While it used to be a popular option for several different home fixtures, asbestos is no longer used in construction. It’s common knowledge now that asbestos fibres can cause several different health hazards. Don’t disturb asbestos if you suspect that it might be present. Once disturbed, the fibres will be released into the air and present a serious hazard if you breathe in them.
If you are about to start a renovation, it’s best to have it inspected by a professional first. If found, you’ll have to invest in professional asbestos removal to ensure your home and renovation site are safe. Eco Abate in Calgary shares a few common areas asbestos can be found in your older home:
There are a few different types of insulation that could contain asbestos. A type of insulation called vermiculite is the most common to contain asbestos. You can also find asbestos in older cellulose insulation, loose-fill fibreglass, and rock wool insulation. If you aren’t sure what type of insulation your attic has, the best thing to do is to assume it contains asbestos. Don’t disturb it and call to have testing done. It’s better to be safe until you can be sure that there isn’t.
Modern stucco doesn’t contain asbestos, but if your home was built between 1940 and 1990 you should have your exterior stucco checked. The plaster layer in older stucco, as shown in the photo above, can contain asbestos. Using asbestos was a cost-effective way to improve durability and fire resistance in exterior stucco, and they weren’t aware of the health implications at the time. Even if your home’s stucco contains a small amount of asbestos, it is still hazardous and will need to be removed professionally.
Older drywall is also a culprit for asbestos. It can be in drywall sheets, tapes, and compounds. To the naked eye, it’s nearly impossible to detect. When it is sealed and painted, it’s not harmful because the fibers are not disturbed. If your home was built in the 1980s or earlier, it’s best to have your drywall tested for asbestos. Even drilling into the drywall to hang shelving or pictures can cause asbestos exposure.
It’s not uncommon for older homes to have linoleum sheet flooring that contains asbestos, or tile flooring that contains asbestos. If your home is a mid-century build, and you don’t have hardwood or stone tile floors, the likelihood is that the original flooring contains asbestos. Sheet flooring that contains asbestos is very dangerous and should only be removed by a professional.
A popular way to deal with asbestos flooring is to contain the asbestos by laying another type of flooring over top of it. If your home is older and has updated flooring, make sure there isn’t an older unknown flooring beneath it before ripping it out. If it is, and you start the demolition, you could be risking your health.
Asbestos Testing in Calgary
Eco Abate is a trusted professional when it comes to mould and asbestos testing. From sampling a small piece of material to monitoring air quality, you can be sure that their technicians have experience and knowledge of their work. They recognize that asbestos and mould testing can be a stressful thing for homeowners, and so communication is extremely important. They’ll test for hazardous material so you can get it removed from your home and safely carry on with your renovation.