Renovating your home can be a fulfilling experience. You want to save money when hiring a contractor, but you should also look for one that can and will work safely. Construction professionals have to follow strict guidelines for poison-safe home renovation, so it helps to know about these rules.

When working on some projects, professionals need to meet state-sanctioned certifications. You should be aware of the risks to make sure you get a competent, safe contractor. Here are seven renovation tips that will help you avoid any dangers from poisons:

  • 1. Pre-1978 Homes May Have Lead Paint

If your home was built before 1978, it could contain lead-based paint. Professionals need certification to disturb paint in these homes, even if they’re independent contractors. If your home is old, you should let your contractor know ahead of time.

You can buy test kits from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to see if your paint has lead in it. If you find traces of lead, ask to see your contractor’s certification. If they can’t provide valid, up-to-date licensing, don’t hire them, as this could be a risk.

  • 2. Carbon Monoxide Can Come From Unexpected Places

You’re probably well aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide. You know not to burn fuel indoors, but did you know that carbon monoxide can come from some paint strippers? Check to see if your contractor’s products contain methylene chloride, and if they do, proceed with caution.

When your body absorbs methylene chloride, it can cause a chemical reaction that creates carbon monoxide. Ask your contractor about what they use and if they take the appropriate steps to stay safe. If they do use methylene chloride-based products, give them plenty of space.

  • 3. Some Materials Contain Formaldehyde

Construction companies usually test their materials for formaldehyde levels to ensure they’re up to code. Just to be safe, though, you should ask any professionals you hire about this matter. Check to make sure their glues, insulation and pressed-wood materials don’t have too much formaldehyde in them.

You’ll find formaldehyde in a lot of products, but don’t let that scare you. It’s completely harmless in small amounts, but too much of it can be a cause for concern. To play things on the safe side, look for contractors who use substances and supplies with lower formaldehyde levels.

  • 4. Thorough Cleanup Is Essential

Safety doesn’t end when the restoration itself is complete. While the renovators were working, they probably generated a lot of debris, including some that may be hard to see. Cleaning this up helps you stay tidy and keeps you safe.

Even if they weren’t working with poisonous materials, dust and other small particles could be dangerous. Before you hire anyone, ask about their cleanup process and make sure it’s thorough. You may find it useful to look through their reviews and ask their previous clients about how well they cleaned.

  • 5. Different Jobs Call for Different Gear

When you’re looking for professionals to hire, pay attention to their personal protective equipment (PPE). These are essential to the job — so much so that their employers have to provide them in some cases. If workers aren’t wearing the right PPE, it can be a sign that they don’t take safety regulations seriously.

Different situations require various precautions. If you’re hiring anyone to remove mold or asbestos, they need to be wearing a mask. If they’re working with any strong chemicals, they need to wear gloves and change them before they touch anything else in your house.

  • 6. Children Are Especially Vulnerable

If you have kids in your home, you should be extra careful about who you hire. Some materials may not be a threat to you but will be to your children. With their weaker immune systems and smaller body masses, children are particularly vulnerable to any chemicals and contaminants.

Make sure your contractor walls off any areas they’re working on so kids can’t get in. It’s probably a good idea to ask contractors if they’ve ever worked around kids before, including how they’d protect them from harmful materials. You can never be too careful when it comes to doing renovations near youngsters.

  • 7. Nearby Renovation Can Still Affect You

Even if you’re not actively renovating anything, you can benefit from some renovation tips. Nearby worksites, especially with large-scale products, generate dust and debris that can affect you. If renovations are happening in your neighborhood, ask the professionals how they’re making sure the area’s safe.

You should also consider the reverse of this situation — how your renovations can affect others. While interviewing contractors, especially for a larger job, ask what steps they take to keep everything contained. If they can’t provide a specific, actionable plan on how they will avoid affecting your neighbors with their work, don’t hire them.

  • Take Care While Renovating

Working on your home requires a lot of preparation and care. If you follow these renovation tips, though, there’s no need to feel worried about it. When you know what to look for in a contractor, you can be sure your renovation is safe.

Just because regulations are in place doesn’t mean contractors always follow them. Learning what risks are involved enables you to find professionals who offer the safety you need. Talk about these things with your contractor and their previous clients to ensure a poison-safe home renovation.