Although many people associate allergies with the outdoors—thinking of seasonal triggers—indoor allergens can make life miserable all year. You can go inside to escape from pollen and ragweed, but your home may contain allergens too, including dust and dander. Allergies and asthma can be triggered by common items found in the house. Renovating your kitchen can kick up these allergens along with other dangerous compounds like asbestos – especially in older homes that haven’t been renovated in a while. By carefully selecting appliances, cabinetry, paint, and finishes that contain low VOCs and other hazardous materials, you can have a kitchen that’s beautiful, stylish, and healthier for you and your whole family.
If you’re ready to remodel, use these tips to safely create a space that’s stylish, welcoming, and free of allergens.
Safety During Demolition
One of the most hazardous parts of remodeling is demolition. During this process, dust mitigation is necessary for anyone, but it’s especially important for people with indoor allergies. Dust and debris from demolition can contain harmful substances like mold, asbestos, and chemicals. To keep this dust from spreading throughout your home, take down wall art, and lay down sheeting. Some professional tools have built-in systems for collecting dust, such as saws and other devices that collect dust as they go. If you do the demolition yourself, make sure you wear protective gear including an N95 mask and safety goggles.
Before getting into the remodel, take advantage of the demolition to look for potential allergens in your home. Look at the drywall and flooring for signs of leaks, water damage, or mold. Since you’ve already removed the cabinets, it’s the perfect time to locate these problems and fix them before continuing with the remodel.
Use Cleaner Building Materials
During any home remodel, choosing cabinets, paint, and liners that have lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will help keep you healthy both during the remodel and beyond. VOCs are harmful chemical compounds that have been shown to cause irritation, fatigue, headaches, and other physical symptoms. Many types of paint release these chemicals while they dry, which can irritate people who are sensitive to chemicals. VOCs can also be very hazardous to people who have allergies or asthma. Using low-VOC paint and other materials will help keep you more comfortable during the remodeling process.
Choose Your Cabinets Carefully
Although it can be tempting to choose the least expensive cabinets, make your selections based on quality. Many cabinet models are made of particleboard, but the glue that’s used to hold them together can contain hazardous substances like formaldehyde. If your aim is to reduce allergens in your home, choose hypoallergenic cabinets. Look for kitchen cabinets that are made with wood or bamboo that’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. These FSC-certified materials can be more costly, so if you need to stay at the lower end of the budget, look for formaldehyde-free cabinets.
Factor Allergens Into Your Remodeling Design
For the most part, new kitchen appliances are safe for people with allergies. However, gas stoves can irritate those who are sensitive to allergens. When designing your new kitchen, consider where the stove is and install an exhaust system that directs these gases out of your house. Keep this in mind when deciding what kind of range to buy and whether to put the stove against the wall or in the center of the room. Properly locating and ventilating your range will help contribute to your children’s safety and overall wellness.
Not All Countertops Are the Same
One of the most prominent parts of any kitchen is the countertop. As it is with cabinets, less expensive countertops are often made with hazardous chemical components. Plastics and sealants can release gases that trigger allergies. Higher-quality materials like granite and quartz are more hypoallergenic. IceStone countertops are made with concrete and recycled glass for a durable finish with a pop of sparkle. If you’re on a budget, choose a solid surface that’s easy to clean and resistant to mold and mildew.
Following the Remodel
Before jumping in and returning to daily life in your kitchen, take some time to clean all of your new surfaces. Check your air filters and replace them if they’re dirty. Air out your home by opening the windows and running the fan. Turn on your new exhaust system to rid the kitchen of construction dust. Even if you laid plastic over all of your surfaces during demolition and construction, it can be beneficial to follow up with a shop vac. Remodeling your kitchen is a great way to upgrade your home and make it healthier.
Contact Take2 Remodeling for your Kitchen Renovation Project!