Hello there concrete crafters and DIY'ers!
The other day I was thinking, hey it would be nice to make some new decorative steps going up to my fish pond. It's that time of year when we start to think of concrete DIY projects and craft ideas. There are so many ways to use concrete aren't there? Lots of us are making concrete planters, stepping stones and other things to decorate our patios and decks. There are lots of people selling their concrete creations too. It's so nice to see people out there making amazing things for others to enjoy. So let's discuss concrete & cement safety.
When working with concrete or cement, it doesn't matter if you are in the construction industry, are an Etsy shop owner, teach classes, or you are someone that loves to make concrete creations. Wearing the proper respirator mask when working with concrete is the only way to protect yourself and others from the dust that seems to explode out of the bag when you open it.
Even if you are working with concrete outside, there are still little particles that are floating around when you are mixing up your concrete and that's the stuff that you want to keep out of your eyes and lungs. So if you are just playing around with using concrete or have a small business and need to keep your employees safe, here is what you need to know.
Concrete is usually made from three basic components: water, an aggregate (rock, sand, or gravel), and cement. You will most likely be using concrete for your DIY projects.
Cement is made from a combination of elements and ingredients, (and keep in mind that this formula is different depending on the manufacturer). Some of the common ingredients of cement can be shale, silicon, calcium, clay, aluminum, chalk, iron, limestone, shells, sand and more.
As crafters and makers, we want to get into our projects and sometimes we forget about the safety part. We need a mask that is comfortable and doesn't get in the way of what we are doing. We are going to talk about exactly what you need to look for when purchasing the proper respirator mask when you are working with concrete and mixing mediums, and let's not forget about the powdered colorants that we mix into the concrete too.
There are many respirator masks to choose from when working with concrete and cement, but finding a mask that checks all of the safety boxes can be difficult.
The best respirator mask for mixing concrete will be a full-face respirator that covers your whole face, as opposed to a half-face respirator because it covers your eyes too. This will help prevent dust particles from getting into your eyes. So a full face mask gives you added value in eye protection. Some people like to use a half-face respirator for mixing concrete and then wear goggles for their eyes. We find it way easier to have an all-in-one unit. But it is also a matter of preference. The key point here is to make sure the eyes, nose and mouth are properly protected and sealed inside the mask. The mask that we will suggest below will fit over most SMALL eye glasses, but be sure to double check the measurements to make sure it will work with your eyeglass set.
This is very important. How do you know if you have the proper respirator mask when working with concrete or cement? A quality respirator mask will have an N95 or N95 equivalent rating which means that it will block 95% of small particles. According to the FDA, a small particle means around the size of 0.3 microns.
Concrete and cement have different particle sizes. They are likely going to vary in size depending on what brand and mixture you are using, and also what the concrete is being used for. Particle size ranges will depend on how finely the mixtures are prepared and milled by the manufacturer.
Concrete particles can be anywhere from about 15 microns and up, and are typically smaller than 45 microns. This is what you will most likely be using for your DIY projects.
Cement particles can be anywhere from 3-100 microns and can be even smaller depending on how finely the powder is milled. Remember, cement is what's used to make concrete.
The above are average particle sizes in cement and concrete, check with the manufacturer so you know the EXACT numbers. You can check the manufacturer's MSDS sheets for the exact materials in the brand of concrete or cement you are going to be using and you can read even more about cement particles in this article by The American Ceramic Society.
A large factor when looking for the best respirator mask for concrete DIY's is the comfort. The best masks will feel comfortable on your face. You will also need a mask that is adjustable to the size of your head. Having a proper fitting, adjustable respirator mask is very important because then it will have the proper seal against your face for safety, and feel good at the same time.
Whether you are making new planters, concrete jewelry, stepping stones, pouring new countertops, creating beautiful flower impressions, or even requiring a mask for your concrete business, you will need the proper respirator face mask to protect yourself from the dust. We believe the best respirator mask is the PD-100 Respirator from Parcil Distribution.
The filters on a proper respirator mask for concrete will be able to filter 95% of the particles according to NIOSH standards.
This one size fits most respirator mask has filters that are rated N95 equivalent. This safety mask is pretty comfortable as far as masks go because it has a 'flex-fit' head harness and high-density elastic straps, which means it stays in position once you adjust it to your head. There is no constant adjusting while you are creating your concrete creations. Simply put it on, adjust it, and get started with your lovely ideas.
This mask also has an anti-fog face lens, so don't worry about your breath fogging up the inside visor! It is silicone-based around the nasal area, so it is as comfortable as a full mask can be. It also has five easy to adjust straps which can be tightened with just one pull.
Beware of fakes. They may be less expensive but without the proper testing, you really don't know what you are getting as far as safety. So to make sure you get the proper mask and not a knock off, I recommend purchasing it directly from this company, especially since it comes with a 1-year factory warranty. There's a lot of masks out there pretending to be the real deal.
We hope you found this article useful and informative when making your concrete crafts and DIY projects. As creators, we should always think of safety first and we hope this article gave you some extra knowledge so that you can create your beautiful concrete art safely and also protect those who are working in your concrete Etsy shops, small businesses, or classrooms.
Here's a pin for your safety or concrete Pinterest boards.
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