Demolition, Drywall, and Kids: Controlling Dust

By: Mark Clement , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Construction, Old House Musings

In room-by-room remodels like the one we have going now there are some things I want to remain in the room in question (dust, debris) and there are some that I need cordoned off from the jobsite (kids, in this case) while still providing me the easy access I need.

I’ve found two terrific—and simple and cheap—solutions.

One, I call a blast gate and the other is, get this, a piece of cardboard.

Old House Remodeling: Blast Gate

This name may be ambitious, but the technique delivers.

To seal one of the two entries to this project (a kitchen in this case) I fabricate what amounts to a screen door frame. It fits an opening in a passageway, in this case the entrance to the kitchen hallway. I cut 1×4s to fit inside the opening with at least ¼ inch of clearance all around. I join them with drywall screws a ½ plywood gussets.

Next, I cut 6 mil clear sheet plastic 4 inches (give or take) bigger than the door and staple it to the frame.

I then use hinges and a screen door spring to hang the door in the opening. Depending on the job and other conditions there are lots of ways to hang the door. You can fasten into the existing trim. You can friction-fit your own jamb or take another approach I haven’t thought of yet.

The plastic that sits proud of the door acts as a gasket, pretty much sealing the door all the way around. Setting the spring tight closes the door positively. A screen door handle enables you to pull it open. A 1×4 or plywood ripper across the middle gives you something to push against when you push it open and helps hold the plastic.

I’ve had one up for months during this kitchen job.

The best news is that I can work my way through with nary a problem. Yet, the baby on-site (my son ) can’t pull the door open. Perfect.

Old House Remodeling: Cardboard

The second entry to the kitchen doesn’t need to be used so I seal it completely off from the adjacent room by screwing and taping a large piece of cardboard left over from my cabinet delivery.

Simple and cheap.