Asbestos in Old Homes: Information and Tips

Asbestos has been used in home construction for many years. Homes built prior to the 1970s may have several asbestos containing materials. Thisoldhouse.com provides some helpful information regarding how to identify and safely remove the asbestos materials from your home.

According to thisoldhouse.com, asbestos is most commonly found as thermal insulation on basement boilers and pipes, but can also be found in other household materials including:

• Blown-in attic insulation
• Vinyl floor tiles
• Glue that attaches floor tiles to concrete or wood
• Some forms of linoleum
• Window caulking and glazing
• Roofing material (usually on flat roofs but occasionally on shingles)
• HVAC duct insulation (usually found in corrugated or flat paper form)
• Siding material
• Plaster
• Fiber cement siding (usually 1/8 ” thick and 8’x4′ brittle)
• Corrugated heavy duty 8’x4′ panels
• Some forms of paint

The mere presence of asbestos in your home is not hazardous until it is damaged or disturbed. The best thing to do with asbestos material in good condition is to leave it alone. If you suspect a part of your home may contain asbestos, check periodically for tears, abrasions or water damage. If the asbestos material is only slightly damaged, limit access to the area and do not tough or disturb it. If you are going to be making changes in your home that may disturb the asbestos materials, or you suspect the materials are more than slightly damaged, professional asbestos repair or removal is needed.

The first step in asbestos removal is calling an industrial hygiene firm to inspect the affected area so a proper assessment can be made as to the location, extent of damage and so recommendations can be made for correction and prevention. Also, the firm can perform checks after the removal or repair to assure the area has been properly cleaned. With the report from the industrial hygiene firm, homeowners can then contact an asbestos abatement contractor and negotiate a clean-up plan. Another important step before work begins it to get a contract with the asbestos abatement contractor specifying the work plan, cleanup and the applicable federal, state, and local regulations. Only contractors licensed by the state to perform asbestos abatement activities should undertake its repair and removal.

Asbestos abatement is performed commonly in older homes and historic structures. Asbestos abatement performed under strict conditions by a skilled contractor can be quite effective; thereby removing the health hazards associated with asbestos exposure, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. If you or a friend have been diagnosed with asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma, please call us at 1(800)995-6991 for a free consultation.

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