Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guest Post on Home Renovation Safety

I haven't posted in a while, and that's because I haven't built anything in a while! 

I was contacted by a guy who wrote this article, which I think is good information, and he asked me to post it on my blog for awareness...  so here it is:

Stay Safe While Renovating Your Home

Renovating a home can be an exciting time, but there are also potential health risks that are involved with these types of projects. This is certainly the case when it comes to older homes. With a few simple precautions, the renovation can be completed without any problems.

One of the main safety concerns would be the dust and any fumes that can be released into the air. This can occur when cutting wood, ripping out carpet and applying glues, sealants and paints. Dust and fumes can be limited in a few ways. The use of masks and eye protection is a must for anyone in the house. Opening windows and having proper ventilation will help in this matter as well. When painting, there should be adequate ventilation as well. The use of low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paint is one way to limit the exposure to harmful vapors.

In older homes, two main concerns would be asbestos and lead based paint. Both can be removed safely, but extreme care should be taken. Both can cause serious respiratory health problems. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is specifically caused by exposure to asbestos.

For the removal of lead paint, care should be taken in regards to the creation of dust. During renovation, it is sometimes best to move out while the work is being done. Items should be moved out of the room being worked on, and furniture and larger things should be wrapped in plastic. Ventilation systems should be turned off and the room being renovated needs to be sealed off and isolated from other areas of the home. Proper breathing protecting should be worn at all times as well. When the work is completed, a proper and thorough cleaning will ensure there is no lead dust remaining. The cleaning is one of the most important steps, so care should be taken to do this thoroughly.

If there is asbestos in the home, the homeowner should not take on the task of removing this. Asbestos removal should only be done by a company that is specifically licensed to do this type of work.

By taking a few precautions, home renovations can be done safely. If in doubt about how to proceed safely, it is always best to seek out the assistance of a professional.

By: Brian Turner. Brian Turner has been working with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance as an environmental health and toxic substance safety advocate since June of 2007. Brian brings a tremendous amount of research and awareness experience in environmental health risks, environmental carcinogens, and green building expertise. Brian is very interested in all types of cars; his favorites are classic, muscle, and imports. Brian is commonly found playing and watching various sports with his friends.

Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/brian

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Seawell Ave Shotgun - Energy Star Qualified!

The Seawell Shotgun house is finished! It got finished just as a tornado was blowing overhead! I was in the house working when the storm blew over - fortunately it held together and no damage to the house. The 'hood looked like a war zone, but it's all better now. I used a British door like on my house, it looks great!

The Living room has a 16' high cathedral ceiling with original exposed beams and new whitewashed tongue-in-groove pine. With large windows and a skylight, it seems so much larger than the
exterior indicates.

The efficient kitchen has granite counters and recycled glass mosiac backsplash which look great with the stainless steel appliances!

The bathroom is larger than you would expect to find in a 700 square foot home! Very comfortable and filled with light from the skylight.

The bedroom area was originally the kitchen and bathroom, so the flooring was not salvagable. We put eco-friendly bamboo in. The door to the exterior from the bedroom goes out to the deck and backyard.

In the winter, or if we can get rid of the Kudzu, there is a view of the Raleigh skyline from the deck!

Friday, February 11, 2011

What's Next? Another house! 313 Seawell

We just started the 8th house in the Oakwood Cottages project. This one is our "bonus" house - it wasn't planned as part of the redevelopment, but recently became available. It sits just across the street from the solar house, 316 Seawell, and it is a shotgun house.

This time I have designed a home that will remain the current size of the house, 704 square feet. This will be a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom home. The house has been totally gutted, and will be renovated using as many green construction practices as we can use. It will also be insulated with Icynene Spray Foam so it's sure to be energy efficient to live in - and cozy!
The house was originally built with a pier foundation, so we are adding new footers and a curtain wall foundation. The footers were dug out earlier this week, and since the weather is cooperating with some warm temperatures, we poured concrete today.

The plans for this house call for a beautiful cathedral ceiling in the great room, with exposed ceiling joists. The kitchen will be galley style, and open to the LR. The bedroom will be large - with a large closet. I am hoping we will be able to save all the original heart-pine flooring.
The house will be built to be wheel chair accessible.

Keep checking back to watch the progress! Hopefully this one will be finished by April!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sir Walter Raleigh Award

Thanks to all who were a part of creating Oakwood Cottages! Last night I accepted a 2010 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Residential Community Projects from the City of Raleigh.

It is an honor to work with some great folks - thanks! Some pics of the Award ceremony will follow soon!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Interior just about finished

So, the house is almost finished. In addition to being "green", it's a comfortable, well planned and liveable home. So far the Solar PV has generated $187 in electricity and I've used $78 in electricity in the last two months! Not bad!
The radiant floor heat is now ready - just in time as we'll be getting some cold weather soon!
Here is the Livingroom with the first piece of new furniture - a red leather couch! The rest should be in next week.

