Summit Design Welcomes Kelly Vogan

Kelly Vogan

Kelly Vogan

Summit Design Remodeling is pleased to announce that Mr. Kelly Vogan has joined our team as a Design Consultant in which he will be focusing on residential and light commercial sales and design.  He joins us with over 26 years of business and remodeling experience in the DC Metro area.

Most recently Kelly was the owner of Vogan Associates Design Build, Inc. based out of Olney, Maryland.  In addition to performing all sales functions for his company, he was responsible for the production of as many as eight projects running concurrently.  As owner of Vogan Associates, Kelly especially enjoyed collaborating with his clients to learn more about their remodeling challenges and then developing the optimal design solution.

Kelly received his Certified Remodeler (CR) credentials through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).  He is also knowledgeable about green construction concepts and materials acquired when he attained his Green Advantage® Certification.  Kelly is EPA Lead Safe Certified as well.

“Kelly is a wonderful addition to our team and brings a wealth of experience from the remodeling industry,” says Michael Crum, President of Summit Design Remodeling.  “This direct remodeling experience coupled with his consultative approach to selling will be extremely beneficial to our clients.”

Kelly grew up in the Washington Metropolitan area and he currently resides in Montgomery County, Maryland with his wife, Lisa, and their three children.  For many years, he was an active member of the Wheaton/Kensington Rotary.  In his spare time he loves to spend time with his family and in the outdoors engaging in biking, camping and landscaping.

To learn more about Summit Design Remodeling please visit our website at: www.SummitDesignRemodeling.com

 

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Let the Sunshine in with a Custom Sunroom

If this winter’s snow and ice have taken a toll and you are ready for some sunshine, consider adding a low maintenance and completely customizable sunroom.  A sunroom will create an open environment like you’ve never experienced before and let you enjoy sunlight year-round.

Cathedral ceiling

This sunroom features an EcoGreen cathedral ceiling.

Summit Design Remodeling is now an official dealer of LivingSpace Sunrooms™ and we are very enthusiastic about our alliance. We researched many sunroom dealership opportunities and LivingSpace Sunrooms™ stood out above the rest because of the top-notch materials used in construction, as well as the ability to customize for each client.

Unlike the aluminum versions that are prevalent in the marketplace, LivingSpace Sunrooms™ incorporate high-performance composite technology that will minimize your energy costs and maximize your comfort.  The sunrooms are constructed of triple-ply fiberglass-reinforced pultruded polyurethane – the strongest structural component in the industry. The EcoGreen roofs and walls are completely non-metallic and feature high-efficiency insulation.  They can easily handle the snow loads of northern Canada and the hurricane wind loads of Miami Beach.  A polycarbonate roof with a heat reflective system is also available as an option to add more light to your space.

polycarbonate roofing

Polycarbonate roofing systems let in more light.

The Energy Star certified windows included with the LivingSpace Sunrooms™ system are 800 times more thermally efficient than typical aluminum sunroom windows.  They are amongst the most efficient available for ANY application and far superior to windows in other sunrooms. The windows have a high performance LoE3 glazing which reflects damaging UV rays and protects your furnishings from fading. They are also self-cleaning with a titanium dioxide layer on the glass that reacts chemically with the sun’s UV rays and causes organic materials to decompose and rinse away.

Beautiful Sunroom

Let the sunshine in with a beautiful sunroom!

Each sunroom is individually designed and engineered with CAD meaning that there are no off-the-shelf stock sizes. Parts are precision fabricated in a controlled environment using computer guided saws and positioning systems.  Since each sunroom is custom-designed, there is no problem with blending pleasantly with any architectural style.

With a LivingSpace Sunroom™, you will get an array of options.  From roof, door and window styles to trim colors and lighting accents, the choices for your new sunroom are numerous.  Think of the possibilities for your new space:  quiet reading area, hobby room, play room, breakfast area or simply some additional family space.  It may quickly become your favorite room in the house!  If you are ready to open up your home to more sunlight and space, give Summit Design Remodeling a call to discuss your new sunroom – 703-537-0930.

