By Bryn Huntpalmer (bio below)
Those two words you’ve been dreaming of may also come with a sense of dread: home renovation. Can you really update your home if you have allergies and eczema? The good news is you can, and it may actually improve your allergies in the long run to update your home now. Here’s what you need to know about the affect home renovation may have on your body, and some of Modernize’s smartest solutions to improve your health and your home!
How Home Renovation Affects Allergies and Eczema
A Strong Foundation
Renovating your home should be an exciting experience, but we know it’s also stressful. When making choices to upgrade your home, consider how materials will affect your allergies. Flooring can have a huge impact on your health, so stay away from heavy carpeting that can trap allergens in. From dust mites to pet dander and pollen, you won’t always be able to see what’s ground into the carpet and may be affecting your allergies and eczema.
Some of our favorite flooring materials are cork floors, which reduce mold and bacteria, hardwood floors, which leave a dust- and hair-free surface, and bamboo floors, which are elegant and energy-efficient. You could also choose stone and porcelain tile. These types of materials can be washed regularly and more thoroughly than carpet.
However, ripping up flooring involves a lot of destruction, and loose materials and chemicals will create an air hazard. Let a contractor handle it, and try to stay outside as much as possible. This may mean that you want to schedule your home renovation during the summer, or when the weather is nice. If you’re indoors, be sure to wear a mask and eye-wear if necessary.
Tear Down the Walls
You don’t have to miss out on knocking out a wall to make a bathroom bigger, or joining two small spaces together. Bigger remodeling choices may seem daunting, but there are ways to cope when you have allergies.
You’ll want to hire someone to tear down and build walls, but if you absolutely have to do it yourself, be sure to use a fan or air mover to push the chemicals outside. Plaster, drywall, particle board, solvents, paints, and more all have chemicals that can irritate your allergies and your skin and especially your lungs if inhaled. Be sure to use a respirator or mask when this part of the renovation is under way.
If you’re updating your decor and want to repaint, go for paints that have little to no volatile organic compounds. VOCs pollute the air and irritate allergies, asthma, and eczema. Low-VOC paints have a reduced odor, and they are better for the environment, too.
Breathe Easier Inside
Mold and mildew are some of the most criminal offenders when it comes to allergies. Your breathing may suffer if you live in a space with excess moisture, leaking in through windows or doors. When updating your windows, be sure to update the weather stripping on the windowsills and doors. This will lock moisture out, which will actually save energy as well.
If you want to improve the air quality of your space, consider updating your HVAC system to make every breath easier, but at the very least have your system maintained often to make sure it’s working efficiently. Another option is to purchase an allergy-grade air filter. Allergy grade filters trap pollen, pet dander, dust, and tobacco smoke. Whichever air system you choose, be sure to change and clean air filters regularly to reduce allergen buildup.
Renovation can actually make your home a better space to cope with allergies and eczema. But during construction, be sure to wear the appropriate eye wear, masks, garments, and shoes to avoid touching or breathing in harmful materials. When cleaning up after contractors, be sure to wash all dishes and clean down surfaces with nontoxic cleaners. Then enjoy your space, and breathe easy knowing it’s all up to date!
Bio: Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.