An Isolation Chamber Limits Cleanup Time on Dirty DIY Projects

If you have ever lived through a dirty remodeling project, you know there is nothing that raises more dirt or dust than cutting through a masonry wall. You can drape plastic sheets over all your furniture and keep the doors closed, but dust still manages to get all over the house. During one of our DIY projects we had to make a hole through a brick wall for an exhaust fan; I was cleaning up red dust for weeks all over the house, even though we kept the doors shut and tried to confine the dirt. 

For the above reason, I stalled for years on having a sump pump installed in a corner of my living room. The living room is three feet below ground level; the the walls are brick and block and the floor is concrete. Ground water seeps up from under the floor every couple of years. It takes least 4-inches of rain within 24 hours for the ground water to rise to the floor level, and fortunately this doesn’t happen often in my area. Consequently, I procrastinated on doing anything about the problem.

But I finally decided I had to get it done no matter how dirty it was going to be. I hired a contractor who came highly recommended; he came with two helpers. They arrived early in the morning and went right to work moving all the furniture into one corner and covering it with plastic sheeting. Once the area where the sump pump was going to go was cleared, I was surprised to see the two helpers begin to tape plastic sheeting to the ceiling. They completely draped the corner. Once the plastic was securely taped to the ceiling; they began to tape the bottom of the sheeting to the floor. Once the top and bottom were firmly attached, they taped both sides to the walls on each side of the corner.

With the plastic sheeting enclosing the area, they actually created an isolation chamber about 6′ x 6′ that included one window. They removed both sashes from the window and positioned a ladder below the window. The window was then used as a door; none of the men ever walked through the house. All their tools were passed in and out through the window.

A small shop/vac was running inside the work chamber almost constantly as they cut through the ceramic tile and six-inch cement floor with a jack-hammer. The hole needed to be 18-inches in diameter and three feet deep. Another hole had to be drilled through the wall for the discharge pipe.   All the concrete trash and dirt was passed out the window in 5-gallon plastic buckets.

A day and a half later, the job was finished and the cleanup began, but the only cleanup needed was a little painting of the ceiling where the masking tape left some marks.  For the cost of a box of plastic sheeting and a roll of painter’s tape the contractor saved himself and me hours of cleanup.