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Home Maintenance Tips

If you haven’t already started preparing your home for the cold winter months ahead, please take a look at the suggestions below and get started!

1. Clean and Inspect Gutters

leaves

Clean those leaves out of your gutters!

Once all of the leaves have fallen, you should definitely clean your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause leaks in your home, so it’s best to get this task done as quickly as possible.  Play it safe, though, and if you don’t feel comfortable on a ladder make sure to get a pro to help out.  Also make sure that your gutters are securely fastened.  Heavy snow and ice can really put a strain on them.

2. Repair Roof and Siding

If you have a pair of binoculars handy, take a look at your shingles and siding to spot any loose or damaged areas. It’s very important to take care of these items before any winter storms come through.

 3. Put Up Storm Windows and Doors

Now is the time to install storm windows and doors if you use them on your home. They will assist you in conserving energy and protect your home from cold drafts.

4. Shut Off Outdoor Faucets and Roll Hoses

Make sure to shut off all of your outdoor faucets and remove the hoses from the exterior bibs before the first big freeze hits our region. Empty your hoses of water and roll them up for storage.  The frigid temperatures can damage your hoses and water pipes.

5. Check Your Detectors

smoke detector

Check your smoke alarms.

Most of us are reminded to check our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors periodically, but how many of us actually do it?  For the safety of your loved ones, please check them to make sure that they are still working properly and change batteries if needed.

6. Inspect Furnace/Heater

Have your furnace inspected by a heating and air conditioning contractor before the start of winter.  Change your filters often during the heating season to keep your system running optimally. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider getting one installed.  They are inexpensive and can save you up to $150 per year.

7. Cover Your Water Heater

Most new water heaters are fine without an insulating blanket, but if you have an older model water heater or one that has an R-value under R-24, you should definitely consider insulating it.  A test to see if you need a blanket is to put your hand against the side of the tank. If it’s warm to the touch, it could use the additional insulation.

8. Fireplace Maintenance

Fireplace

Maintain your fireplace for safety and comfort.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace in your home, make sure that the flue is clean.  Hire a professional chimney sweep to clean it and inspect it for you.  When your fireplace is not in use, make sure that the damper is closed.  Inspect the brick in your firebox for loose or missing mortar.  If those conditions exist, do not build a fire.  Call a professional to have it repaired.

If you work your way through this list of maintenance items, you should be well on your way to having your home ready for winter.  If you have any indoor remodeling projects in mind for the upcoming months, be sure to give us a call at 703-537-0930.

Summit Design Remodeling is a design-build home remodeling company serving Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland.

 

 

 

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What Type of Tile Should I Choose?

When our clients come to us for bathroom or kitchen remodeling projects, they often pepper us with questions about the different tile materials available in the marketplace.  Is porcelain tile better than ceramic tile?  Should I invest in stone tile?  Which is easier to upkeep?  Which is most expensive?  Things have definitely come a long way since the basic 4×4 ceramic tiles that were and still are prevalent in many homes.  With this article we hope to answer some of your questions about the many tile choices available today.

Ceramic

Ceramic tile is generally the least expensive of all of the tile types and the easiest to install.  It’s a favorite among do-it-yourselfers because it is simple to cut and very forgiving in the installation process.  It’s available in a variety of colors, textures, patterns, and finishes.  Made from a mixture of clay, minerals, and water, a glazed color is most commonly added to the surface of the ceramic tile after firing.  It is very color-consistent because it is manufactured to be consistent.  Some people may say that it looks “too fake” because of its consistency.  It’s suitable for light to moderate traffic areas, but has a tendency to chip in higher traffic areas.  Chipping in ceramic tiles stands out like a sore thumb since the color does not go all the way through the tile.  On the plus side, it is very easy to maintain with regular dusting and cleaning.

