Your Home May Be Harboring Hidden Asbestos

Posted on: 22 June 2015

Have you purchased an older home or are you considering the purchase of a home that was built in the 1980s or before? Do you know how to identify all the places that asbestos might be lurking in a home of this age? Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been utilized in various ways for thousands of years. However, it is now known to be a dangerous carcinogen if microscopic particles of it become airborne and are inhaled. Here are some things that you should be on the lookout for in your home:

Floor tiles: Although many people don't realize it, floor tiles can be a source of asbestos. Between the 1920s and the 1980s, many manufacturers produced vinyl flooring that contained asbestos. Although this contained asbestos is nominally safe under normal conditions, the tiles can release unsafe amounts of asbestos if the area is prone to heavy foot traffic or heavy scrubbing. It can also release airborne asbestos if you attempt a removal of the flooring yourself. If you suspect that your flooring contains asbestos, you should remove only a small sample for testing. If it tests positive for asbestos, you will need to pay for asbestos removal if you want to lay down new flooring. 

Ceiling tiles: If your home has a drop ceiling in the kitchen or basement, you may have asbestos ceiling tiles. Most ceiling tiles aren't marked, so it's nearly impossible for the average homeowner to tell if their ceiling tiles are harmless or contain asbestos. If your tiles aren't marked, the only way to be sure is to have a professional inspect your tiles to ascertain whether they are safe or not. Should the tiles contain asbestos, you should consider having them removed immediately. Fortunately, asbestos removal for ceiling tiles that are held in place by a metal lattice, and not nailed down, should be a relatively quick and simple job. 

Roofing materials: If you like to tackle home repair projects yourself, you should make sure that your shingles or other roofing materials contain no asbestos before continuing. Unlike other asbestos uses, your roof may contain asbestos even if it was replaced recently. For example, you may still be able to walk into a hardware store and purchase modern cement shingles that contain asbestos. If having asbestos on your roof or used in your siding material is a concern for you, then your only option is to pay for professional asbestos removal. A professional company will be able to contain the asbestos in question and prevent it from harming either your family or your neighbors.

Asbestos has been used in a wide variety of building materials over the years. The older your home is, the more likely it is that it contains at least some asbestos. Although some of these uses are relatively harmless unless disturbed, asbestos removal should be conducted by a professional, such as one from American Abatement, who will be able to contain the dangerous fibers.