one of the latter steps of your remodel so it’s easy to overlook, but keep your dust containment up for the duration of the project or be prepared to re-hang it once you get to drywall. I recommend doing as much cutting of your drywall outside and then bring the pieces in and hang them. Keep as much dust out as you can!
10. Keep a shop vac handy at all times!
Drywall dust is prolific and one of the reasons why I absolutely despise doing drywall. I recommend doing everything you can to minimize your dust while you’re sanding it. Consider investing in a drywall sanding dust attachment for your shop vac. Keep that shop vac on hand and suck up any dust that starts to accumulate throughout the project. You’ll be glad you did! Oh yeah, and make sure you wear a mask too!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and it gave you some ideas on how to keep your house dust free for your upcoming or existing remodeling projects! If you have any questions or want to chat about your upcoming project(s), contact me.
To check out a full list of dust containment products from Trimaco, check out their website!
Thanks for reading and good luck with your project! Now get to work!