Asbestos was used to make building materials for a long time because it was cheap and easy to produce. Not only that, but it also had the potential to be fire-resistant and non-toxic. However, we now know that asbestos can cause mesothelioma cancer and other lung diseases when breathed in or ingested into the body. It has been found in homes all over America – even yours! So how do you find out if there’s asbestos in your home? Hint: a home inspector can help.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral made up of microscopic fibers in rock like talc and serpentine. It’s mixed with cement and used in construction. There are many minerals that contain asbestos, so it isn’t always easy to know whether or not your home contains it.
How to find out for sure with a licensed home inspector
If you are not sure if your home contains asbestos, the best way to find out is with the help of a licensed home inspector. A licensed home inspector has been trained to know the signs of a home that may have asbestos, such as age (until the 1970s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos), and which materials in the home to pay particular attention to:
- 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 wood-burning 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.
Your home inspector can recommend which materials should be further tested based upon the age of your home and materials used in construction or remodeling.
Why testing your home is the safest way to go
When it comes to asbestos, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Testing your home for asbestos is the best way to find out if you and your family are at risk; visual inspections aren’t reliable, so if you suspect your home may have materials containing asbestos, it is important to have professional testing. It’s also the safest way to go, because if there is any evidence of asbestos in your home, you need to have it removed right away. Not only can asbestos fibers cause serious health problems, but they can also be very dangerous if they’re disturbed.
The dangers of living in an asbestos-filled house
There are many dangers associated with asbestos, including its ability to cause cancer. There is also the potential for it to cause other diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma. It can also lead to lung scarring. These health risks are too much of a threat; not only do they put you in danger, but anyone living in your house is at risk as well.
Some signs that you may have asbestos in your home
- A need for more insulation than usual
- Lagging or crumbling plaster
- Wallpaper coming loose or the texture changing over time
- Damaged wallboard or floor tiles
- Unusual “spider web” looking cracks in ceilings or walls
If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to have your home inspected. And, if they find that there is evidence of asbestos fibers anywhere in your house, then you need to have it removed immediately before it causes any more damage!
What can be done about it once you find out there’s asbestos in your home
Whatever you do, do NOT attempt to remove the asbestos materials yourself.
If your home is found to have asbestos, the best way to proceed is to call in an expert for removal. This can be done in a number of ways, depending on what type of asbestos it is. It’s important that the removal process be performed by professionals because if it’s not done properly, there is a risk that the asbestos could spread. You wouldn’t always be able to SEE the asbestos particles spread – which can then cause health issues for members of your households.
Experts will also know what to do with any other elements that are found to have asbestos as well.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to asbestos. If you suspect that your home may contain any type of material containing this hazardous substance, then the best way is to have an inspection completed by professionals. They can do a number of different tests for various materials and they will know how to proceed once they find something dangerous like asbestos fibers. It’s important not to try removing these items yourself because there are dangers associated with doing so – which could lead to serious health problems or even death! Let our team of experts take care of the removal process if this applies in your situation. You’ll sleep easier at night knowing that you’re taking all precautions necessary for safety!
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