Asbestos: What You Need to Know When Buying, Selling or Remodeling

Homebuyers have a lot of questions about indoor air quality and for a good reason; most Americans will spend at least one-third of their time each day inside their house and if breathing the air could cause you to get ill, that’s a big deal.

Alas, many indoor air quality problems are not simple to inspect for because they lack metrics that are easily definable or gauge precisely; this leaves doubt regarding things like pets, formaldehyde, mold, rodents as well as other odors that are odd.

Asbestos - What You Need to Know When Buying, Selling or Remodeling

What’s Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral that is mined from the earth. It’s natural properties that make it an excellent and cost-effective fire retardant. Common building materials that contain asbestos include but aren’t limited to:

  • Vermiculite insulation
  • 9” floor tiles that are ” that are x9
  • Acoustic ceiling tiles
  • Insulation on boiler pipes and boilers
  • Old asbestos cement siding
  • Popcorn ceiling feel
  • Adhesives used under flooring

Why is Asbestos Poor?

This appears to be exacerbated by cigarette smoking along with the resulting ailments are lung and mesothelioma cancer. No good.

Just How Do I Know If I Have Asbestos in My House?

You can hire an industrial hygienist or an environmental lab to do an assessment of the home if you need to be aware of in case your house contains asbestos.

These contractors should follow a thorough testing protocol and certainly will often take a lot more than a dozen samples in the building.

After you have the results, you ought to know what materials contain asbestos and most labs will also supply a protocol for remediating (safely removing) these substances. At this point you have data.

What Should I Do If I’ve Asbestos in My House?

It’s important to understand some fundamental concepts about asbestos-containing substances in your house.

In case the building material in question isn’t damaged or “friable,” afterwards the asbestos fibers Won’t have the ability to “aerosolize” or become airborne particulate.

The asbestos will be encapsulated in the building material and will not present a health hazard. If the asbestos fibers are not prone to become airborne, then you’re safe.

The greatest risk is during the renovation, or a remodel of a classic house. This can be when the asbestos-containing substances get damaged and aerosolized and individuals working or living in the house are at risk of exposure.

Laws regarding asbestos will change by state, but many states will require:

  • Homeowners to analyze for asbestos before any building or renovation project.
  • Just before beginning demolition work, asbestos remediation to be done by licensed removal contractors.

I’m not conscious of any requirements in my personal statement for homeowners ahead of selling their home to test for asbestos. There could be another protocol in other countries, so it’s great to find out. If you living in Adelaide, you can visit for the test.

Should I Test My Prospective House for Asbestos Before I Purchase?

I find that most home buyers do not test for asbestos as the section of their due diligence when purchasing a house and here is why.

You can presume it probably includes at least some asbestos if you are buying a house older than 1980.

Though there are a couple of exceptions, if you’re not planning a renovation, your risks of exposure are usually small.

Should you be planning a renovation, you can assume you must truly have a budget for lead and asbestos identification and remediation and only place it on your budget.

That is great if you have sufficient time to do that evaluation before buying the house. The more data up front, the better. In hot markets, home buyers often have very limited time to accomplish their reviews and that I believe many home buyers proceed with all the assumption that is logical they will have to tackle it and that the building contains asbestos.

So, in case your old house is in good condition, and no renovation work is being planned for you, you likely do not require to test for asbestos.

You may want to do an inspection to search for damaged materials which might include asbestos and have these encapsulated or remediated – especially if you have some reasons for concern like noticeably damaged pipe insulation or old building materials.

However, your risks of exposure are much greater in the event you are remodelling a classic house. Then, you need to have a thorough assessment done by an industrial hygienist or environmental lab ahead of demolition, although not always before purchase.

Is Asbestos Identification Included in a Home Inspection?

No. Some home inspectors can also be certified for asbestos inspections, but where I work, most home inspectors don’t do this job and when they did they’d charge one more inspection fee as an add-on service.

Many home inspectors will report on the presence of building materials that will probably contain asbestos. This should not be confused with an entire asbestos identification review, which will be a lot more comprehensive.

Comprehend a full asbestos assessment often involves damaging testing where samples scraped are drilled or pried from the building. In the event you had been doing this before investing in a residence, you would need permission, and such permission may not be granted.

Home inspectors aren’t allowed to damage the buildings they’ve been inspecting, so there normally exists no practical approach to inspecting for asbestos-containing materials -purchase home inspection. This is just another reason why asbestos assessment is often not done as a part of pre-purchase due diligence.

Are Some Asbestos-containing Building Materials More Dangerous Than Many Others?

Yes. Some old building materials usually do not encapsulate others in addition to the asbestos fibers. One such material is vermiculite insulation. This loose insulating material, generally in your attic, looks like pieces or little stone of mica.

Much of this insulation came from a mine in Libby Montana and also the vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos. This substance can aerosolize easily, exposing workers or occupants, and tests to verify the presence of asbestos have proven unreliable.

It’s finest to assume this product contains asbestos and continue with caution. I would have this remediated with a professional to reduce risks of exposure.

I hope this simple article about asbestos is effective. This should give you a solid starting position although there is always more that can be learned about this issue. Remember, happy home buyers have educated home buyers.


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