Asbestos Inspection: What to Expect When Buying or Selling a Home With Asbestos
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  • September 18, 2019
asbestos inspection

2,000 Canadians die every year from Asbestos. It was once thought of as the perfect solution to many housing needs. However, there was one problem.

It’s a health hazard. Although asbestos is now banned in Canada, it still lingers in many older homes. This can complicate a house sale whether you’re the owner or buyer. And if you’re not careful, you could end up with a home contaminated with asbestos.

Has an asbestos inspection revealed this dangerous mineral in a potential home? Here’s what you need to know about buying or selling a home with asbestos.

1. The Dangers of Asbestos

In Canada, homebuilders used asbestos for insulating and fireproofing buildings until 1986. There are six different types of asbestos, all of which are minerals mined from the earth.

As time passed, new research began to suggest that asbestos was not as great as it once seemed. Asbestos fibers are small and sharp, and many types of asbestos can become airborne. When inhaled, these fibers damage the lungs, leading to respiratory conditions such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

If asbestos props up when buying or selling a home, it can throw a wrench in the process.

2. Why You Might Need an Asbestos Inspection

As a homebuyer, the task falls to you to discover asbestos in a potential home. You should know that a house inspection does not cover asbestos. An asbestos inspection requires specialized knowledge and a professional eye.

This means, if you suspect a home might contain asbestos, you’ll want to have a separate asbestos home inspection. There are some simple rules of thumb to help you determine if an asbestos inspection is worthwhile.

The most important consideration is the age of the home. If the building was constructed before 1986, there is a good chance it contains asbestos. You can find asbestos in ceiling tile, behind walls, on ductwork, and more.

By law, a real estate agent must disclose if a home has asbestos. But just because an agent doesn’t reveal asbestos doesn’t mean it’s not there. If they never had an asbestos inspection completed, they don’t know any more than you do.

3. Should I Remove Asbestos in My Home?

Asbestos isn’t always dangerous. If you discover asbestos in your home, that’s not the end of the world. The materials are often behind walls or otherwise out of the way.

So long as you can’t come in contact with asbestos, it’s safe to leave it as it is. This isn’t always true, however. Asbestos may be a health hazard depending on the condition of the home.

For example, if the walls are cracked or loose, asbestos can slip out into the living area. Certain types of asbestos are more dangerous than others. If your home has vermiculite insulation, you may be in trouble.

Vermiculite contains asbestos and is prone to aerosolizing. This was often used in the attic and has the appearance of small granular rocks. Entering the attic space is a dangerous proposition since you could disturb the vermiculite and asbestos.

Asbestos presents a problem when you wish to renovate your home. The construction process is sure to release asbestos, which can contaminate you, your home, and your workers.

Either way, there are many reasons why you should get asbestos removal before making changes to your home. Encapsulated asbestos is an option if you don’t want to pay for an entire removal service.

4. How to Protect Yourself as a Homebuyer

The importance of a home inspection contingency cannot be understated. You don’t want to buy a home that you later learn is contaminated with asbestos.

With a home inspection contingency, a homebuyer is allowed to cancel a home sale if an inspection reveals troubling results. You should absolutely require a contingency in place for any Canadian home older than 1986. It is, however, still a good idea to include a contingency for newer homes.

Remember that the owner of the home may not have performed an asbestos inspection. And odds are, they didn’t. That’s why it’s a good idea to take control of the situation and do it yourself.

An asbestos home inspection may be an additional fee, but it’s better than buying a home that will cost you thousands in asbestos removal later on.

5. Selling a Home With Asbestos

You have several options to make your home more attractive to homebuyers. The easiest option is to use an asbestos removal service. Although the service can be costly, this means you won’t have to lower your sale price to make a more competitive offer.

In that way, asbestos removal can pay for itself. And by removing asbestos, it also allows you to renovate key areas of your home. Perhaps you put off remodeling the bathroom because of the presence of asbestos.

Once it’s gone, you’ll be prepared to modernize your home and make it more attractive for homebuyers.

Of course, you could also choose to do nothing. If you live in a popular area, homebuyers may overlook asbestos contamination. Otherwise, you may have to lower your sale price or offer other incentives to land a home sale.

Are You Considering Asbestos Removal?

Although your home may be safe now, that won’t last forever. Materials containing asbestos will break down over time and increase your odds of contamination. Since it can take a decade or more to experience the effects of asbestos, you won’t know there’s a problem until it’s too late.

Has an asbestos inspection revealed a nasty surprise? Give yourself the peace of mind you deserve. Contact CleanFirst and take advantage of our asbestos removal services.

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