If you have an older home, asbestos testing is well worth the investment. Asbestos has been used in building materials in the U.S. for decades. While it’s commonly found in a lot of products and construction materials, exposure to large amounts can be dangerous.
If you suspect your home has asbestos, a professional can perform tests and removal procedures to keep you and your family safe. Long-term exposure to asbestos can cause respiratory problems, chest pain, and even cancer.
Luckily, this round-up has everything you need to know about asbestos. From the type of materials used in your home to its age, we’ll go over the six most common asbestos signs to watch for. Here’s how you can tell if you may have asbestos in your home.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos consists of six natural minerals. These minerals make soft, flexible, heat resistant fiber. In the early 1970s, the U.S. consumption of asbestos products peaked. Asbestos products were affordable, easy to manufacture, and cost-effective to build with.
Exposure to asbestos over several years can cause serious health and respiratory problems. Thankfully, by the late 1970s, people began to better understand the dangerous effects of too much asbestos exposure. Labor unions began to require safer work environments and asbestos-free conditions.
Asbestos is still used in a number of consumer goods and construction materials. Products made with less than 1% of asbestos are still allowed in the United States, today.
1. You Have an Older Home
If you have an older home, it’s likely your home may contain asbestos. If your home was built prior to 1980, chances are asbestos materials were used. Asbestos is in walls, floor tiles, roofs, and ceilings in almost all homes built before the 1980s.
If you’re purchasing an older home, you can ask if an asbestos test was ever done. If it hasn’t, you may be able to order one prior to closing. If you’re planning on doing significant renovations, you’ll want to assume there was asbestos used so you’re prepared for the removal costs when you get started.
2. Your Home has Vinyl Tiles
Asbestos is most commonly found in vinyl tiles versus other types of flooring. Before you buy a home with vinyl flooring, know that it is highly probable you have asbestos under your floor.
Vinyl tile flooring was especially popular in the 1980s. Many products were made before asbestos restrictions were put in place. If you’re ripping up old vinyl tile floors, you’ll want to hire an asbestos professional to test and remove the asbestos before you continue with construction.
3. Insulation on Your Pipes
If you have an older home, your pipes were likely insulated with asbestos because it is fireproof. If you see gray or white insulation around your pipes that were installed before the 1980s – these will likely contain asbestos. Pipes may contain a large amount of asbestos so it’s important to have them professionally tested.
4. You Have Old Ceiling Tiles
If your ceiling tiles are older, there could be asbestos inside. Before you start tearing a celling apart, make sure you have a professional come to inspect them. When asbestos is disturbed, the particles can become dangerous to breathe.
Have a professional come in to remove any asbestos particles before you start remodeling your ceiling or adding an addition. Breathing in too much asbestos can be dangerous to your respiratory system when inhaled.
5. Your Home Has Roofing Sheets
Most of the corrugated, flat, sheets of roofing have some asbestos in them. White asbestos is the most durable for roofing projects due to its fireproofing. There can be dangerous levels of asbestos in these products, however so it’s best to call a professional if you suspect you have asbestos on your roof.
If you’re purchasing a new home, your home inspector may be able to tell you about any suspected asbestos they find. A roofer may also find this during an inspection or any maintenance work.
6. Health Problems: Do I Have Asbestos Poisoning?
If you’ve lived in an older home for a long period of time, you may have been exposed to asbestos. Small amounts of asbestos exposure aren’t likely to cause damage, but over enough time you could feel serious side effects.
Symptoms of asbestos poisoning include shortness of breath, a dry cough that won’t go away, weight loss, loss of appetite, chest pain or finger and toe clubbing. Clubbing is when your toes and fingers look rounder and wider than they normally do. Asbestos poisoning can also lead to cancer in some cases.
If you feel any signs of asbestos poisoning, talk to your doctor right away. If you suspect asbestos in your home, call a professional to inspect it and remove it before symptoms worsen.
When Your Home Needs Asbestos Testing
If your house is older, there’s a good chance you may have asbestos in some part of your home. There are several different types of materials used in home construction containing asbestos.
If your home has asbestos it could be causing you or your family health problems. Long-term exposure to asbestos can cause severe respiratory problems and even cancer if left untreated. Professional asbestos testing is the only way to tell if it’s present in your home.
If you suspect asbestos, fill out the form here to get in touch with a professional who can come and inspect it.