Asbestos is 6 types of naturally occurring silicate minerals. Anyone can recognize asbestos because if it’s long and thin fibrous crystals. Asbestos is a great insulator with high heat-resistance. Because of its durability, house owners and builders are using asbestos as a raw material for a long time. But now, using this substance as a building material is illegal in many places around the world because of its harmful effects on the human body. Nearly 13 people die from asbestos-related diseases in the U.K. every day. So, it is crucial to understand the signs of asbestos exposure.
This article covers the following topics:
Signs of Asbestos
How to find and identify asbestos at home? It is hard to detect because so many different materials have this substance. You may find this material almost anywhere in the office or at home. Many construction products, like cement, vinyl flooring, adhesives, insulation, roofing tiles, siding, and textured paints have asbestos. Though it is difficult to identify, there are some red flags you should look out for when working on the home. Especially, if the home was built before the late 1970s. Crumbling drywall, cracked siding, discolored or cracked floor tiles, brittle ceiling tiles or coatings, and damaged shingles are the places where you can find asbestos easily. A frayed building or piping insulation and old corrugated cement roofings are also sources of this.
But finding any of the above materials doesn’t mean that the home has asbestos. The only way to confirm it is chemical testing of those materials. Remember, you cannot see this material with the naked eye. One should have the home tested to yield conclusive results.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos was a raw material in the construction of everything. From schools to industrial factories, you can find asbestos everywhere. For this reason, house owners must be cautious when being exposed to older buildings. Tradespeople such as builders, electricians, and plumbers face risk when working in comparatively old buildings. It is because any disruptions can lead to asbestos exposure. Builders used it in some places. Let’s have a look.
- Builders frequently used this substance in attic insulation between the 1920s and the 1980s. Therefore, if the attic contains insulated materials that you suspect from that period, experts recommend having the materials asbestos tested before handling them.
Interior Wall Paint:
- This substance was a popular ingredient in wall paints up until the 1990s. You must be cautious if you buy an old house which has wall paintings from that period.
- In the distant past, asbestos ceilings were a common feature of many homes in the form of spray-on paint of ceiling tiles.
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces:
- Any fire-resistant materials present in older houses is likely to contain this material. Therefore, experts recommend testing paper or cement sheets that are found on wood stoves or fireplace interiors.
- It wasn’t uncommon for builders to produce fire-resistant window putty using asbestos materials.
- Car manufacturers used it as part of gaskets, clutches, and brake pad production. Thus, it is important to take precautionary measures before you replace any brake pads. OSHA makes such a recommendation.
Garden Sheds and Garages:
- Asbestos roof panels and roof tiles are quite common among older garage sheds and garages.
- Most drywall areas in homes are asbestos-free. But if they have been fire-protection rated, then it’s different. Asbestos drywall was more prevalent in commercial buildings. That said, if the owner renovated the house before 1980, the drywall edging or texture compound might contain it.
Floor Tiles and Carpet Underlay:
- Sometimes, carpet underlay has asbestos. It includes vinyl floor tiling and floor tile fixing glue.
- In the past, siding shingles and siding materials had this material to bolster their strength.
- Water heater insulation is also a common source of asbestos. This is especially true of any insulating blankets or clothes.
Air Conditioning or Heating Ducts:
- Insulation was one of the most popular uses for this material. Therefore, in older buildings, the A.C. and heating systems may contain it.
Asbestos Cement Pipes:
- Gas and sewage pipes had asbestos. These are particularly dangerous as they deteriorate with time, and asbestos fibers come out into the pipelines.
Boiler and Pipe Insulation:
- Sometimes there is asbestos in the piping systems that feed furnaces and boilers. Then, there are boilers that have an asbestos coating for insulation. If you think that you may have asbestos in your home or work building, experts recommend that you purchase a home testing kit or hire a qualified professional to run tests. To save lives, it is important to identify and remove all hazardous materials that have asbestos in it.
- Alternatively, you will find a variety of asbestos testing kits in the market. The makers of these kits provide instructions to show how owners can safely extract some samples for a lab to test. These samples are sent back to the manufacturer, and a specialist testing laboratory will test them and provide results within a few weeks.
Who Should You Call for Asbestos Removal?
If you damage asbestos-containing material, you will need to call an abatement specialist to have it removed. Professional asbestos removal contractors are there throughout the country. It is important to verify the credentials of the professional asbestos removal contractor with your state’s asbestos program first. You must carry out this step before hiring an abatement specialist.
How Much Does Asbestos Removal Cost?
Removing it from home can be expensive, with smaller jobs often falling within the $1,500 to $3,000 range. In cases where this substance is there throughout the home, removal can easily cost between $20,000 and $30,000. The state may offer financial assistance for costly removal. Call the regional EPA office or the state’s Department of Environmental Protection for more information on these programs.
The best advice for identifying and removing this substance in your home is not to panic. You can keep yourself and your family safe if you know what to look for and when to call a professional.
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