How to Control Dust During Indoor Stone Veneer Fireplace Remodeling
When plentiful, dust can make anyone sneeze and cover mouth and nose to avoid inhaling it. Construction sites are well known for powdery particulate. Architects and builders often refer to clients who stay in their homes during a remodeling project as “living in the dust.”
But home during indoor remodeling, such as construction of a stone veneer fireplace surround, there are several ways to control dust. This is especially important if family members have asthma.
Here are some practical measures you can handle or negotiate with your contractor to minimize construction dust.
Create Dust Barriers & Isolate Work Area
The first step in limiting the spread of construction dust is to erect clear, plastic dust barriers closing off openings from the work area to other parts of the house. This task may be as simple as hanging heavy mil plastic sheeting over doors or separating spaces with plastic wall systems, such as ZipWalls.
If there is furniture in the work space that can’t be moved elsewhere, it should also be covered to avoid dust from polluting upholstery.
Furthermore, isolating a stone fireplace work area includes moving any sawing outdoors if weather allows. It also requires delivering building materials to the remodeling space via a route that minimizes spreading dust to other parts of the home.
Construction dust clings to work clothing, so another wise step is to ask your contractor to limit worker access to other parts of your home.
Cover Walls, Flooring & Furniture
Next, you need to make sure your floors in the remodeling area — whether carpeted or bare — are covered wall to wall with rosin paper (a recyclable paper building product), thick plastic or drop cloths. Final cleanup will be much easier if walls in the remodeling area are covered floor to ceiling.
Prepping Your HVAC System
Not all homes have forced-air heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, but if yours does, precautions during construction projects include limiting the amount of dust that gets into ducts.
If your project occurs when temperatures are moderate, it’s a good idea to shut down your HVAC system for a few days during the stone veneer fireplace remodel. This includes closing or covering the work area’s air supply and return registers in the walls and floor. However, workers still need air circulation, so open a window for fresh air.
Stone veneer fireplace projects generally take less than a week to complete. During winter installation, it may be best to keep the HVAC running even if you aren’t staying at home. It keeps the house warm for your return and helps any moist construction materials, such as grout, to dry more quickly.
In cold weather, the registers in the work area can be closed, and the contractor can bring in a portable electric heater. Or the register grills can be partially closed and covered with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) furnace filters. To further capture any fine dust in ducts on return flow, install a HEPA filter in place of your regular furnace filter.
Capture Dust with HEPA Air Scrubbers
At any time of year, a portable HEPA air scrubber may be the best solution for keeping indoor construction dust from drifting through your house. It also captures any gases and airborne chemicals released by construction materials.
No ducting is attached to the air scrubber, which is placed in the center of the work space. It sucks in dirty air, then releases clean air. This is particularly important in older homes that may contain asbestos or lead in old construction materials removed during stone veneer remodeling.
HEPA air scrubbers contain a series of filters. The first stage of filtration is handled by a pre-filter that absorbs larger particles. Frequent replacement of the pre-filter protects the efficiency of the primary filter. If you add a carbon filter, it can absorb smelly gases and vapors.
As the Proud Green Home website notes, HEPA air scrubbers “meet standards that remove 99.97% of airborne particles down to the size of 0.3 microns.” A micron is a millionth of a meter or about .00004 inches wide. Due to their filtering power, air scrubbers are expensive. Yet home improvement stores make access to them more affordable through rental.
Specify & Share Cleanup
At the end of each work day, contractors for any indoor construction project should minimally vacuum up dust. (Sweeping with a broom sends much of the dust flying.) Then careful removal and disposal of floor and wall coverings, as well as dust barriers, follows at the end of the project.
The next step, generally handled by the homeowner or a house cleaner you hire, is to damp mop walls and hard flooring and deep vacuum carpeting. Finally, to avoid circulating any construction dust that remains in your home, continue to use a HEPA filter for your furnace for about two weeks, changing the filter at least three times.
Seek More Information
For any questions you may have about stone veneer fireplaces, please contact us at North Star Stone. You’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions at our website. We want to help you and your family breathe easy about home improvement.
In the meantime, check out our stone veneer fireplace galleries for some great ideas and see how other families updated their fireplaces with North Star Stone veneer.
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