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Five hazardous materials every homeowner should be aware of before remodeling


You’ve heard the story over and over the past few years – homeowners are choosing to remodel the space they’re in rather than risking a loss on the stodgy housing market. No matter the inspiration, remodeling can completely revitalize a home. But there’s still risk to be considered. Not just financial risks, but health risks — especially if you’re planning on remodeling an older home.

With so many hazardous chemicals and materials to factor, takes a look at the big five every homeowner should be aware of whether they’re completing a project on their own or hiring a team.

Commonly found in homes built before 1978, lead-based paint is particularly threatening to young children. Ingestion can cause  nervous system damage, stunted growth and delayed development. Why would any child eat lead paint? Because it tastes sweet like candy.

In older homes, asbestos can sometimes be found the pipes, ducts and furnace insulation, flooring, cement siding, and spackling compound. Exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, a devastating form of cancer.

Mold and Mildew
Anywhere there’s moisture and dark, warm surroundings, mold and mildew is likely to be found. Danger arises when sheltered mold and mildew are exposed to fresh air, releasing harmful toxins. Mold and mildew are common, but according to, “If it’s black mold or it encompasses more than 10 square feet, a professional should be sought.”

Dust Build-up
Not as immediately hazardous as some material, large mounds of dust can form between walls and tucked away spaces. Goggles and painter’s masks are recommended during removal, along with fresh-flowing air.

High VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
A fancy acronym for fumes and contaminants, VOCs can show up in carpeting, paints, adhesives, coatings and other surfaces. They are marked by a strong odor. Removal is generally safe, but should be done with plenty of ventilation.

[Photo courtesy Merida Home Blog]