Common Mistakes People Make When Renovating An Older Building

Author: Power Environmental/Power Vac Services | | Categories: Commercial Duct Cleaning Services , Home Renovations , Residential Duct Cleaning Services

Blog by Power Environmental/Power Vac Services

Older homes possess a charm and beauty that you just don’t find in new construction. From architectural features to larger lot sizes, the character of an old house, primarily if bought for the best price, is hard to pass up. With a few tweaks, the outdated parts of your old house can become the home of your designer dreams. There are a few mistakes that are common when choosing to renovate or update one of these houses. Before you grab your hammer, hire a designer, or start tearing out any finishes, check out this list of errors so that you can avoid them!

1. Not getting a designated substance survey
Most homeowners, and even some contractors, are unaware of the requirement to have a designated substance survey before starting the renovation. There is a risk of exposure to hazardous substances, as well as legal liability and financial risk associated when work is done prior to ensuring all designated substances such as asbestos and lead are identified. Customers often rely on data from their contractors or even family members on what to do through a renovation. Unfortunately, even many contractors still do not seem to know that this is required. Even worse, there are some contractors who know and choose to ignore this requirement. A qualified consulting firm should evaluate before starting any renovations to ensure no materials will be disturbed that would cause contamination of the property. There is a no-charge guideline available on the Environmental Abatement Council of Canada website that is downloadable and provides great information. Please click this link to take you to that guideline.

2. Covering up the asbestos material 
Often, customers will cover up asbestos material instead of removing it. While this is a simple work around to avoid removing it at the time of renovations, it can be a slippery slope. The material is now no longer visible to potential buyers if you choose to sell the property. If you are aware of asbestos, you must disclose this information to prospective buyers. Buyers will often want asbestos material removed before taking possession of a property. If material has been installed over the original asbestos material, the removal cost will be higher since the project now needs the removal of an additional layer of material. For instance, flooring installed over asbestos flooring would need to be removed. It is highly unlikely the new flooring would be salvageable, and therefore, additional cost would be incurred to both remove the additional flooring as well as to put in flooring again. It is always better to remove the asbestos material when there is access to do so. Guidance for doing asbestos removal in Ontario can be found in O. Reg 278/05

3. Removing mold without appropriate precautions 
Mold is not uncommon to find during renovations to certain areas of a property. Small amounts of mold (less than 10 sq ft/1 sq m) are typically not an issue for most building owners to clean up on their own. Moldy building material, regardless of the type of mold, that is greater than 10 sq ft/ 1 sq m should only be removed/disturbed with proper precautions in place and by qualified remediation contractors. When moldy building materials are disturbed, without proper precautions, there is significant potential to spread mould spores throughout the building. This can result in significant ill health effects for building occupants. As well, cleaning up a contamination after mold has been removed is significantly more costly than removing it properly. Mold remediation guidelines are available on the Environmental Abatement Council of Canada website. Click this link for their no-charge downloadable guideline.

4. Neglecting the cleaning of the ductwork 
Often customers neglect to clean the ductwork after construction or renovation. Duct cleaning will remove dust and debris from the system that has collected during renovations as well as what may have been there over the lifetime of the system. While the filter does get some material out, the filter can be overwhelmed during construction if proper precautions are not followed. This can cause material to bypass the filter and get further into the system. It is necessary to ensure that the HVAC ductwork system is clean to operate correctly. You can ask your builder if duct cleaning is in your agreement, and if it’s not, it would be ideal to follow up your construction with duct cleaning as soon as possible to avoid additional strain on your system as well as additional dust in the property. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association has great information on their website - - if you would like to learn more about it. 

5. Not cleaning the dryer exhaust
Cleaning the dryer exhaust helps your clothes dry more quickly, saving energy and reducing the risk of a dryer fire. While every manufacturer produces the machine according to industry requirements, poor maintenance can lead to issues with the operation. Sometimes you might notice that a dryer isn’t working correctly, and the first thing owners assume is that the dryer is no good. In reality, the dryer may be just fine, but the dryer duct is full of lint, and the airflow is restricted. If the vent is restricted or obstructed, the clothes won’t dry. It is ideal to have the dryer duct cleaned periodically to ensure the system is operating at peak efficiency as well as to reduce the risk of a dryer fire.

To avoid these and other mistakes, reach out to the experts at Power Environmental/Power Vac Services. We are experts in addressing airborne and potential airborne contaminants in industrial, commercial, institutional and residential facilities. We are trusted and recommended by many building contractors for mold and asbestos services as well as many heating and air conditioning contractors for cleaning of HVAC systems. We are proud of doing quality work for our clients and partners for over 50 years.

We serve clients across Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Haldimand County, Lake Erie, Brantford, Brant County, Niagara Region and the surrounding areas.

For a complete list of our services, please click here. If you have any questions about asbestos and mold removal or duct cleaning services, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch with us by clicking here