Bathroom Tiles

This bathroom features a combination of porcelain, stone and glass tile.

Porcelain

Porcelain tile is actually a ceramic tile, so it’s a little confusing.  It is also made from a mix of clay, minerals and water, but porcelain is much denser than regular ceramic tile and it’s very water resistant.  It’s the ideal tile for bathrooms because of its water resistance.  The tiles come with color-throughout, so if chipping occurs it is much less obvious.  Porcelain tile is harder to install because it’s tougher to cut and requires special installation materials.  It is easy to maintain with just regular cleaning.  As far as price, it’s usually a little more costly than regular ceramic tile.

Natural Stone     

Natural stone tile is the most beautiful of all tiles and the standard to which other tiles try to mimic.  It is also the most expensive and the hardest to maintain.  Stone tile is most commonly made from marble, granite, slate and limestone.  Tiles are available in as many colors as nature offers and comes in many textures to include tumbled, sandblasted, and etched.  Stone tile is ideal for walls and other low traffic areas that won’t be subject to harsh, abrasive materials.  Since stone is natural, it is subject to the most color variation of all of the tiles.  So what you see in a showroom may not be what you end up with in your home.  If you are not a fan of variation, you should stick with a manufactured tile such as a ceramic.  Stone tiles also have the most potential for quality issues because they are quarried and not manufactured.  Regular maintenance with sealers is recommended every 8 to 12 months.

Marble Tile

This shower in Alexandria, VA features beautiful marble tile.

Glass  

Glass tiles are the newest addition to the tile world and quickly gaining in popularity, especially in kitchen backsplashes and bathroom applications.  They can be very beautiful and reflect light in the loveliest of ways.  They must be properly installed to hold up well, though, and is not a job most do-it-yourselfers can handle.  Glass tile is mostly used in wall applications, but can be used for floor tile if textured so that they are less slip-resistant.  The tiles should be used in lower traffic areas because they are subject to chipping and cracking.  As far as expense, they are generally more than ceramic and porcelain tiles.

 

Glass Backsplash

The glass backsplash in this kitchen is the perfect accent.

We hope that this article has answered some of your questions about the types of tiles available.  We at Summit Design Remodeling are happy to answer any further questions that you may have by calling us at 703-537-0930 or emailing us at info@summitdesignremodeling.com.  If you are interested in obtaining a consultation for an upcoming tile project, be sure to contact us, too!

 

 

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It’s Time for Planting: Creating Raised Flower Beds

Landscaping experts concur that fall is the best time for planting, but it can be frustrating if you have a yard that just won’t cooperate because of a poor drainage situation. Some plants may be able to handle the excess water; in fact, they may even bloom more lushly. Other plants don’t cope as well, and it can be a terrible waste of time and money when they end up perishing in the surplus water.

There is a simple process to finding out how well your yard drains (or retains) water. Dig a hole approximately ten inches deep and then fill it with water. Come back to the hole the next day (when all the water has disappeared), and fill it back up again. If the water in the hole isn’t gone within 10 hours, your soil has a low saturation point. This means that when water soaks into it, it will stick around for a long time before dissipating. A low-saturating yard makes it difficult for most plants to thrive. The only way you are going have a healthy garden under these conditions is to remedy the situation before planting.

How do you do this? You create a raised flower bed.

Raised Flower Bed

Grow a beautiful garden in a raised flower bed.

Building a raised bed is fairly easy to do. It involves creating a border for a small bed, and adding enough soil and compost to it to raise it above the rest of the yard by at least 5 inches. You’ll be amazed at how much your water drainage will be improved by this small modification.

If you want to position a raised garden in a non-grassy area, you won’t have as many steps. Start with building a bed out of 2×4′s. After you’ve created the bed, simply add soil and fertilizer (such as manure).

