Asbestos was used extensively in homes up until the 1970s, when it was discovered to be carcinogenic and dangerous. This means that you may have asbestos in your home if you have an older home. Before you panic, read through this guide so that you can better understand asbestos and take the proper steps to avoid a dangerous situation.
Where is asbestos normally found?
In residential homes asbestos was most commonly used to insulate around ducts and pipes, inside of attic insulation, and as the main material in ceiling and wall tiles. It can also sometimes be found in older cement fiber siding or in the adhesive used to hold down floor tiles.
Should the home be tested?
If your home was built in the 1970s or prior, it is a good idea to have the home tested for asbestos. While chances are that there is no current risk from the asbestos in your home, having it tested allows you to note exactly which parts of your home contain asbestos. This is vital if you ever plan to do any work on your home.
Must asbestos be removed immediately?
In most cases, no. Asbestos doesn't typically pose a danger when it is in an undamaged form, because it is sealed into the material it was formed into. Asbestos primarily poses a damage only when airborne. This means that you shouldn't drill holes into asbestos ceiling tiles since the sawdust will make the asbestos airborne. For the same reason, you should have asbestos siding replaced if it is beginning to crumble and crack from age.
Can you paint over asbestos?
As a general rule, you should not paint asbestos-containing items yourself. There is a specific product and process that is used to paint over asbestos that is in undamaged condition. This process, known as enscapulation, contains any fibers that may become loose first before the actual painting proceeds. A licensed asbestos abatement contractor is your best option.
How do you avoid asbestos problems?
Once you know where the asbestos is in your home, you can begin taking precautions. Do not drill into, remove, or cut into anything containing asbestos – as a general rule don't disturb it yourself. If you have asbestos insulation in your attic, don't go into your attic or use it for storage, either.
When should asbestos be removed?
Damaged asbestos should be removed by a licensed asbestos removal technician immediately. Otherwise, there is no need to remove it until you plan to have work done to your home. If you are having old siding replaced, replacing insulation, or having new flooring put in, and the areas has asbestos, then bring in a remodeling contractor that is experienced and licensed to remove the old asbestos-containing materials as well as perform the remodeling work. They will have the skills and tools to contain and remove the dust so that it doesn't become airborne.
For more help, contact an asbestos abatement company in your area, such as IRS Environmental.