Is renovating an old house bad for your health

Whether you’ve bought a fixer-upper, or you’re working for a home renovation company, if you’re planning on stripping back an old building, there may be more risks than you think. 

Abandoned Old White House

Reaching straight for the sledgehammer might not be the best idea. Especially if the building you’re working on harbours toxic, worryingly invisible poisons and potentially lethal substances. Exposure to these kinds of chemicals, whether you’re completing a personal project or you’re in employment and doing the work for someone else, can leave you exposed to dangerous pollutants and may severely damage your health – click the link for more information on preventative measures following asbestos exposure.  

So, how can working on an old property be bad for your health? Read on to find out more.

Cancer-related illnesses

If you’re working on a property that was initially constructed before 1980, then you should be mindful of asbestos. This insulating material was all the rage just a few short decades ago until it was revealed that it comprises of cancer-causing materials. Not the safest thing to have in your home! Asbestos was used everywhere, from ceiling and floor tiles to joint compounds, even as insulation around pipes and old boilers. When asbestos is damaged, this is when the hazardous and now airborne fibres become a risk to your health, inhaling these fibres can lead to asbestosis and mesothelioma. 

Only registered and accredited contractors should deal with the removal of asbestos. If you’re being asked to remove it by your employer or you’re trying to save money on your project, you should consider the potential impact on your health and call the experts instead.

Head injuries

If you start knocking down walls, moving brickwork or not taking health and safety seriously, then your health could be at risk. Hardhats and protective gear should be worn at all times, and you should only tackle heavy-duty tasks if you’re fully trained or under the supervision of others. Falling masonry, tools, beams and other hazards can cause serious injuries. 

Respiratory irritation

Dust leaves us feeling grimy and gungy. However, it can also be potentially damaging to our health. When you’re knocking down plasterboards or tearing up carpets, you’re going to create a lot of dust. Even if there aren’t harmful chemicals present, you could irritate your eyes and your respiratory system if you breathe this dust in. Always wear protective gear – including eye protection and a respiratory mask – to keep yourself safe. You should also try to isolate the area to prevent the dust from spreading.

And finally, electrocution

Old buildings mean old wiring. Some of which may be damaged or unstable. Changes in safety regulations and previous electrical practices that would now be deemed unsafe are just the tip of the electrical iceberg. Faulty or unstable wiring could potentially become a fire hazard and an electrocution risk. If you’re not a qualified electrician, you should only ever allow someone qualified to check the wiring in your property.