Most people tackle do-it-yourself projects without thinking twice about whether or not there might be dangerous substances lurking in their home or used for that project. The truth is that even a simple DIY project like painting a room can lead you to encounter toxic, potentially hazardous materials. Here are a few tips for avoiding those fumes and substances as you do those DIY projects:
If you are opening up a wall or ceiling, get help. While your goal is to the do the project yourself, if your building potentially was constructed using asbestos, you are going to want to ask for help, instead of just jumping in with both feet and getting exposed. Asbestos is extremely dangerous, and while the diseases associated with breathing in these small fibers may not show up for decades, they will be deadly when they arrive.
Get proper ventilation. If you are painting a room, you are going to want to make sure that you have proper ventilation before you get started. No matter the size of the room and no matter what type of paint you choose, there are probably going to be hazardous fumes, which will not just linger as long as the paint is wet. If not ventilated, they can actually permeate the furniture and flooring. The room will smell like wet paint for weeks, if not months, giving you headaches and shortness of breath.
Don’t use old paint. Old paint is more likely to contain lead than new paint is. If you have old cans of paint, probably from the previous owner of that home, lying around, they could contain lead. If your paint is more than two years old, it probably is not going to be good anymore and you should just buy new paint. It’s going to be more resilient.
Wear a mask and protective clothing if there is going to be dust. If you are sanding or demolishing something, there is going to be dust, which can be irritating to both skin and lungs. In order to avoid this irritation, which can go beyond simply annoying and can become a serious skin issue, wear a mask and protective clothing if you are going to be doing a project where you kick up dust.