Nowadays, many homeowners are opting for the do-it-yourself method when it comes to renovating older homes. Unfortunately, however, if a house was built prior to 1980, it’s quite likely asbestos is present. This dangerous material, once used in walls, pipes, and even floor tiles is known to release air contaminants that can cause health issues.
Fortunately, by taking a few important precautionary measures, you can still reap the rewards and satisfaction of those DIY renovations. Following is a list of facts and safety recommendations for handling asbestos.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos fibers are small and thin, look similar to dust and easily become airborne. While asbestos may appear harmless, it is quite toxic and the small fibers can settle in the lungs, heart, and abdomen, which can lead to cancer.
Common Uses for Asbestos
Being aware of all the places that asbestos could be lurking is a key factor in staying safe.
Drywall in older homes often contains asbestos fibers and doing something as simple as drilling into the drywall to install anchors can release these toxic fibers into the air.
Vinyl floors and popcorn ceilings found in homes that were built during the 1950s and 60s routinely contain asbestos. Rather than scraping or removing these finishes, it’s best to cover it, as even a face-mask will not protect from exposure of the microscopic asbestos fibers.
Attic insulation present in older structures generally has a pebble-like appearance and contains asbestos vermiculite, which needs to be removed by a professional.
Water pipes were often insulated with an asbestos material that deteriorates over time. Avoid the temptation of cutting this insulation away and consult an expert.
Asbestos is common in both homes, schools, and businesses that were built prior to the 1980s and can be found in various components of these structures including roof shingles, textured paint, cement, flooring and ceiling tiles, and certain forms of insulation. If asbestos is present, the slightest disruption of fibers can release them into the air that you and your family breathe.
Unless you plan to have asbestos professionally removed, the safest option is to leave it unobstructed.
Finally, identifying asbestos with the naked eye is virtually impossible. Therefore, if you suspect asbestos in your home or business, consider hiring an expert. Albany Asbestos performs inspections and can verify if asbestos is present in your home. To schedule your Asbestos Inspection, please call our Team: 1-800 598-4754.