House Sweeping & Cleaning Best Practices, Dos and Don’ts
The 1st thought of cleaning up a construction site is sweeping. Sweeping is the majority of the entire cleaning effort on every project. There is a right way and right time to sweep a house. Sweeping too much can cause a dust storm and covers the entire house and increases cleaning time overall. Not sweeping enough in the early stages on postpones the dust storm that is enviable, and the volume of the dust cloud is increased and will take longer for the homeowner to remove the dry and dusty feeling with a stale air smell.
The most important factor in selecting equipment Is how much use can I get out of it, how much it cost, how much time it takes from doing the project and how much time does it take to ship and maintain the equipment. At Atlanta Clean tech we prefer the HDX Brand Brooms and the big box store brooms. We feel that a light string broom is easy to use, and it doesn’t wear you out after an entire day of cleaning. Shop vacs are big, heavy, and expensive. Also, the exhaust fan moves too much air which stirs up a lot of dust that will be everywhere from the walls to windows and the floor to the ceiling. A lightweight metal handle broom that has strong enough bristles to move big chunks of debris plus fine enough to get sheetrock dust.
A framed house should be push broom swept as best as possible before they wrap the house. Once they wrap the house the dust is trapped. After the house is wrapped the house should be swept up with a metal angle broom. On this sweeping pre-drywall, you can be as aggressive as possible. All the wall cavities should be swept out to. Even though you can’t see this dust you can feel it and smell it. The homeowner will never be able to get this dust-out and dust will contentiously come out of the walls every time there is a pressure change in the house. Either caused by opening and closing doors/ windows or turning on the HVAC. A clean house stays clean and will have more professional work that is safely done.
The next opportunity to sweep and a post-drywall sweep. The drywallers should have mudded the entire house and cleaned up after themselves but as you know this is construction. On these sweeps, there are usually heavier trash that is left behind. These people that work for you will clean up after themselves if you follow up with them. If you don’t follow up with them then it’s just a suggestion. Send them pictures of what they left behind and let them know I’ll pick it up for you this time but next time I’m going to send you a back charge to pay the cleaners to do it.
After the house is painted this is when the new homeowners love to come to visit their future home unannounced. With our 30 years in the business, painters make the biggest mess. Sometimes I feel like they are wasting paint on purpose. There is no reason to cover the entire window in paint. It takes us extra time and supplies to clean a house with sloppy painters. All of the floors will be covered before the carpet is installed and all of the dust needs to be removed before putting the carpet or hardwood floors down.
After the house gets closed with doors and windows presents another opportunity to get the trapped dust that got tracked in by the construction workers. You do not want to sweep as aggressively as you did after framing because you will stir us dust which will cause more cleaning time. Use gravity to your advantage. Sweep from the top down and you can do at least 2 rounds of sweeping. Most dust will settle within 1 hour but after a week with no air movement or HVAC running with produce the most settled dust. If you want to get everything out dry then you can get it out wet by mopping. We see a lot of smeared floors by either dirty mop water or too much dust on the floor. Good efficient sweeping with a. constant speed will remove the most dust or dirt. Work from the back out the front door. Work every room from right to left so no room is left behind. Don’t forget about the hallways and stairs.
After the floors are installed, they put down cardboard to protect the floors from being damaged by the construction workers. It’s best the install the heavy appliances while the cardboard is down or have the installer provide floor protection. Please do not remove the cardboard until all the major work is complete. The worst-case scenario is when the cardboard is removed prematurely, and dust gets deep into the grooves and cracks of the hardwood floors. Once it gets in there it’s hard to get out after a high humid day. The water reacted with the sheetrock dust and makes a white concrete disaster. Floors are very expensive and do not need to be replaced. We have a couple of tricks including a hardwood floor cleaning machine. It’s like a vacuum cleaner but it sprays down cleaning solution, scrubs it, and sucks up their dirty water. If that doesn’t work, we have a couple of other secret tricks. Now all of this could have been avoided if all the sweeping was done beforehand. Or if the cardboard stays down until all major work is completed and as much dust is removed before removing the cardboard off of the floors. Before you remove the cardboard, you want to know all the dust off of every flat surface. Even the tiny tiny flat surfaces on the top of a light switch or electrical outlet, trim or baseboard. The easiest thing to do for outlets and baseboards it to hit it with a broom and rag for the higher light switches.
When you’re ready to remove the cardboard do it carefully without stirring up dust and avoid touching the walls. Folding the cardboard on itself to trap the dust in small enough sections to carry out of the house and fit into the trash can by the street. Tape is used to keep the cardboard in place. It’s important that the cardboard doesn’t move around because it can create a dry sandpaper event on the new floors. Repair any holes and replace tape as needed to avoid extra time or money on the floors. The hardwood floors is the most important feature of a new homeowners house. As you remove the cardboard pick up all the tape off the floors. It’s nice to sweep the entire floor without bending over. You will also have to bend over to remove the paint splatter. It pops right off with a 5&1 tool or you can attach and putty knife to the opposite side of the broom. If that doesn’t work, use Dirtext. If that doesn’t work, you can use goof off or lacquer thinner. I prefer to stick with Dirtext so no warranty is voided. Get everything out dry sweeping then the house is ready to mop. Taking shortcuts and mopping without sweeping will only cause more work and time or looks very bad. It’s important to work from the top down and use gravity. Don’t forget about the baseboards and outlets.
After the final clean the floors are not protected. If painters are scheduled after the final make sure they use drop clothes. Paint left on the floor takes a lot of extra back-breaking work. Sometimes we have to get on our hands and knees, and we would like to avoid that as much as possible. Sometimes if the painters are really sloppy the reclean could take longer than the final clean. This is always unfortunate for the builder to hear that they need to pay more because of the carelessness of the painters. Painting is a lot of effort, but I personally judge a painter by how they clean up.
After the final and the recleans happen then the normal dust starts to roll in by the customers, agent, and everyone coming into the house. Spider webs will start to build in the corners and can be knocked down by a broom. It’s best to call a pest professional before the spiders rebuild their web. At this stage the more you sweep the cleaner the house will be. Sweeping and wiping will keep the house clean and keep your biggest investment in tip-top shape.
Having a good sweeping plan will provide a safer worksite with more professionals matching their craftmanship to the job site’s quality. It will overall increase your overall quality. Quality starts and ends with cleaning and in construction sweeping is most of the job just don’t waste your time and effort sweeping the wrong stages or creating more problems/ a cleaning effort. So sweep early, sweep often, and get rid of the dust because it isn’t going anywhere. For the best home sweeping service hire Atlanta Clean Tech.