Asbestos 101

Are you currently living in or looking to buy an older home located in New York? While many of these homes offer sturdy construction and unique charm, these dated structures can often present difficult challenges — including asbestos. Asbestos is harmless when it’s not disturbed, but it can pose serious health concerns if it’s deteriorating or damaged.

So, before signing on the dotted line or deciding to make any remodeling plans, it’s crucial to understand what asbestos is, how you can safely locate this substance and what to do if you notice asbestos.

What Is Asbestos?

When living in an older home or building, you’ve likely heard someone mention asbestos and how, when exposed, this substance can lead to serious health effects like mesothelioma. But what, exactly, is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber often found in rocks and soil. During home and building construction during the 1930s and through 1978, asbestos was commonly used for a variety of interior and exterior materials like shingles, insulation, vinyl flooring and tiles, air duct linings, hot water and steam pipes, outlets, textured paints and maintenance panels and fuse boxes.

Asbestos was a popular material for a wide selection of building materials because of its long-lasting durability, chemical resistance and fire retardance.

Asbestos Exposure Effects

While asbestos may be present in many older homes and structures, homeowners shouldn’t be immediately worried about exposure unless the asbestos is disturbed — untouched asbestos poses no immediate threat. People often suffer from asbestos exposure once the materials have been handled or damaged from sawing and scraping, making it airborne and easily inhaled during demolition work, home maintenance and repair or remodeling projects.

Once found, prolonged asbestos exposure can eventually lead to:

  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma — cancer of the lining of the abdomen, heart, lungs or chest
  • Asbestosis — scarring of the lung’s fibrous tissue

Detecting Asbestos in Your Home

Unfortunately for many homeowners, you can’t just look at an appliance or material in your home and visually identify asbestos. To accurately and properly detect asbestos throughout your home, homeowners should avoid contaminated areas and hire a certified asbestos assessor to inspect and take samples of the item and send them to a certified laboratory for detailed analysis.

Common items throughout your home that may have asbestos include:

  • Steam pipes, boilers and furnace ducts
  • Floor tiles, vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
  • Cement sheet, millboard and paper used for insulation
  • Door gaskets
  • Soundproof and decorative materials and textured paint
  • Patching and joint compounds
  • Cement roofing, shingles or siding

What to Do If You Discover Asbestos in Your New York Home

With so many items containing asbestos, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to discover materials throughout their homes with asbestos. If you find asbestos, it’s best to decide whether repair or removal is the best option. Deciding on next steps depends on where the asbestos was found, the material’s condition and whether it’s “friable” — that is, easily crumbled and made airborne.

If the material is in good condition, you can leave the asbestos as-is and regularly check it for signs of damage or decay. In some cases, repair is an adequate solution to either seal or cover the asbestos. Sealing, often called “encapsulation,” is applying a sealant to the material that binds the fibers together so they aren’t released.

The second repair method is covering, or enclosure, where a professional will place a sturdy, air-tight barrier around the asbestos materials to prevent release.

To permanently have peace of mind throughout your home, the only long-term solution is hiring a trained and skilled professional to remove the asbestos.

When in doubt, hire a certified asbestos assessor to test the material and guide you through the required process.

Need Asbestos Abatement Services? Contact Haven Property Solutions Today

To make sure you have safe, effective and knowledgeable asbestos removal in your home or business, contact the skilled and trained specialists at Haven Property Solutions. We happily provide asbestos abatement services for residents throughout towns like Goshen, Monroe, Middletown and Warwick, NY — and many more.

Learn more about our asbestos removal process by giving us a call today at 845-644-4033 or completing our online contact form.

asbestos in home
asbestos removal in home