If you want your raised garden where a grassy area already exists, you’ll need to first begin by cutting out the sod around the perimeter of the garden and turning it over. Once this has been completed, add a layer of straw to discourage the grass from growing back. From there, build your bed, and add the soil and manure that a normal garden would need.

Planting your plants in your new area shouldn’t pose much difficulty; it is essentially the same process as any other planting. Just be sure to build your bed high enough that the roots don’t extent too far into the original ground. The whole point of creating the raised bed is to keep the roots out of the soil that holds lots of water.

Once you have plants in your new bed, you should notice an improvement almost immediately. The added soil facilitates better root development, while evaporation is prevented and decomposition is discouraged. All of these things together make for an ideal environment for almost any plant to grow.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to build the bed yourself, the ReBuild Warehouse in Springfield, Virginia can certainly be of assistance.  This not-for-profit organization constructs raised flower beds from reclaimed building materials and sells them to the public.  A standard flower bed measuring 8’Lx4’Wx15”H is available for $125 unassembled and $155 assembled.  Other sizes are also available by calling the ReBuild Warehouse for a quote.  The beds can be delivered for an additional fee of $65 for Northern Virginia and $85 for Maryland and DC.

Raised Flower Bed

ReBuild Warehouse Builds Raised Flower Beds from Recycled Building Materials

7627 Fullerton Rd.
Springfield, VA 22153
Hours: Saturdays 9am-5pm, and by appointment.

info@rebuildwarehouse.org

Warehouse: 703-440-5111
Office: 703-280-1719

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Decking Materials – What’s Right for You?

If you are considering building a new deck or replacing your old one, you’ve probably pondered about the different types of decking material available in today’s marketplace.  Should you go with one of the new composite materials or stick with the least expensive pressure-treated lumber?  The material that you choose for your deck is a very important one and will determine its cost, appearance and longevity.  Here we’ll cover the most popular deck materials in the Washington DC Metro area and touch upon the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Pressure Treated Lumber – This is the most commonly used deck material with the lowest upfront cost.  About 75% of all new decks are constructed with pressure treated lumber.

Pros

  • Economical and plentiful

Cons   

  • Highest maintenance
  • Subject to warping, splitting, cracking and splintering
  • Soft and porous material – makes it easy to scratch and stain
  • Lowest life expectancy – about 10 to 15 years if you properly maintain it with    an annual power-wash and an application of stain or wood preservative every 2 to 3 years

 

This Northern Virginia home features a pressure treated lumber deck.

This Northern Virginia home features a pressure treated lumber deck.

Redwood and Cedar (Softwoods) – This material is the next step up from pressure treated lumber and is often used by deck traditionalists.  Both redwood and cedar are known for their rich color and natural beauty.

Pros

  • Less costly than hardwood or man-made materials
  • Less prone to warping than pressure treated lumber
  • If heart wood (the older part of the tree) is used, it is more resistant to  rotting and insects
  • Glowing color and natural beauty

Cons   

  • High maintenance
  • Subject to cracking and splintering
  • Soft and porous material – makes it easy to scratch and stain
  • Life expectancy is 20 years when stained properly
  • If outer (newer) tree growth is used, life expectancy is shortened

Tropical Hardwoods – One of the most common hardwoods used in decking is Ipe (E-pay).  Similar in appearance to mahogany, Ipe is twice as strong as oak wood and more durable than redwood and cedar.

Pros

  • Life expectancy of 40 years or more
  • Naturally resistant to insects and decay
  • Virtually knot-free with tight grain patterns that make it impervious to water
  • Class A fire rating – same rating as steel and concrete
  • Beautiful appearance

Cons

  • Expensive, especially when compared to pressure treated lumber
  • Heavy and difficult to cut and drill – will require pre-drilling for fasteners
  • Doesn’t accept stain very well because it’s so dense
  • If unstained, UV blocking preservative should be used every 3 to 4 years

Beautiful Ipe hardwood is shown on this Fairfax County deck.

