In the era of do-it-yourself home remodels, homeowners worldwide are tearing out old pipes and floors and knocking down walls and ceilings. But in their efforts to renovate their houses, they may expose themselves to toxic asbestos.
If you have always dreamt of owning a house, the appeal of purchasing an older building and transforming it into your DIY project to give it a custom touch is understandable. Even if it’s an exciting endeavour, you may get ahead of yourself without being aware that asbestos is lurking in your recently bought house.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral resistant to electricity, fire, and heat, its properties making it ideal for building insulation throughout the 20th century. However, in the 1970s, healthcare specialists discovered that asbestos could cause severe health issues like cancer and the construction industry banned them from use.
Nowadays, asbestos is heavily regulated worldwide, yet it still lingers in old houses. People often have the misconception asbestos is no longer a concern because the authorities have regulated it. But regulations failed to address the asbestos found in old houses.
Is asbestos harmful to your health?
As already stated, asbestos is harmful to your health. Researchers discovered in 1960 that asbestos exposure could trigger several diseases like lung cancer or asbestosis. When tearing down walls and ceilings, you could disturb tiny asbestos fibres and inhale them, exposing yourself to long term lung tissue damage.
Signs there is asbestos in your home
How can you tell if there’s asbestos in the house you just purchased? Part of what makes asbestos challenging to detect is that constructors used it in several materials, so it can be found anywhere, from the paint on the walls to flooring and insulation.
Below is a list of just some household materials that are likely to contain asbestos in houses built before the 1970s.
– Wall paint
– Vinyl floor tiles
– Blown-in attic insulation
– Fibre cement
– Glue used to attach floor tiles to wood or concrete
– Roofing material
– HVAC duct insulation
– Crumbling drywall
– Brittle ceiling tiles
– Damaged roof tiles
– Cracked gables
Keep in mind that just because you find any of the above materials in your house doesn’t mean they contain asbestos. Only testing can confirm its presence, as the naked eye cannot see it. Also, materials in good condition won’t release asbestos fibres, but you may create a health hazard by removing surfaces and disturbing them during the renovation process.
If you suspect your new house contains asbestos and plan to renovate it on your own, call an inspector to check the property. They’ll perform a complete visual examination and collect samples. In cases where …….