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Home Maintenance  /  September 26, 2018

How to Spot Asbestos in an Older or Historic Home

At the height of the asbestos craze, this “miracle mineral” could be found in over 3,000 consumer products across different industries, such as house and building construction, shipbuilding, and the automotive industry.

While asbestos usage has all but stopped in modern house construction, many properties built before 1980 still contain varying levels of asbestos. In this post, Handyman Connection of Silver Spring discusses how to tell if that older or historic home you’re considering has asbestos.

Where to Check for It

There are certain parts of the house where asbestos was commonly used as the main material to keep the structure sturdy and fireproof.  These include the ceiling, siding, insulation, and certain adhesives that secure the flooring.

Older homes with stucco ceilings and siding, vinyl tiles, and insulation surrounding the pipes are also likely to contain asbestos.

How to Spot It

Asbestos tends to form dimples and shallow craters that cover the surface where it was used. Areas to check that is the most noticeable include the roof and the shingles. You also want to inspect the basement as this mineral was often used to line furnaces, hot water pipes, and boilers due to its exceptional fire resistance.

For historic homes, it’s a good idea to look at the bathroom as asbestos was used as caulking for vinyl flooring or in tiles themselves. While difficult to tell, one way to spot if there’s asbestos in the bathroom is if the tiles appear to look chalky or have a chalk-like powder underneath the tile.

How to Remove It

Researchers found out that materials with asbestos that are disturbed or damaged will release fibers that wind up in the air. When inhaled, it can lead to serious health problems such as mesothelioma and the dreaded asbestosis. As a result, we don’t recommend attempting to remove asbestos on your own.

That said, asbestos itself is harmless if the materials are in good condition and aren’t disturbed. If you feel that your historic or older home used this material during its construction, we recommend calling an expert to remove the asbestos from your property.

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