Asbestos Can Spell Disaster During Remodeling

Though asbestos used in residential areas is currently banned, this highly toxic substance could still be in your home. In fact, most houses built before the 1980s contain asbestos somewhere. With news about mesothelioma lawsuits, it's not unusual to be concerned that you and your family might be in danger.

Fortunately, asbestos is typically harmless. However, if it begins to deteriorate, the fibers can break loose. It is these fibers that cause lung problems and cancer such as mesothelioma. Usually, this does not become a danger until renovations occur. When materials containing asbestos are moved or demolished, these fibers fly into the air and can easily be breathed in. If you are considering remodeling your home, don't just check the insulation. Asbestos could be lurking in your walls, floors, and ceilings, too.

One common place asbestos is located is in decorative plaster on walls and ceilings. Unfortunately, the only way to effectively test for it is to cut away a chunk of the plaster to send to a lab. The fibers of asbestos can only be detected with a special microscope, so this can take a few days for analysis. If you have and older home with decorative plaster, consider an asbestos inspection.

Floors can also hide asbestos. This is typical in vinyl floors. Not only can the tiles hold this material, but so can the adhesive on the back of them. Again, the inspector will cut a piece of the floor to send to the lab. This flooring should not be removed until an inspection occurs. Another option is sealing it before putting new tile on the floor.

Another hidden place that could be filled with asbestos is in textured paint. During the time when asbestos was popular, so were popcorn ceilings. This type of paint can't be painted over, so most amateur remodelers take a chisel to the ceiling. This should not be done without an asbestos inspection, first. Breaking away the paint could release toxic fibers in the air. This is a major reason many people decide not to buy homes with textured paint or popcorn ceilings.

If you suspect your home may have asbestos, you can contact an asbestos inspection company or send a sample to a testing lab yourself. An asbestos inspector, however, will be able to check all of the other hidden places in your home that might contain it. Once you do detect asbestos, the inspector or the lab can consult you on how best to manage it. Only then will you be able to safely renovate. Contact a company like Hutzel & Associates, Inc for more information.