Protecting the Job Site

The first step in protecting an existing floor is to lay out the rosin-paper border at the edges of the room. Making a sharp crease where the paper meets the wall allows it to sit flat and reduces the risk of tearing when the floor is swept and vacuumed.

Once the rosin-paper border has been fastened to the wall with blue tape, sheets of 1/4-inch hardboard are laid over the existing flooring and attached to the rosin paper with duct tape.

Adjoining sheets can be either butted or overlapped. Butt joints are held together with a single layer of duct tape, overlapping joints with a double layer.

The hardboard floor covering is left in place for the duration of the job; the rosin paper can be folded out of the way to attach new baseboard, then taped back in place to prevent damage to the new base.

The top and bottom plates of temporary dust partitions are padded with strips of sill seal or carpet padding.

Padded end studs are wedged between the plates to force the assembly tightly into the opening.

Plates and studs are fastened together with drywall screws driven into predrilled holes. The temporary wall is held in place by friction alone — no fasteners are used to secure the framing to the finished surfaces.

Stick-on zipper doors aren't very durable, but they’re inexpensive and easy to install, so the author uses them for lightly traveled passages. The cords taped to the poly above the zippered flap are used to tie the door in the open position.

A weatherstripped hollow-core door is a better choice for heavily used openings between living space and work area.

To protect low windows in areas where an existing floor will be demolished, the baseboards are removed and a series of screws are driven into the wall just below the height of the eventual replacement base.

The windows are then covered with sheets of hardboard that rest on the screws at the bottom and are taped to the wall along their upper edges.

When protecting carpeted stairs with sticky roll plastic, it's important to cover the risers and full width of each tread, not just the portion that will get walked on. The landing above the steps will be covered with hardboard.

The tread and nosing of hardwood stairs are covered with Pro Tecta Top. The unprotected MDF risers will be painted later.

Fragile light fixtures are removed from the work area and hung from the garage framing to keep them out of harm’s way. A sheet of plastic draped over the framing and fixture and fastened with tape keeps them free of dust.

Two coats of Liquid Mask are brushed on to the perimeter of the tub, leaving a rubbery coating that prevents it from being scratched by the plywood cover.

A plywood cover is duct-taped to the Liquid Mask.

Cabinet doors, drawers, and removable end panels are stacked on inexpensive plastic shelves that are easily knocked down for transport to the job site. Corrugated cardboard or sheets of foam between items prevent scratches, and a covering of poly provides dust protection.

Cabinets are protected with sheets of hardboard secured with duct tape. The bottom edges of the hardboard extend only to the top of the kickspace to permit finishing the floor with the hardboard still in place.

Protective sheets of 1/4-inch plexiglass are fastened to door or window jambs with screws driven through slightly oversized predrilled holes in the plexiglass.

Proprietary jamb protectors wrap easily around openings and stay in place without fastenings.

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