DIY Dangers of Cement

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16 Oct 2008 00:00 by Star rating in oliva costa blanca. 38 posts Send private message´s avatar
For groundwork in the garden or DIY building jobs in the house, cement is a vital ingredient. But without taking the right precautions, this most basic of building materials can cause respiratory irritation as well as nasty skin burns. If you don’t want to end up in A&E, take heed.

DIYers with little experience of the building trade may not realise that when dry cement and water combine, it creates a powerful chemical reaction. Wet concrete draws moisture from skin and strips away protective oils and fats away so chemicals and metals can cause burns. Expose can also cause severe allergic contact dermatitis.

John Kilroe, managing director of Stockport-based Aardvark Concrete, urges DIYers to wear appropriate proper protective clothing when laying patio stones or cement bases in their home.

“There have been cases where people have actually removed their boots and socks and stood in cement in bare feet because they didn’t want to dirty their boots,” Kilroe says.
“It’s not uncommon for DIY enthusiasts to suffer terrible skin burns when coming into contact with wet cement, so it’s essential to wear proper clothing and eye protection.”
It is also dangerous in dry form. The fine abrasive powder can get airborne during handling and when inhaled it can cause irritation of the nose, throat and eyes because of the chemical reaction of the dust with the mucous membranes. Even brief contact with powdered cement can cause a skin reaction and experts advise people to quickly remove any items of clothing around the area, brush off any powder and rinse with clean cold water for at least 20 minutes.
Kilroe adds, “More and more people are getting stuck into home improvements, but jobs involving concrete should be approached with extreme caution. Suitable eye protection, good strong work boots and gloves are absolutely crucial.”

To safeguard against accidental skin exposure, it is recommended that people wear impenetrable gauntlet-type rubber gloves. However, even a tiny trace of cement dust remaining in contact with skin will significantly raise the pH level, so ensure that gloves are thoroughly clean inside. Some builders recommend that disposable gloves are used, but these must be able to withstand the caustic effects of wet cement.

High-length rubber boots can prevent contact with the skin. Trousers should overlap the boots rather than be tucked into them.

Goggles and dust masks should be worn when handling dry cement powder.

It is important to wash protective clothing daily and keep it clean and free from wet or dry concrete. Care must be taken to ensure that normal and protective clothing does not become soaked in wet concrete, as this could result in exposure over an extended period, resulting in skin damage that can be severe and even disfiguring.

When working with wet cement, make sure you don’t kneel in it. If kneeling is unavoidable, thick waterproof kneepads should be worn and a kneeling board should be used to prevent the knee pads from sinking into wet cement.

It makes sense to apply hydrophobic alkali-resistant barrier creams to arms and any areas of the skin that may accidentally come into contact with wet cement. If contact is made with the skin, wash the area in cool running water. If you treat the skin before it blisters, vinegar can be added to the water to neutralise the alkalis. Apply lanolin to replace some of the lost oils. If skin blisters, only treat the skin with water and seek medical advice.

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17 Oct 2008 11:54 by georgia Star rating in Algorfa (As seen on .... 1839 posts Send private message

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H i There,
A quick question for you and i hope you can help.
Wile staining my front door the other weekend in a dark mahogany colour,my dog knocked the tin over,realsing this would stain the terrace badly i grabbed the hose and washed it all off the edge of the terrace,(not such a great idea in hindsight),this has resulted in the stain dripping down the edge of the raised terrace onto the bordering stonework,its natural stone and now has some horrible brown streaks all the way down it.
What would you suggest to get this off,i was thinking about Agua Fuerte,would i need a wire brush to scrub it or will it just bring it off.
If there is a better product fro cleaning this i would be very grateful if you know of anything.
Kind Regards

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17 Oct 2008 12:17 by Star rating in oliva costa blanca. 38 posts Send private message´s avatar
Hi georgia 

well the damage might have already been done but you could first try sulfamente (sorry if spelling wrong sold in most supermarkets water it down 60/40 be very carefull as this will burn if that does not work you can get brick acid this is not for the diy person to use it is very dangerous and both are harmful to animals but as you said use a wire brush rubber gloves and well protect your skin and use old cloths.

The other problem with using these products is that stone changes with age i.e dirt and mould make it go darker when you use these it will bring them back to there first colouring and might make the rest of the area look bad.

I wish you luck I will have a word with my supplyers and see if he can recomend anything else that you might be able to use thats not so potent as brick acid

best of luck. 


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17 Oct 2008 15:50 by georgia Star rating in Algorfa (As seen on .... 1839 posts Send private message

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Thank you......on go the marigolds then.....
Thanks again.

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