Composites – This is the fastest growing decking material sold today and a great alternative to wood. It is composed primarily of wood fibers and recycled plastic and made by manufacturers such as Trex.  Plastic lumber, which is very similar, is made from 100% plastic (recycled and/or virgin) and is manufactured by companies such as Azek.

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Environmentally friendly
  • No splintering
  • Resistant to cracking, splitting, and insect

Cons

  • High initial cost – more expensive than pressure treated lumber and cedar
  • Composite decking made from wood fibers and plastic may be susceptible to mold and screw holes may swell with excess moisture.  It may also fade over time.
  • The wood fibers in some composites make it soft and porous and subject to scratches and stains
  • Plastic appearance with some manufacturers
  • Composite decking made from 100% plastic fibers can be hot to the touch, especially darker colors
Deck with Blue House

A composite deck is featured in this Montgomery County home.

A professional deck installer will look at your property and consider environmental factors such as the tree canopy to determine the best decking material for you.  So whether you are ready to build that new or replacement deck tomorrow or have just started thinking about the possibilities, we’ve armed you with more information about the different decking materials available out there.  If you’d like to get an obligation free consultation, give Summit Design Remodeling a call at 703-537-0930 or 301-661-0930.

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Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary

Have you vowed to spend more time outdoors on your underutilized deck or patio?  Well, what’s stopping you?  The weather is gorgeous and there’s no time like the present to enjoy your natural surroundings!  Here are some of our tips for creating an outdoor sanctuary that will make it hard for you to want to return to your living room.

  • Comfortable Seating is a Must – Outdoor seating has come a long way since the folding lawn chairs of yesteryear.   Now outdoor furnishings can rival the most comfortable indoor sofas and chairs with plush filling and soft-to-the-touch fabrics.  Depending upon the space you have available, consider creating furniture groupings in your alfresco world.  You could place a fire pit surrounded by big, comfy chairs in one area and an oversized sofa with reclining chairs in another.
Outdoor Furniture Groupings

Separate furniture groupings are featured in this wonderful outdoor space by Sunbrella®.

  • Fuss-Free Gas Fire Pits – Fire pits are the most requested design feature in our outdoor projects and with good reason.  They truly enhance your
    outdoor space by adding a wonderful ambience. Some of our clients, though, would rather not deal with the hassle of hauling firewood or starting a wood fire.
    For those clients, we recommend a gas fire pit.   What could be simpler than pushing a button to start a smoke-free fire?   If the expense of running a gas line concerns you, then consider a propane tank fueled fire pit.  This unit also gives you the ability to move around your fire pit as needed and to store it during the winter months.
Sierra Fire Pit Table

The Sierra Fire Pit Table by Woodland Direct features a hidden standard propane tank in the space below the pit.

  • Build a Pergola for Shade – A pergola over your patio or deck creates a dappled sunlight effect that mimics standing under a tree in the heat of summer.  Not only does it provide some relief from the blistering sun, but it also adds a beautiful architectural element to your surroundings. Consider adding curtain panels to your pergola to block sunlight at certain times of the day or to create a more romantic look.
Pergola

A pergola can provide relief from the blistering sun and also add architectural interest.

  • Add a Disappearing Fountain – Enjoy the serenity of soothing water sounds without the high maintenance of a traditional fountain.  Disappearing fountains are gaining in popularity because they are super easy to keep up.  They stay cleaner because there is no pool of water to catch debris.  The basin of water is hidden beneath the fountain, while the fountain itself is usually placed on a grate surrounded by stones.  The fountains can be installed on decks or patios.   
Disappearing Fountain

Here is an example of a beautiful disappearing fountain as featured on finegardening.com.

