I am about to start on a remodel project that involves framing in part of the attic for a bonus room. More importantly this will also involve knocking down a few walls near the living room and kitchen in order to make room for stair. I suspect there will be a decent amount of dust created through this.

My question is, what is the best way to contain this dust? Will simply taping some plastic up be enough? If I do use plastic, how do I allow walking from the construction side to the living side? An additional bonus if easily achievable is the ability to dampen sound from one side to the other.

2 Answers 2


If you simply tape up the plastic it will fall down. It will not matter whether you use painters plastic or heavier weight stuff. Dust walls are important, more important than that is they stay up. A leak or rip in the wrong place will still let the room get clouded with dust.

I build my dust wall with 4 mil poly and 2X4s. In areas of finished floors I use poly on the floor for spills and 1/4" plywood seamed with duct tape for durability, from dropping framing material and such. If I am using plywood protection, I build the 2X wall on the edge of the plywood. To save a lot of explanation, here is a sketch. dust wall

I have added a few pics of my last job where I built this type of dust wall, the pics were to highlight details behind the drywall after it was covered, not to highlight the dust wall, although the details show a little of the idea I am trying to get across. Davis wall1

enter image description here

To evacuate the dust I plan ahead where I can set up a box fan that runs full time while demo is going on. This fan went in where a new window was going in, it stayed after the window was set to get the drywall dust out while sanding.

For the entrance, I do not like the zippered openings that cut into the plastic, at points in time the traffic will be heavy in and out of this space, I have tripped many times going through the zippered opening. In time I have ripped it and had dust coming out, dusting the floor, Try taping over this area again, or any area once a seal has failed. If the though is being more careful, it is easy to say, but try being careful with a large heavy item in your hands walking backwards bring in a load of materials, it only takes one time. To get past this I use a double flap of poly 4' wide at the other end of the room from the fan so the air is always drawn in through the flap door into the work space. There is a walk area outside to protect when a person steps out to keep the trash coming off the shoes. This must be strictly maintained or a trail will end up going through the house.


Contain mess

Taping up plastic works pretty well. Don't forget to also block off HVAC vents (and possibly even turn the HVAC system off).

Usually you'd leave a big overlapping section of two panels of plastic to form a 'door'. Brush yourself off and take off shoes before coming through, and it will reasonably (but not 100%) contain the mess.

Even better is if you can dedicate an outside entrance (eg, back door) to construction use.

Noise isolation

As far as blocking sound, there's really no way.

If it was going to be a long project, in theory, you could maybe build a temporary, insulated wall with double-layered or sound-isolated drywall (read: quite expensive) but even that is going to only reduce noise a little bit. Take a look at [tagged:sound-proofing] questions, or go take a quick look around the internet at what's involved with building a noise-isolated home theater or rehearsal room and you'll see what I mean.

Sound is vibrations, and blocking low frequency vibrations in particular is very difficult. Power tools and hammering make low frequency vibrations.

In many cases, it can easier, faster, cheaper, and more effective to simply move the family into a hotel for a couple days, and just get the noisy, disruptive work done without having to worry about maintaining usable living/kitchen/whatever space while working and/or at the end of each day.

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