When you’re considering remodeling your home one of the first things you should do is to call in a professional or someone who has received extensive asbestos training. This person should help with finding asbestos in areas where you may never even look. However, since most professionals are expensive you may want to save money and do it yourself. Fortunately, if you know where to look detecting the presence of this deadly fiber is not difficult.
If you have purchased a home that was built between 1920 and 1979 then it’s safe to assume that it’s laden with asbestos. Back then asbestos was renowned as a miracle fiber which was far less expensive when compared to regular fire retardants. This is what made them desirable in homes and all new homes back then were laden with asbestos especially pipe insulations and ductwork, as well as in vinyl flooring, attic insulation and the wall.
Asbestos based materials were not just limited to the homes built back then. Many of the homes that were built prior to 1940s also have asbestos which is a part of the insulation and the heating system. Homes built prior to the 1900s also have asbestos because remodeling projects often used asbestos based materials to reinforce weak structures and insulate the heating systems. This is why before you remodel your home familiarize yourself with all the usual places where asbestos can be hidden.
Heating duct insulation
In older homes especially dating back to the 60s and 70s asbestos paper was wrapped around heating ducts in the home. There were two types of materials that were used to wrap ducts one looked like white paper while the other looked a lot like plaster of paris.
Boilers, water pipes and water heaters
The same paper like insulation was also used on water heater pipes and boilers. However, the plaster of paris type wrap may look darker than usual owing to its years of service.
Cement based asbestos for roof shingles
In the 1920s right up to 1960s asbestos fibers were combined with regular Portland cement to manufacture fire resistant and durable roofs. If your home’s roof dates back to the 60s or 50s, it may be worth checking them for asbestos as there is a 79% chance that they do contain asbestos.
Acoustic tiles for the ceiling
There were some of these tiles that contained asbestos. That said it is impossible to really know if your ceiling contains high levels of asbestos without getting samples checked by a laboratory. However, keep this possibility in mind when renovating your home.
Both vinyl and asphalt floor tiles dating back to the 1920s contained lots of asbestos fibers. If you’re going to remove layers of flooring from your kitchen then be careful because even if the top layer is new i.e. dating back to the 90s, the older layer underneath may contain asbestos. However, like ceiling tiles this is hard to tell without a thorough laboratory analysis of various samples taken from the floor.
What to do if your home contains asbestos?
Having asbestos in your home does not automatically label it has being dangerous to your family’s health. Good condition asbestos will not end up releasing its tiny fibers into the air making it dangerous for everyone. The best policy is to leave it alone if you do not necessarily need to remodel that specific area. However, if the place is damaged or is decaying or you’re seeing that asbestos particles are being released into the air then it’s time to call in someone who has received asbestos training.
A qualified asbestos inspector should be able to check your home for signs of danger and then get to work on removing the threat from your home. Many professionals will start by collecting various samples from your home prior to actually labelling it as being dangerous and hence warranting a cleanup.
Finding signs of asbestos during a DIY remodeling project is a frightening prospect. However http://asbestosremoval.net.au strongly believes that educating yourself about the fiber and your old home is the key to being prepared to handle these types of unpleasant surprises. If you do not feel equip to handle the situation then it’s best to call in professionals.
Mark has been in the business of asbestos removal for over twenty years. He not only specializes in removing the threat but also provides asbestos training to people who aspire to become removal specialists themselves. When he’s not removing hazardous waste from buildings he is often writing about it on his blog.