When Do You Need to Inspect for Asbestos?

When a home buyer is considering purchasing a structure built before 1980, one of the issues of concern will be the possibility of the presence of asbestos.  Asbestos was popular as a building material because it doesn’t burn, so it was widely used in items that needed to resist heat, including materials such as roof shingles, siding, popcorn ceilings, drywall, plaster and caulk, plumbing, pipes, fireplace insulation, vinyl floor tiles and electrical panels.

Asbestos most often causes a problem and be hazardous to your health when disturbed, such as through some DIY home remodeling jobs, when repairs are required after natural disasters such as storms, or when the materials start breaking down over time.

Home inspections do not test for asbestos, but your home inspector will usually notify you if your home is the proper age and contains materials that could commonly include asbestos.

If your home inspection reveals that materials containing asbestos may be present, that is not a cause for alarm.  It’s a fairly common problem and there are options you can discuss before moving forward with your purchase decision.

Testing to see if your property includes materials that contain asbestos is usually done by asbestos abatement company and is always recommended if you plan to do any remodeling or repairs that would disturb materials that might contain asbestos.  This testing is relatively inexpensive.

If asbestos is found, removal is pretty common since so many older homes include building materials containing asbestos.  It is important that removal of asbestos is done properly to eliminate the threat of exposure to toxins which can cause certain types of cancers and other risks to life.  In some cases, it doesn’t require removal but can be sealed, for example by painting, which is still best left to the professionals.

You can read more about asbestos and the abatement process, plus download a PDF, at https://www.asbestos.com/abatement-guide/


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