What Do You Need to Know When Buying a Home with Asbestos?
When you decide to buy a house that was built before 1980, there is a good chance that it was constructed with some products that used asbestos, a toxic mineral known to cause serious health issues. Does this mean you should not buy the house? Here’s what to consider.
What is Asbestos?
According to Asbestos.com, asbestos is a natural insulator made of soft and flexible fibers that are heat and corrosion-resistant. Unfortunately, these qualities also make exposure very toxic. As asbestos fibers get trapped in the lungs, it can cause inflammation, scarring, and potentially several forms of cancer.
No amount of exposure is safe, but the worst effects generally appear when there is long-term exposure or exposure to a large concentration of fibers. Fibers are easily inhaled once they become airborne. It is important to avoid disturbing products that may contain asbestos. There is no known way to reverse the damage it causes.
Where Can I Find Asbestos in My Home?
Asbestos was used in homes built in the 1940s through the 1970s. Asbestos could have used in the following building materials:
- Vermiculite insulation
- 9”x9” floor tiles
- Acoustic ceiling tiles
- White tape on heating ducts
- Insulation on boiler pipes and boilers
- Old asbestos cement siding
- Popcorn ceiling texture
- Glues used under flooring
The biggest risk posed by asbestos in buildings is during a remodel or renovation as this is when the asbestos-containing materials get damaged and aerosolized.
Avoiding Asbestos Contamination
The best way to protect yourself is to evaluate the extent of asbestos, its condition, and develop a plan to manage it. According to Asbestos123.com, here are some basic steps to assess the level of asbestos in the home:
- Inspect the home carefully looking for the telltale signs of asbestos-containing materials
- Ask your real estate agent about the presence of asbestos in the home you consider purchasing
- Unless the real estate agent unequivocally states that the property is asbestos-free, professional asbestos testing may be worthwhile before buying the home
Your New Home Has Asbestos. Now What?
According to Asbestos123.com, you have three options when it comes to minimizing the risk of living with asbestos. Before making your choice, you should always consult with an asbestos abatement specialist.
- Leave it alone. There is a chance if the asbestos is in good condition it may be safe to live with if it remains undisturbed.
- Encapsulate the problem areas. Encapsulation is the process of treating areas with a sealant that forms a protective layer between the material and indoor environment.
- Remove all traces. If your home has crumbling drywall, insulation that is falling apart, or you are planning on renovating, complete asbestos removal is recommended.
The Bottom Line
Purchasing a home with known asbestos is a personal choice. Any house built before the 1980s has a good chance of having some type of asbestos in some of its building materials. It is important to have a good inspection and follow up with an asbestos expert if necessary.
Please contact Angell’s Home Inspection in Connecticut.
With years of experience, this 5-star Google-rated inspection company can help you make informed decisions about your indoor air quality. Please call (860) 402-6644 or learn more at https://www.angellhomeinspections.com.