  • Water Misting for the Dog Days – With the sometimes unbearable summer heat in Virginia and Maryland, it may be smart to invest in a misting system.   Some of the more advanced systems with pressurized pumps have the ability to drop the temperature significantly with heat absorbing water droplets.  The high humidity in our area will make the misting less-effective than a low-humidity area, but you can still expect a nice cooling effect.  An outdoor misting fan is another option when looking for relief from the heat.

Now that you have some great ideas for creating an outdoor sanctuary, there’s no excuse for not getting outside and enjoying the fresh air!

 

 

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Enhancing Your Deck and Patio with Lighting

Have you ever thought about ways to accentuate your deck or patio’s graceful lines and architecture with lighting?  Perhaps you are host to many outdoor evening soirees.  Or maybe you are looking for ways to deter would-be burglars from entering your home.  Beauty, around-the-clock usability, and safety are all reasons to consider improving or installing deck and patio lighting.  The best lighting plan will be able to address all of these matters while also saving on energy costs throughout the year.

Subtle Deck Lighting

Subtle lighting beautifully accentuates this multi-tier deck.

As a general rule of thumb, subtle lighting is the way to go when you want to illuminate your deck or patio.  It is recommended that lights be placed below eye-level and directed downward.  Not only does it play up to the drama and beauty of your deck or patio, but it is actually safer for you, your family and guests. Harsh lighting may pose a safety hazard because it makes it more difficult to discern stair height.  While on the topic of stairs, it should be noted that due to recent code changes in Fairfax County, VA and Montgomery County, MD any new staircases on decks must have stair lighting for safety reasons.

Halogen Deck Light

Here is an example of a 12 volt half-moon halogen deck light by Kichler Lighting.

The availability of solar, halogen, and LED lighting in today’s marketplace offers a wide array of options for decks and patios.  Solar lights are the least expensive and have no energy costs, but their life expectancy and brightness are not the greatest.  They may be the best choice, though, if there is no power source available.   Low-voltage halogen lights are a very good choice for outdoor lighting.  They can generally be installed affordably and use substantially less energy than standard line voltage.  Halogen bulbs last a very long time, to the tune of about 5,000 hours, and their brightness is perfectly suitable to outdoor environments.  LEDs are the newest type of lighting and are an excellent choice for decks and patios.  The bulbs are projected to last over a decade with normal use and energy costs are about a fourth of the cost of other options.  The initial investment for LEDs, however, is the most expensive.

LED Deck Light

This sleek LED post cap light by Trex integrates discreetly into the cap to provide a warm downward glow.

If you want to learn more about the different lighting options and ways to enhance your outdoor living space, set up a no-obligation consultation with Terrel White by calling 703-537-0930.  Terrel is Summit Design Remodeling’s deck and outdoor structure expert.  View our portfolio of decks and patios at http://www.summitdesignremodeling.com/gallery_decks.php.

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Decks and Outdoor Living

With winter behind us, it’s coming to that time of year to start thinking about summer and enjoying outdoor living again. Adding a beautiful new deck or patio or remodeling your existing deck or patio, can greatly expand the usable space of your home and allow you to enjoy your backyard. May is also Deck Safety Month and while it’s not quite May yet, it’s not too soon to start planning and designing your next outdoor project. Deck designs and outdoor living have evolved considerably over the years.

Multi-Tier Deck

Multi-Tier Deck

No longer are decks and patios just a place for the backyard grill (although a nice barbecue grill is still a popular feature). These days, decks are often one component of a multi-level and multi featured outdoor living space that can include decks, patios, covered porches, screened porches, pergolas, outdoor kitchens, hot tubs, firepits, pools, and much more. Having an experienced designer is really important when designing your deck or outdoor living space. Some things to consider is how you intend to use the space, how many people may be in the space at one time, what direction your backyard faces, how much of a tree canopy you have in your backyard, and, of course, your budget.

