Despite a dubious history that showed its grave health effects, construction companies utilized asbestos as cost-efficient, fire-resistant insulation throughout many buildings in the United States, and it’s still used today for a few applications.
While new construction projects have phased it out, asbestos often resides in buildings built before 1975. If you own an older house or business and feel concerned about possible exposure, there are certain calling cards you can observe. If you do find reasons to believe some aspect of your home has asbestos, you’ll need to be incredibly careful about removing it.
Here are some tips for finding and removing asbestos from your home.
Where Should You Look for Asbestos?
Asbestos is odorless, and the naked eye can’t reliably determine its fibers.
Instead, you’ll need to rely on environmental signs, as well as outward appearances. Asbestos often appears in insulated blanket wraps and paper tapes, but companies also mixed it into materials to enhance fire resistance. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to reliably tell if certain products carry the deadly fiber without drilling, sanding or sawing.
Items that had asbestos mixed into their construction include but are not limited to:
- Floor tiles, vinyl sheet flooring and floor adhesives
- Cement insulation sheets and millboard
- Door gaskets for furnaces, wood stoves and coal stoves
- Stucco, or “popcorn,” ceiling treatment
- Patching and joint compounds for walls, ceilings and textured paints
- Roofing, shingles and siding
- Various automobile products — brake pads, clutch facings, etc.
If you’re hunting for asbestos in your building, you can only positively confirm its presence by contacting professionals who can analyze the fibers under specialized microscopes. These labs can also tell you the proper practices for conducting tests.Some places where you should look include:
- Parts of your roof
- 9x9″ floor tiles — a typical size for asbestos inclusion
- Ductwork and radiator systems
- Walls near stoves
How Do You Remove It?
It’s important to note many types of asbestos pose no harm to anyone while they sit undisturbed. They can only affect your health unless you release their fibers into the air, either through improper removal or construction. However, you need to be vigilant of friable asbestos, which means the affected materials — like insulation, acoustical plaster and spackling compound — can gradually crumble on their own.
Removal of friable asbestos should be a top priority, while other types should be removed only unless you’re planning major changes.
If you decide to enlist professional help, they’ll likely provide you with a comprehensive survey that cites their findings. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can decide to progress on your own or get more help from experts.
While self-removal is doable, it’s crucial to proceed with extreme caution and patience. If you’re removing insulation, you need to cover all your exposed skin with disposable overalls, as well as sturdy gloves, goggles and a respirator. You can then start by wetting the area to suppress a lot of the dust particles that might kick up.
You should also cover the rest of the area with plastic to prevent fibers from sticking to your other possessions. After ripping it all out, wait one day before returning the location to normal, as you’ll allow everything to settle. You can’t just throw asbestos in the garbage either, so contact your local government agencies to learn about your local practices for disposal.
Contact Haven Property Solutions for Asbestos Detection and Removal
If you don’t have the time or resources to proceed with a DIY solution, you can trust Haven Property Solutions to handle your asbestos removal. We employ a team of experienced experts, as they’re fully trained and certified to remove all asbestos properly. We help clients throughout the Hudson Valley, so contact us today to schedule your free consultation!