Avoid Asbestos During Your Home Remodeling

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According to the American Lung Association, the average adult takes 15 to 20 breaths per minute — over 20,000 breaths per day. If you’re doing a home remodeling project this year, do your lungs a favor by protecting them from asbestos exposure.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil. Because of its fiber strength and heat resistance, asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant.

If asbestos-containing material is disturbed or damaged, it can release particles into the air. This can happen during demolition work, home maintenance, repair and remodeling. When asbestos is inhaled, the particles go deep into the lungs and increase the risk of developing lung disease. Symptoms of asbestos-based lung disease may take many years to develop.

Building materials that may contain asbestos include:

  • Roofing shingles
  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Attic and wall insulation containing vermiculite
  • Textured paint and patching compounds
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves
  • Paper products
  • Cement products
  • Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with asbestos insulation
  • Heat-resistant fabrics

Asbestos during home remodeling

If you think there may be asbestos in your home, don’t panic.

Asbestos-containing materials that aren’t damaged or disturbed are not likely to pose a health risk. Usually the best course is to leave asbestos-containing material alone if it is in good condition.

Generally, you can’t tell if a material contains asbestos unless it is labeled or if it is inspected by a trained professional. If you are planning to remodel or your home has damaged building materials like crumbling drywall or insulation, you may want to have your home inspected by an asbestos professional. Depending on the condition of the asbestos, the options for safe handling are to repair, cover or remove it.

A trained and accredited asbestos professional can inspect your home for asbestos, take samples for testing and advise if corrections are needed. If the inspector determines asbestos is present, he or she should provide a written evaluation and offer recommendations. A professional hired to inspect for asbestos should not be connected with a firm that does repair or removal of asbestos contaminated materials. It is better to use two different firms so there is no conflict of interest. Before any corrective work begins, request a written contract specifying the work plan, cleanup and the applicable regulations the contractor must follow, such as notification requirements, removal, handling and disposal procedures.

Asbestos do’s and don’ts for the homeowner

  • Do leave undamaged asbestos-containing materials alone.
  • Do keep activities to a minimum in areas that have damaged material that may contain asbestos, including limiting children’s access to any materials that may contain asbestos.
  • Do take every precaution to avoid damaging asbestos-containing material.
  • Do have removal and major repair done by people trained and qualified in handling asbestos.
  • Don’t dust, sweep or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t saw, sand, scrape or drill holes in asbestos-containing materials.
  • Don’t use abrasive pads, brushes or power strippers to strip wax from asbestos flooring.
  • Don’t sand or try to level asbestos flooring or its backing. When asbestos flooring needs to be replaced, install new floor covering over it if possible.
  • Don’t track material that could contain asbestos through the house. If you cannot avoid walking through the area, clean it first with a wet mop. If the material is from a damaged area or if a large area must be cleaned.

By Hanady Kader from Redfin

Interested in home remodeling? Contact Medina Exteriors today, (330)591-4040

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