Deck with Patio

Terrel White, one of Summit’s designers takes a comprehensive approach to designing your space. One thing that he puts emphasis on is the decking material and how it will stand up to the elements and perform over time. All of our clients say they want a low maintenance deck, but not all materials are created equal. Looking at your property and considering what the deck material will be exposed to is part of his analysis. Types of decking materials include various types of wood, composite deck materials, and PVC decking. In the wood category you can use the common pressure treated pine or other hardwoods such as cedar, mahogany, teak, or the exotic Ipe. Ipe is also known as Brazilian walnut or Brazilian ironwood. Of the composite materials you can have decking that is a mix of wood and plastic fibers, capped composite decking, and solid PVC decking. Each of these materials has pros and cons and a different price tag. In the coming months we will be focusing our blog on decks and outdoor living including detailed information on the various deck materials and how to choose one from another.

Deck and Chairs

Deck with Composite Materials

We will also focus on deck lighting, outdoor kitchens, and how to extend your outdoor living season. In the interim, click here to view Summit Design Remodeling’s gallery of beautiful deck, patio, and porch projects. Hopefully, you will find some inspiration. To learn about deck safety also check out the NADRA (North American Deck & Railing Association) Deck Safety Consumer Checklist.

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What Every Homeowner Should Know About Lead Paint

As we consult with homeowners, we find that many of them aren’t fully aware of Federal regulations pertaining to lead-based paint that may affect even minor home remodeling projects. This law requires contractors to engage in “lead-safe work practices” when working on homes built before 1978.

The Background

As many consumers already know, lead was added to paint for a number of years – up until 1978, when it was officially banned from residential construction. However, before then lead paint was used in more than 38 million homes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Paint and Roller

Since April 2010, remodeling contractors must be lead-paint certified and follow specific guidelines to prevent lead contamination. Such projects include any repair, renovation and/or painting project that disturbs lead-based paint in homes, childcare facilities and schools built before 1978. The list of contractors that this affects is extensive. Besides remodelers and carpenters, other trades include plumbers, heating and air conditioning contractors, painters and window installers, just to name a few.

If you are a homeowner of a home built prior to 1978, it is important that you select a remodeler who is trained and certified in lead-safe practices. Sure, if lead is detected in your home, it is more expensive to work with a certified remodeler, but don’t cut corners by working with a contractor that doesn’t have the proper training and certification.

Lead Paint Dangers

The remodeling process disturbs the lead paint – leaving behind dust from removing old components, which can be breathed in, and paint splinters and chips that a small child or pet could ingest. In young children, lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, loss of IQ points, memory problems, lack of concentration, impaired fine motor skills and behavior problems. In adults, lead poisoning can lead to high blood pressure and damage to the brains, kidneys, stomach and nervous system. Pregnant women run the risk of passing the poison on to their unborn child.

What Are Lead-Safe Work Practices?

The EPA offers a free brochure on its website called “Renovate Right” that provides guidance to homeowners and contractors about the safe removal of lead paint. Any contractor should follow specific work practices, including these three simple procedures:

  1. Contain the work area. The first step to creating a lead-safe work area is to contain the area that is being disturbed. This involves sealing off the area by using heavy-duty plastic and tape – everything from doors to vents to the floor and furniture will all be covered in plastic. It may look like a bit of a contamination area you see in movies, but it is important to keep the dust and debris in one zone of your home and not airborne or tracked elsewhere.
  2. Minimize dust. Although your remodeler can’t eliminate the dust created from a home improvement project, paint removal methods do exist that create less dust than others, such as using water to mist areas before sanding or scraping. Contractors will also attach a HEPA filter vacuum to their power tools.
  3. Scrupulous cleanup. Once the work is completed and before taking down the plastic that isolates the work area from the rest of the home, the area will be meticulously cleaned using a HEPA vacuum on all surfaces, followed by wet mopping.

Taking these steps can protect you and your family from the harmful effects of lead. To get your lead-safe certified guide to renovating right, visit: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovaterightbrochure.pdf

 

 

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