Remodeling is a dirty job and anyone who has been through a renovation project will know that the demolition phase can produce an almost unbelievable amount of debris and dust. Many of our projects require us to completely demolish the area, removing cabinets, plaster, tile, concrete, flooring, and anything else that won’t be used in the new configuration. Since many of our projects happen while the client is still living in the house, a clean, well-contained jobsite can make the difference between a happy and unhappy customer. We are especially aware of this at Four Brothers, and have developed a strict set of procedures to keep the dirt and dust contained while we are working in your home. Additionally, in 2010, the EPA’s RRP lead protection guidelines became effective, mandating that contractors be trained and registered to perform work in homes built before 1978 that may contain lead paint. These rules dictate methods for lead dust containment and clean up and an exhaustive procedure of record keeping. Since Four Brothers, LLC has been using similar dust containment and clean up procedures since our start in 2006, we like to think that the EPA regulations have finally caught up to our standards!
The most important part of maintaining a clean working environment is prevention, which includes protection and containment. Before each job starts, we hold a pre-construction meeting with the client to talk about job-site logistics. One of the things we discuss is defining the areas in the house that the remodeling project will affect and how we can best isolate these areas from the inhabited ones. This often includes an adjacent staging area to store tools and materials that will be delivered and used for the project. On the first day of the remodel, we remove any furniture, paintings, rugs, and other delicate items from the working area. Then we protect the floors using Ramboard, a tough, uncorrugated cardboard material that is made specifically for this purpose. If the remodeling area is upstairs, or far from an entry door, we will usually protect the floors, stairs, and hallways leading to it to prevent any damage from the increased traffic during the duration of the project. Once all exposed surfaces are protected, we set up the plastic dust containment walls. The location of these walls is discussed during the pre-construction meeting to contain dust within the working area while allowing the client access to all parts of the house necessary during construction. The walls are made with 4 or 6 mm plastic and wherever possible, are located in a doorway. In situations where we need to block off half of a room, the plastic is held up with supporting rods that stretch from floor to ceiling, and then sealed with blue painters tape. Wherever access is required, zippers are stuck to the plastic and then cut open, forming a door that can easily be opened and closed. This allows us to work completely isolated from the inhabited portion of the house with no dust escaping. Finally, once the protection is in place and the dust containment walls are erected, we block off any HVAC ducts with tape and plastic to prevent dust from spreading through the house that way. Additionally, during demolition and any other high dust phases of the project, we turn the HVAC system off. As a final precaution, we keep an air purifier running just outside of the work area to remove any dust from the air that does escape.
After protection and containment, the next most important part of keeping a house clean during the course of a remodeling project is the clean up itself. Our lead carpenters are responsible for this on each of our jobs and they see to it that your home is left clean and presentable at the end of each day. The contained renovation area is swept and vacuumed at least once per day and if dust does escape the plastic walls, we make sure it gets vacuumed and wiped down. Our lead carpenters are also responsible for ensuring that the plumbers, electricians, and all other trade partners that contribute to the project keep to the same standard of cleanliness. Once the remodel is complete, we remove all of the protection and containment materials and then perform one last cleaning of the area. On a larger renovation such as a full house remodel, we pay to have the house professionally cleaned on the last day we are there. This comprehensive approach to protection and clean up ensures that your house will remain clean and dust free throughout the course of a renovation with Four Brothers, and has earned us many compliments from past clients.