This shot shows the dining area and kitchen. The wood on the kitchen bar is rough-hewn heart pine from another house I renovated last year.

Kitchen with concrete counters, glass mosiac backsplash and stainless steel appliances with a farmhouse sink.

This antique Set-back cabinet is about 100 years old. This house is a blend of new and old.

This shot is of the built-in hall tree at the rear entrance. The door at the left is the entrance to the downstairs bathroom.

Two story livingroom - the leaded glass windows at the top look from the upstairs home office.

Antique stainglass door at the top of the stairs. The door and windows allow the upstairs to be closed off for air temperature and sound control.

This is the office looking into the master bedroom. These doors were repurposed from a house I renovated several years ago.

The master bedroom has a fireplace (to the left of the doors) called "The Torch". Floors are Hickory.

The master bedroom ceiling is vaulted, tongue-and-groove pine pickled white.

Five foot high wainstcoting covers two of the master bedroom walls.

Antique doors re-used in the bathroom.

Master bathroom.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Delinquent Blog update!!

Ok, so I'm a bad, bad blogger. I have been so incredibly busy working on the house that I have not taken the time to blog about it. On the outside of the house, the painting is done (except for touch ups) and the landscaping is in. Thanks to Alan Wilser from T-1 Earthcare for a great job!!! All native plants except for the one Weeping Cherry tree that I insisted on - because I like them. The landscape will require very little if any irrigation once it's established. Besides that - it looks great and has a few edible plants!
The interior is taking shape nicely. Just last week we passed all the trades inspections - Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical. I'm proud of myself for installing the HVAC with no background and passing inspection on the first try! Now we'll see if the units work when the power is on!
This shot is of the area near the ceiling in the living room - antique leaded glass windows - will open for airflow and close to keep air out of my office when desireable. Also good for sound control.
The corner of the Living Room has my "splurge" gas fireplace. Very cool soapstone fireplace. Of course, these days don't inspire fireplaces since it's been over 100 in the house for most days in the last few weeks.
Here is a shot of the house from front towards the kitchen. I'm looking forward to the antique stepback cabinet being delivered - I'm reusing this old furniture and reducing the new cabinets required - very green, plus it looks cool!

Great tile work if I do say so myself. My daugher in law loves the house, but hates that there is no bath tub. She says "No woman will ever buy this house". Ok with me!
The crew from Southern Energy Management installed the solar thermal collectors a few weeks ago. It was really hot outside - I didn't envy their jobs! These 4 collectors heat a tank (see below) filled with almost 200 gallons of water.

On the top level roof the crew is installing the PV panels. They should be done in 2 more days - 20 panels will generate lots more electricity than I will likely use. It will all get sold to the grid for a price near 25 cents per Kilowatt hour, which is nice because I'll buy my electricity for 10 cents per Kilowatt hour. That and the 65% in tax credits sure make this a good deal!

Here is a photo of the 200 gallon tank in the attic - this is now operating (when I plug the pump into an extension cord). It generates tons of hot water from the solar panels. In the winter the other heat exchanger will circulate water thru the floors to heat the house.
So, tomorrow I'm scheduled for my final inspections - hope to pass and get my CO so I can get the power on. That will allow me to start up my A/C and be able to work in cooler temperatures installing trim and upstairs flooring as well as cleaning and sealing the concrete floors on the first floor.
Soon some hardscaping the backyard will go in - a paver patio/driveway, pergola, fire pit and seat wall will be up against the back of the house, with 720 square feet of space left next to the alley/driveway access for the other Oakwood Cottage houses to create a nice veggie garden!
As soon as it gets a bit cooler I'll replace my neighbor's old chain link fence with a new white picket fence and some fresh landscaping. She has been great - allowing me and my construction crews to use her land to access my house. It's nice to have such good neighbors!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Major progress!

It's nice to have a garage door! It makes the house look so much more finished and is more secure than the plywood nailed up over the opening!

The glass block is done in the master bathroom shower, tile will go in soon.

The walls are being primed inside now, and electrical fixtures/lights are going in. This is looking cool!

The stairs are in - railings will look really cool - galvanized pipe! They will be done this week.

The front door is an antique - from England, which explains why the door knob is so high up. The door was caked with layers of paint - it took 3 days to refinish, but it's beautiful! The rear doors will be fiberglass Energy Star doors, but I couldn't resist this door.

All of the interior doors will be antique - some from other houses I've done, some antiques from Englad with awesome stained glass! It will be a nice contrast to the modern floors and fixtures.