For the historic homeowner, nothing beats the thrill of revitalizing, reimagining, or restoring a diamond in the rough. Buying a historic home presents more challenges than purchasing newer real estate, but older houses are sturdily built with architectural details that give them a unique appeal. There is, however, an inherent risk with remodeling projects for homes built in the mid-20th century. Asbestos was a commonly used building material that, when disturbed, can cause serious health ramifications. Before digging into a renovation project in a historic home, arm yourself with the knowledge of how to spot asbestos.
Check Your History
Do you know when your home was built? This knowledge will be invaluable when analyzing the risk of asbestos in your home. Homes built between the 1930s and 1970s are at the highest risk for asbestos. The EPA began to regulate the use of asbestos in the late 70s but didn’t fully ban it in building materials until 1989. So when should you worry? If your home was built *before 1980, take extra caution before starting any remodeling projects.
The Biggest Culprits
Asbestos can be found nearly anywhere in your home, from the roof tiles to the boiler in the basement. But it was used more frequently in certain types of building materials. Before starting a renovation project, check these potential sources of asbestos in the home:
- Popcorn ceilings and ceiling tiles
- Shingles, stucco, and transite siding
- Vinyl tiles, carpet underlays, and select flooring tiles and adhesives
- Wall and attic insulation
- Insulation around pipes, wiring, and A/C or heating units
- Caulk, cement, and certain joint compounds
How to Spot Asbestos
Although a professional inspection is recommended before starting a renovation project, a visual inspection can help you spot asbestos in a historic home.
- Look for textured surfaces. Materials containing asbestos often have craters or dimpling on the surface. This is especially true for materials such as roofing, shingles, and siding.
- Check joints. Aluminum, plastic, or wooden runners were often used to join asbestos sheeting. If you find these types of joints, there’s a good chance that you have asbestos insulation.
- Follow the guide. Our diagram shows the most common areas asbestos is found in residential homes. Walk through your house, paying close attention to the marked areas for signs of asbestos.
If you think you have asbestos in your home, don’t risk exposure. Contact Clean Environmental Group for safe, efficient asbestos abatement for your historic Atlanta home.
*Homes built after 1980 may contain asbestos from imported materials, etc. If you’re worried that your home may contain asbestos, always contact a professional asbestos testing company.
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