Rehabbing homes can be a great chance to turn investment opportunities into a career. We’ve discussed tips, tricks, and other helpful information for the rehab and flipping of properties but there are health hazards to be aware of. These can be present at any property but there are ways to rule them out or have them repaired and still turn a profit.
- Asbestos: This was used in homes built before 1980 and can be found in walls, insulation, siding, roofing, flooring caulk, window glaze drywall, and joint compounds or plaster. Extended periods of exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer or mesothelioma, hence the general ban of the product. It can still be found on properties and the testing for it can be very cheap. Abatement of the property is required and it is always wise to get a professional to look at and remove anything you suspect to contain this harmful compound.
- Lead: Everyone has heard of “lead based paint,” and it was used for speedy dry times, durability, and long lasting wear, but it is a health and environmental concern and was banned in 1978 in the US. Lead can cause damage to the nervous system and kidneys as well as stunt grown. When possible, it is recommended to fully remove anything which may contain lead based paint because the stripping process can lead to exposure of the toxic metal. Avoid doing this on your own since federal law requires removal to be performed by trained, certified contractors.
- Mold: This can be found in any home, regardless of age. Areas of high moisture are at the highest risk of mold growth. While some molds are just unsightly, others can cause health problems or structural damage, so it’s best to remove the mold and find the source of the moisture. The testing for mold can be expensive, but it can decrease the health risks involved.
- Mercury: It can be found in heating systems, thermostats, fluorescent bulbs, and more. Proper disposal of items containing mercury (like bulbs) will reduce the risk of contamination and leaks. This is especially important since the mercury releases an odorless and toxic vapor which can cause severe health problems even with small amounts of exposure. Use of respirators and proper coving garments is highly recommended.
- Radon: This noble gas is radioactive, colorless, odorless, and tasteless so detection can be tricky without proper equipment. Properties may be built over radon concentrations and the gas may leak into the property, putting inhabitants or workers at risk. Pipe work may need repairs or maintenance if radon is suspected.
- Underground Oil Tanks: Old heating oil takes buried on a property can cause future problems, especially if an excavation is performed for any reason around the tank. Magnetic scanners and soil tests can easily help discover these tanks before a leak can cause damage.
- Other: Pressure-treated lumber may contain arsenic and other potentially deadly chemicals. Combustion appliances can become dangerous when not handled or maintained properly. Gas leaks or sparks can lead to huge messes and health concerns. Volatile Organic Compounds can be found in paint, glue, cleaners, carpets, flooring, upholstery, or any wood finishes. These can cause headaches, memory problems, respiratory problems, and more when exposed for long periods of time. This can happen easily due to their general lack of odor.