Guidelines for Safe, Clean Remodeling

As much as you’d like to rely on the professionalism of remodeling contractors (or yourself if you’re DIYing the renovation your home) the most important thing to be done is to keep the work site as dust-free and clean as possible.

Dust is one of the biggest dangers to the health of people and pets during a remodeling project. According to Buildclean.com, dust can include harmful substances such as dirt; organic matter from rodent feces and dead bugs;  drywall, cement and sawdust materials; silica, asbestos and lead particles; mold and mildew; and volatile organic compounds like aerosols, paint, cleansers and solvents. The smaller the particles, the more dangerous they are, says the Environmental Protection Agency, especially those not visible to the naked eye.  

Protective measures should include personal protective equipment for dust-generating work, such as facial masks, safety glasses, Tyvek disposable coveralls, shoe covers, and chemical-resistant gloves. Don’t allow anyone unauthorized to enter the work space, especially without protective gear. Because dust is so easily airborne, no one should eat or drink inside the work space.  

Prevent airborne dust from traveling to other parts of the residence. Limit traffic to and from the work space to prevent dust and debris being tracked elsewhere in the house. Turn off ceiling fans and air conditioning during dust-generating work. Cover vents, doorways and floors with plastic sheeting. Remove or cover furniture, wall décor, house plants and decorative accessories. Clean up, seal off and remove excess dust and debris from the work site daily. 

Best Places to Raise a Family

Did you know that the average American family moves approximately once every five years? According to MoveBuddha.com, about 15.3 million American households move each year. Most families (40.2%) relocated less than 50 miles from their old home, but 24.7% moved 500 miles or more and 10% moved out of state, according to VerifiedMovers.com.

Families move for many reasons, such as wanting a better home; new job or job transfer; finding a cheaper home; buying a first home; to be closer to schools or work and wanting a better, safer neighborhood. Others want good schools; safe walking areas; lots of amenities like parks and museums; and a wide range of outdoor activities.

You’ll find numerous rankings for “best cities for families” online for metros of all sizes, but seldom do researchers choose the same best cities because of differing criteria. WalletHub.com ranked Fremont, California as their number one based on overall scores for the number of playgrounds and attractions; air and water quality; infant mortality rates; high school graduation rates; and costs of childcare, living and housing and more. USNews.com rates Huntsville, Alabama number one based on its median annual salary ($58,730); residents spending just 20.12% on cost of living; median home prices ($192,667) and air quality. ExtraSpace.com named Ann Arbor, Michigan as top choice based on low crime rates, affordability, blue ribbon schools, and its urban forest vibe.

Whatever your reasons for moving, be sure to look up commute times; healthcare and fitness; public transportation; housing costs; and job growth.

How NIMBYism Stunts Housing Growth

In addition to supply chain interruptions, high material costs and labor shortages, badly needed new home construction is also being curtailed by NIMBYism, says the National Association of Home Builders. “Not in my backyard” homeowners may not realize that by preventing development in their towns and neighborhoods that they’re making homeownership much more expensive for themselves as well as others.

The root cause of nimbyism is that homeowners are afraid that their home values will fall if they allow less expensive homes to be built in their neighborhoods. While this is common in master-planned developments that require new homes to be built using only construction and materials approved by the homeowner’s association, many communities have put their land-use regulations and restrictions in place against rental properties or smaller multi-family homes being built next to single-family homes.

Detached single-family home zoning means that builders can only build a single-family home on a given lot, which prevents more affordable multi-family homes such as duplexes, townhomes and apartments from being built. The net result is fewer available homes to rent or buy and skyrocketing prices. As land values increase, these limitations prevent workforce personnel such as fire fighters, police, paramedics, teachers and others from living in the communities they serve.

Housing regulations and restrictions are set by individual cities and counties and some states, including Oregon and Washington, rewrote statutes to make affordable housing a protected class for fair housing.