We are proceeding with renovations! We have done this before, under different conditions, and so I had an idea for the steps I should take. As we go along I keep adding more, which is appropriate since nothing is ever as simple as you think it will be. Here are my guidelines so far…
1. Ask yourself if you are sure you need to do this renovation because working with what you already have is frequently the better path for most of us with chemical sensitivities. I don’t always follow this step, see Lingering Denial.
2. Keep your plan as simple as possible to minimize material and time exposure.
3. Find a reputable contractor who is completely in sync with your needs and will make them his absolute priority. Or someone you can scare.
4. Compile a list of materials with your contractor, ask him to think of every little thing he is going to need – solid, liquid, gas, whatever.
5. Take the list from you contractor and research material sources for each until you find some promising brands. “Green” keywords can be helpful but another MCS patient recommendation is better.
6. Determine a time frame that will work best for you, taking into account the time it takes to acquire the materials and knowing the enivatable contractor delays. If you can find a way to be out of the air space for the worst of it, do it.
7. Test your material choices if you can.
8. Don’t start the job until you have all the materials ready, in hopes that the project can be done as quickly as possible.
9. Post a warning sign at the job site.
10. Have someone check the job site all the time to make sure no unapproved materials are being used.
11. Hope, pray, cross your fingers, whatever you can do.
12. Share your results with the MCS community so we can all learn.
Dumpster for clean out
Move water filter, build housing for it
Electric, old wire clean up,new outlets and fixtures installed
Exterior wall build
Extend A/C ductwork
Don’t Endanger the Homeowner!
This home is occupied by a person who can be severely harmed by certain chemicals and materials. Do not use any materials without prior approval of the General Contractor. This includes flooring, plywood, drywall, joint compound, wall texture, caulk, adhesives, paint, sealants, lubricants, or grout.
Remember, I am not using these products myself nor do I expect the space to be safe for me immediately. That is just not reasonable. I am looking for materials that will stabilize within two weeks.
Drywall=CertainTeed AirRenew M2Tech gypsum board
This product claims to actually clean VOCs out of the air – hmmm, doubtful.Still, it is the one we are going to try for the first time, though lots of MCS patients go for MGO or Magnesium Oxide Wallboard.
Joint Compound=Murco M-100 All Purpose Joint Compound
We have successfully used this product before. It is mixed on site which is time consuming and the workers may complain but it is necessary to avoid a lot of the additives and preservatives. Buy online from manufacturer.
Paint=AFM primer and paint. We have used the AFM many times before and while it needs a few weeks to outgass before I can be in the space for an extended time, afterwards it is fine. That is usually the nature of low or no VOC paints – they take longer to cure but then are safer. Mythic and Anna Sova brand paints get a lot of MCS recommendations too. Anna Sova is food based even, some MCS patients claiming they can smell it right out of the can. Don’t forget that whatever chemicals are already in the walls and woodwork may change the smell of any new paint.
Caulk=Phenoseal from local hardware and AFM Safecoat Multi-Purpose Caulk. I would prefer to use the AFM exclusively but have learned that we need the Phenoseal on hand for certain jobs. Given the small amount that will be needed, it should be fine.
Insulation=Johns Manville formaldehyde free fiberglass insulation from Lowes. This is a new one for us to try, fingers crossed. I also found good feedback on EccoBatt insulation, Airkrete insulation, and Bonded Logic’s UltraTouch denim product insulation.
Tile & Grout=Glazed ceramic tile laid with C-Cure 922 thinset and then C-Cure Grout 911. If these products are too difficult to obtain, we may have to look locally. I need something low VOC, with minimal additives beyond the concrete and sand. We should be able to use AFM’s grout sealer to help seal in whatever goes wrong with the thin set and grout.
Lastly, you may be wondering what happened to all the stuff that was in the scary tool shed and over stuffed laundry room…