Asbestos fibers have special characteristics that have been particularly attractive to industry. For example, its fibers are not affected by heat or chemicals, they do not conduct electricity, and pound for pound asbestos is stronger than steel. Because of these qualities, it was used to create over 3,000 products, many of which are found in older homes.
If asbestos containing materials (ACM) are damaged or disturbed, these tiny fibers become airborne and can lodge in the lungs of people who breathe them in. Serious diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancers, and more have been linked to asbestos exposure.
You can protect yourself and your family by knowing where ACM may be located in your home and what to do about it.
Where Is Asbestos In My Home?
Here is a list of some common ACM found in older homes:
- Appliance parts
- Ceiling products (popcorn texture, tiles, tile mastic)
- Cement asbestos (Transite) products (flue lining, ducts, pipes, shingles, etc.)
- Electrical products (cloth wire insulation, electrical panels)
- Flooring products (asphalt floor tile, mastic, vinyl tiles and sheet flooring)
- HVAC products (boiler insulation, gaskets, heat shields, pipe and tank insulation)
- Paints and coatings
- Roofing products (base flashing, felt, shingles, tar)
- Vermiculite (attic and wall insulation, fireplace decoration, gardening products)
- Vinyl wall coverings
- Wall applications (caulking and putties, spackling compounds)
- Wallboard or sheetrock
- Wallboard joint compound
- Window glazing
In homes built prior to the 1980s, it’s probably best to assume that the material in question contains asbestos. To be certain, however, hire a trained and certified professional to inspect the material and perform testing.
What Should I Do If I Have Asbestos In My Home?
Asbestos becomes a threat to human health only when fibers are released into the air. If ACM is in good condition and is not being disturbed by renovation, the safest and least costly thing to do may be to leave it alone.
If, however, it is damaged or deteriorating you should contact an experienced asbestos professional. After careful evaluation, they will recommend one of two options:
- Repair – ACM may be encapsulated using a sealant material that surrounds or embeds the fibers in an adhesive to prevent release of fibers. A bridging encapsulant creates a membrane over the surface, while a penetrating encapsulant penetrates the material and binds its components together.
- Removal – an asbestos professional can remove damaged materials using specialized techniques. Your home environment will be carefully monitored throughout the process to ensure the safety of you and your family. Removal is the best option if the ACM is damaged or if you are planning on renovating your home.
Hiring A Professional
When hiring an asbestos professional, verify that they are following all federal, state, and local requirements. Also, ask how much the repair or removal will cost, and understand what that cost includes. Finally, ask for references from other customers who have used the company for similar projects.
At Paragon Environmental, we are experienced, responsive, and customer oriented contractors serving the Denver area. We follow strict OSHA, EPA, and CDPHE guidelines. Give us a call at 303-529-1257 and let our expertise work for you!