Safety Concerns When Remodeling The Kitchen In Your Older Home

Posted on: 30 June 2015

If you're getting ready to embark on a kitchen remodeling project with your older home, it can seem like a huge undertaking. Even if you have everything in place in regards to your new countertop, flooring and cabinets, you'll need to pay special attention to the demolition process of existing materials. Having a roll-off dumpster in place to toss most of the old debris is a must. But if you're unsure if you'll come into contact with hazardous or unsafe materials, you'll need to have a safety plan in place. Some materials will have to be removed by a HAZMAT team and discarded in a specialized containment dumpster. Here are some common concerns and tips to ensure that the entire experience goes safely and smoothly.


One of the most dangerous items that could be lurking behind the walls and ceiling panels in your home is asbestos. Asbestos is a natural mineral that works at forming heat resistance with excellent tensile strength. In homes and commercial properties built prior to the 1980s, asbestos was prevalently used in insulation as well as wall, ceiling and floor materials. Asbestos is highly toxic and exposure can lead to certain types of cancer such as mesothelioma. If your home has not been remodeled since the 1980s or you're unsure if your home contains asbestos materials, call in a pro. A professional asbestos removal company will take the proper precautions to close off each exposure area and eliminate the affected area.  


Another household contaminant that you may come across when you demolish areas in your kitchen is lead. Lead is a natural occurring element that can be found almost anywhere. Some products such as paint and plumbing materials commonly contained lead prior to 1978. Lead can be dangerous because it can lead to seizures, learning problems and cause other medical concerns. Scraping paint or removing old plumbing fixtures should be done with extreme caution. Use a protective mask and gloves to reduce your exposure level.


Even if your home has never flooded or appeared to be wet or damp, it can still have mold spores hidden within the drywall or ceiling. As you are tearing away old plaster and drywall in your kitchen, you can become exposed to mold spores through direct contact, and inhalation. Any type of mold spore can trigger an allergic response and irritate your respiratory tract. Severe cases of black mold can be dangerous and lead to acute and prolonged respiratory distress. If you suspect mold, contact a professional to remove the affected areas and dispose of the contaminants properly.


The chemical formaldehyde may be hiding deep within the pressed wood products of your old kitchen walls, ceilings and floors. If these products have been intact for several years you may not have noticed any irritation. Once demolition starts, formaldehyde can be released into the air and reach your skin, eyes and throat. This chemical is highly toxic. It can lead to severe allergic reactions, respiratory irritation, headaches, organ damage and skin irritation. Use gloves, masks and clothing to completely cover your body and avoid contact.

Exposure to harsh chemicals can be a reality when you're doing a kitchen remodel. If you're unsure if your home contains these contaminants or you are unsure about the removal process, call in a professional company like Mac-Bestos Inc that specializes in asbestos and hazardous chemical removal.