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6 Easy Ways to Identify Asbestos in Your Home WITHOUT a Specialist

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1. Flooring asbestos 9×9 vinyl tile9x9 tiles

In renovated homes, you will often not see these as they are sandwiched under layers of wood subfloors and newer flooring tiles. However, in many old homes that are not yet renovated, these 9×9 tiles are exposed and are certain to contain asbestos fibers since most, if not all tiles with this size were manufactured with asbestos containing fibers. Nowadays, most tiles are made in 12×12.

Look under carpets in basement or by lifting a floor vent and inspecting how many subfloors exist and if any contain vinyl.

Most often people will not remove asbestos materials due to cost and encapsulate them my adding additional layers. This is generally not a problem if they are not disturbed.

2. Asbestos fibers on plaster ceilings.

Plaster ceilingsHomes build prior to 1986 can have architectural effects on ceiling. Most often material used on compounds have some asbestos fibers. Whilst it is safe if not disturbed, it is still something you should be aware of.

The above ceiling design is one you should definitely test for asbestos. Never renovate or remove these ceilings without having them tested for asbestos fiber content first.

3. Asbestos on insulation

Pipe Insulation with AsbestosOlder homes commonly used boiler systems that were insulated with asbestos as a heat shield.

While we rarely use this type of heating anymore, you need to be aware that some leftover asbestos containing  insulation on older pipes might still be present. While there is no danger if asbestos insulation is in good condition, it always should be removed by professional asbestos contractors.

4. Vermiculite containing asbestos on attics and crawl spaces

Attic VermiculiteWhile the attic space is not considered a living space, if it contains asbestos fibers on the insulation, it is a very big expense to get rid of.

Make sure the vermiculite is tested for asbestos containing materials. Friable asbestos materials are very dangerous and expensive to remove.

5. Asbestos lining on floor vents

Asbestos on floor ventAsbestos was commonly used as a heat shield in floor vents before 1986. Whilst it is not hazardous unless disturbed, older houses still contain asbestos hidden on the wrap of the floor ventilation.

Unless you disturb it by sanding or trying to remove yourself, it’s not a problem, however the paper is highly made of asbestos fibers up to 93% and disturbance to it can cause issues.

Always check with asbestos abatement professionals.

6. Asbestos materials on vinyl sheet flooring

Vinyl Sheet flooringIf it looks old it probably is, however you must consider if the vinyl sheet flooring contains asbestos fibers if you plan on removing it.

Vinyl sheet goods are embedded with asbestos fibers to make them stronger and fire resistant, that it is why we used asbestos fibers in so many materials. We didn’t know at the time that causes cancer and some many other Health issues. A vinyl sheet flooring that looks like the above has a high chance of asbestos.

Always test for asbestos fibers before removing any older vinyl sheeting.

TIP: if black tar is adhering to the vinyl, it is almost a 100% asbestos containing fiber product.

wall mold

Mold on walls – drywall or plaster

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While drywall is porous, plaster is not.

This means that mold will grow on the drywall, and often times on both sides since it is an organic porous material; in fact the rich carbon paper back that holds the gypsum together is the preferred food source for Stachybotrys to grow and decompose given enough moisture.

If you have visible mold on the exterior of the drywall, is almost certain a larger amount of mold growth is present in the back of the drywall.

There are no products that can guarantee the successful cleaning of mold on the drywall due to the porosity of the material. Often times, it must be cut off and removed.

Mold on plaster walls on the other hand are cleanable since it is not a food source, and not porous. The mold is usually feeding on your paint and dust. However plaster walls can contain paper backing and if moisture penetrates the back of the plaster, the walls will need to be removed.

You must always consult with a mold remediation specialist to ensure you can determine the extent of the contamination.

Call us for a free inspection at 416-791-8020.