If you are purchasing a home that was built prior to the 1980s, there is the potential for asbestos to be contained within your home. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which is composed of long, thin fibers which were sought for their benefits of thermal insulation while being fire resistant. More predominantly found within the 1950 to 1960s eras of property development, asbestos typically lined pipes and ducts for heating systems, sealers on heating boilers, in roofing products, siding, stucco, plaster, drywall compound, panelling, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, wall and attic insulation, as well as in asbestos cement pipe totally some 3000 products and textiles.
While asbestos can lie dormant in your home for years, and we stress will pose no current health risk to your family, it can if disturbed. Once asbestos is agitated, broken apart, or destroyed, its tiny fibers can be inhaled or ingested and can place you at risk for asbestos related cancers, the most common being mesothelioma. Although asbestos cannot be visually identified by an untrained eye, the training of an experienced building inspector can assist you in being aware of its existence if you are potentially buying the property, or stresses the importance even more of why we recommend inspections to be performed prior to renovations on a property you currently own. If a home inspector suspects you have asbestos contained in your home, a licensed asbestos abatement company can send trained asbestos professionals to your home to positively identify the contaminated areas through testing. If asbestos is located within your home, it is much safer to leave it intact if it has not been friable (disrupted). Remedying non-friable asbestos can create an unnecessary asbestos hazard. But if the current contaminated site shows signs of friable disruption are not about to be renovated home owners have the option to seal off the area. These repairs are sufficient to ensure the asbestos cannot enter your breathing space. If renovations are unavoidable, the asbestos should only be remediated by a licensed asbestos removal company. Asbestos can become disrupted in some of the following situations:
- Disturbing loose-fill vermiculite insulation which may contain asbestos
- Removing deteriorating roofing shingles and siding containing asbestos, or tampering with roofing felt that contains asbestos
- Ripping away old asbestos insulation from around a hot water tank
- Sanding or scraping vinyl asbestos floor tiles
- Breaking apart acoustical ceilings tiles containing asbestos
- Sanding plaster containing asbestos, or sanding or disturbing acoustical plaster that gives ceilings and walls a soft, textured look
- Sanding or scraping older water-based asbestos coatings such as roofing compounds, spackling, sealants, paint, putty, caulking or drywall
- Sawing, drilling or smoothing rough edges of new or old asbestos materials
When it became evident that exposure to asbestos was associated with health risks there was a dramatic decline in asbestos use starting in the early 1980s. The use of asbestos insulation in properties and heating systems has virtually disappeared. Residential use for roofing, flooring, and appliances continues to steadily decrease as well. While alternative products are being developed to replace asbestos, products current sold containing asbestos are regulated under the Hazardous Products Act. Hiring the trained eye of a building inspector will assist you in being fully knowledgeable about a property you intend to purchase, or help you avoid detrimental health effects from renovations. To schedule an inspection today contact us at Building Pro Inspectors, 250 862 1054.