wikiHow to Contain Dust During Demolition and Remodeling

Home renovations, especially those that involve a large amount of demolition, carry with them many inconveniences. One of the major hassles of a remodeling project is the amount of dust and debris generated. Construction dust easily travels throughout your home, forming a thick film on all of your furniture, floors, and possessions. To save yourself the trouble of having to clean all of this dust after the project, you can take the following steps to contain dust during demolition and remodeling.


  1. Image titled Contain Dust During Demolition and Remodeling Step 1
    Close as many doors as possible during the renovation. This is the quickest and easiest way to help contain construction dust. Any rooms that do not need to be accessed by the construction crew should have closed doors at all times. Rooms such as bathrooms should be closed when not in use. Closing doors in your home will go a long way towards mitigating the spread of dust and debris.
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    Hang plastic sheets around the work area. One of the most effective solutions for controlling construction dust is to hang plastic drop cloths around the area being renovated. Drop cloths can be found inexpensively in the painting aisle of your hardware store. You can hang them using tape or inconspicuous fasteners like staples. Consider cutting long vertical slits down the middle of the plastic sheets to allow for passage.
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    Force the dust outside by creating a pressure difference. The best way to do this is by opening a window and operating a fan facing the open window. This will force airborne dust outside, and keep it from entering other areas of your home due to the pressure difference.
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    Protect the floors of your home using tarps or drop cloths. One of the things most easily ruined by construction dust is flooring. Hardwood floor finishes can be marred by excess dust, and construction dust can be ground deep into carpets where it is difficult to clean. Avoid this by laying down plastic drop cloths or tarps over all floors that will be exposed to foot traffic during the home renovation.
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    Employ water-cooled and vacuum-equipped tools whenever possible. Some construction tasks produce a large amount of dust, such as cutting wood or tile or sanding any surface. To reduce dust, many tools can be fitted with either a vacuum dust collection bag or a water cooling system. Tile saws should always be used with the water pump on, which virtually eliminates dust. Mitre saws, circular saws, and handheld sanders should be equipped with dust collection bags that reduce the amount of errant dust.
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    Turn off your home ductwork-based heating and cooling. If the heating and cooling system in your home uses ductwork to force air movement, turn the system off during the entire remodel if possible. Forced air systems readily churn construction dust up and distribute it through your entire home (bypassing closed doors and plastic sheets in the process). Turn the heating and cooling off, and consider taping plastic or paper over the registers and vents of your ducts.
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    Complete as much of the work as possible outside. Tasks that can be done outdoors should be. This includes cutting wood or tile using a power saw. Performing these tasks outside and then bringing the cut materials inside will drastically reduce the amount of construction dust in your home.


  • You may prefer to scratch the tarps and drop clothes to protect flooring. Use Masonite (thin, lightweight flexible boards, that come in various sizes, as big as plywood) and brown building paper. The paper comes in rolls; lay that down first. Then lay the Masonite on top. You can easily cut the Masonite to size and shape of all the corners of a room. This way, there is a tight fit all around the room, akin to laying a new floor on top of the existing. No dust or debris will get through and workers can walk, drop material and tools, without damage. With just tarps or drop clothes, they always move. The corners fold over, workers trip over the folds and seams and it's harder to move heavy equipment or trash. And eventually it gets moved to make the day easier. With Masonite, there is a smooth solid floor to work on. You can even tape the joints with blue or duct tape for a tighter cleaner finish.


  • Be especially careful about producing dust containing lead paint, which can be harmful if inhaled. Avoid scraping and sanding lead paint if possible, and use a spray bottle of water to keep dust from getting airborne if you must sand.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic drop cloths
  • Tape
  • Fan
  • Tarps
  • Dust collection bags

Article Info

Categories: Architecture and Design Occupations