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Common Renovation Hazards in Older Homes

Common Renovation Hazards in Older Homes

You’ve just bought the perfect little fixer upper, now you’re ready to renovate it into your dream home. Unfortunately some building materials that were commonly used 30-40 years ago are now known to be dangerous to our health, and with older homes there are some common hazards that come up during renovation projects that need to be dealt with properly.

These hazards can include asbestos, lead from paint and/or dust, radon and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Moisture within your home can also cause mold and mildew problems, especially when walls are opened up during demolition, exposing hazardous materials into the air. This puts your family at risk of inhaling those harmful pollutants. The good news is, in several cases, a few simple measures can minimize the effects of these hazards. Keeping you and your family safe during home remodeling is essential, especially if you are among the 90 percent of families that stays in their homes during home renovations.


In any renovation project, dust is the #1 nuisance. It is particularly hazardous for anyone who suffers from allergies and is often worse in an older home as plaster walls are torn down and sanded. Since most people remain in the home during their renovation, it is really important for your contractor to have a dust control plan – for example, during our renovations we we make sure workspaces are sealed and air is drawn from outside the working area, cleaned through HEPA-filters and exhausted to the outdoors. This prevents air contamination during projects, allowing air quality in the workspace to remain safe for occupants and staff. Our practice of confining every project to negative air is unique to Accent Renovations.


Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was a popular building material from the 1950s to 1990s. It was used extensively because it is an insulator, has good fire protection properties, has tensile strength, and is resistant to chemical erosion. Unfortunately it was discovered that inhalation of asbestos fibers has been linked to major health conditions including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos can be found in many locations such as in pipe, duct and furnace insulation and regular insulation as well as in products such as cement siding, floor coverings, and even spackling compound. It’s important to make sure your contractor is qualified or licensed to deal with asbestos. All necessary permits should also be obtained. If not treated properly, serious environmental contamination can occur in your home.


Mold is another serious health concern, opening up walls with mold contamination can cause serious problems. Even if you do not see or smell visible signs of infestation, mold can be present even when not visible. Detecting mold within a structure is not always easy because many common breeding grounds are not easily viewable or accessible. This includes wall cavities, crawl spaces, beneath wallpaper, paneling, and carpet; inside heating and cooling equipment, and air ducts. If large contamination is present you might need an expert. Although mold can be killed by bleach solution, the dead spores can still be extremely harmful. All mold should be removed before remodeling begins. Removing the mold is often not enough, it is important to address the underlying cause of the contamination to prevent it from recurring in the future.


If all this sounds very overwhelming, don’t worry. These are common issues when renovating an older home so none of these will be a surprise for us if we come across them during your project. Most contractors are used to dealing with one or more of these issues and are therefore prepared to address them if needed. At Accent Renovations we are qualified to handle these common hazards and always do the utmost to keep you and your family safe & happy during your renovation project. So go ahead, start planning your heritage home makeover because we’ve got you covered.

Contact the Professionals for your next home renovation.

  1. […] is a common renovation hazard in older homes. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and has been used for years in older homes and […]

    Pingback by Our Top 5 Don't-Do-It-Yourself Jobs | Accent Renovations on April 20, 2016 at 11:43 pm