Facts and Tips About Asbestos for Home Buyers
First of all what is Asbestos? Asbestos is tiny micro fibers that can only been seen with a microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance. As most everyone knows, Asbestos can cause some serious health problems. When getting your home inspected make sure to choose a certified home inspector that can identify signs of asbestos in the building.
There are numerous studies showing people who were exposed to asbestos can develop breathing problems and are at an increased risk for lung cancer. All the more reason to have your home inspected before buying.
The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increase with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is also greater if you smoke. People who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.
So, where can Asbestos be found and where should you look? Until the 1970s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos.
Common products which may have contained asbestos in the past and conditions which may release fibers, include:
steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. These materials may release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly;
resilient floor tiles (vinyl asbestos, asphalt and rubber), the backing on vinyl sheet flooring, and adhesives used for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release fibers, and so may scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal;
cement sheet, millboard and paper used as insulation around furnaces and wood-burning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers, and so may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation;
door gaskets in furnaces, wood stoves and coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use;
soundproofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose, crumbling or water-damaged material may release fibers, and so will sanding, drilling or scraping the material.
patching and joint compounds for walls and ceilings, and textured paints. Sanding, scraping, or drilling these surfaces may release asbestos fibers;
asbestos cement roofing, shingles and siding. These products are not likely to release asbestos fibers unless sawed, drilled or cut.
Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found in a Home
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.
Make sure to hire a certified home inspector to look for these signs of asbestos, so the proper corrective action measures can be taken. We pride ourselves in being one of the best home inspection companies the Twin Cities, because we keep the health and safety of our clients as our top priority. Again, please make sure to have your home inspected before closing on the property.