Monday, July 6, 2009

A Home Inspector's notes on Asbestos

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber. It can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.

Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found In The Home
Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos as insulation.
Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
Older products such as stove-top pads may have some asbestos compounds.
Walls and floors around woodburning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets.
Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.

What Should Be Done About Asbestos In The Home?
If you think asbestos may be in your home, don't panic, usually the best thing is to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone. Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers. There is no danger unless fibers are released and inhaled into the lungs. Check material regularly if you suspect it may contain asbestos. Don't touch it, but look for signs of wear or damage such as tears, abrasions, or water damage. Damaged material may release asbestos fibers. This is particularly true if you often disturb it by hitting, rubbing, or handling it, or if it is exposed to extreme vibration or air flow. Sometimes, the best way to deal with slightly damaged material is to limit access to the area and not touch or disturb it. Discard damaged or worn asbestos gloves, stove-top pads, or ironing board covers. Check with local health, environmental, or other appropriate officials to find out proper handling and disposal procedures. If asbestos material is more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your home that might disturb it, repair or removal by a professional is needed. Before you have your house remodeled, find out whether asbestos materials are present.

Courtesy of Garry D. Heard of Greater Durham Home Inspections who can be reached by phone at
905-831-4887 or on the web

1 comment:

dorcia said...

Hi!
I came across your blog (http://yourmortgagematters.blogspot.com/) while I was going through some finance blogs. You have shared with us very valuable information, I must say..
Being impressed with your blog content, I would like to place your blog link in my finance related website/blog. If you allow me to do so and give me an opportunity to show my blog/website to you for link exchange purpose, then kindly contact me at: dorcia.wellington[at]gmail.com.

Regards,
Dorcia Wellington