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Asbestos in the Home – Getting started with a DIY basement remodel

Although most of your free time might be spent on the deck or outdoor patio these days, summer is the perfect time to take care of a few indoor renovations. Instead of being trapped indoors with the mess of a remodel in winter, summer allows you to escape the clutter of tools and paint fumes. Plus daylight savings time is a huge plus! Here are a few starting tips to tackle that basement renovation that’s been on your to-do list.

Do you want a downstairs apartment for your returning college kid? Or a theater room for movie nights and lounging? Maybe that man cave you saw online made you realize a full bar, pool table, and dartboard would be a great escape only a few stairs away. The “theme” of the room determines the appropriate must haves like a laundry room, bathroom or movie theater seating, etc. So once you have a rough concept, you can start brainstorming framing, electrical and plumbing. DIY basement renovations are becoming more and more popular, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the appropriate logistics like blueprints and necessary organization. A quick sketch to start can put your ideas and visions into tangible form, making it easier to plan the perfect room while avoiding any irreversible mistakes. Better to come up with a few revised layouts before installing fixtures and moving heavy furniture.

Basements are great for keeping cool in hotter weather, but there are downsides of being 10 feet under. Dangerous, lung cancer causing gases like radon can be emitted from the soil, which then can seep into buildings through openings and cracks in concrete. Be sure to use a radon test kit before developing any plans of a new basement. Another issue commonly found in basements is moisture or water damage, which poses the risk of mold. Although not all molds are dangerous, black mold is one example that can cause nasal congestion, skin irritations, eye inflammation, or even fungal infections of the lung. A complete overhaul most likely requires drilling, cutting and even removing major components of the room, so if your house was built before 1980 it’s extremely important to check for asbestos. Places to be extremely cautious include insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, cement pipe, and heating ducts. A licensed asbestos abatement professional should always be hired to do this work in order to avoid damaging the asbestos and potentially inhaling the microscopic fibers known to cause mesothelioma cancer.

Bonus summer tip:

Take it slow. Summer is a time to relax and have fun, so work for an hour or two but don’t forget to enjoy a cold drink during your breaks. Get outside, collect your thoughts, and maybe discover a new concept for that tricky corner of the room!

The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is an online resource for anyone interested in learning more about asbestos exposure and its connection to mesothelioma. Major topics covered include types of asbestos, common asbestos products as well as mesothelioma types, stages, and treatments.