Most homes contain asbestos in some form. Asbestos is a common element found in a wide range of building materials. For the last few decades, asbestos has been known, generally, to be a grave health risk. Long before that, the manufacturers of asbestos-containing materials knew that exposure to asbestos dust had the potential to cause fatal diseases, including mesothelioma. Too often, home owners begin renovations unaware that asbestos may be present in the materials they are disturbing. The question then becomes, “What should the property owner do before beginning renovations?”
“This is becoming a more common situation as homes are aging and home owners need to renovate to increase their property value and replace outdated materials,” said Paul Gizzarelli, manager of Stohl Remediation Services, Inc., a Blasdell, NY asbestos remediation company. Asbestos can be found in transite siding, in insulation (as loose fill in the attic, block wrapped around older boilers or insulation that wraps around heating ducts or pipes found in a basement), on ceilings (in popcorn skim or acoustic tiles) in plaster, drywall, floor tile, drywall joint compound and a multitude of other building materials.
“All too often, home owners go and rip off siding and crack floor tile without the knowledge that it may contain asbestos. You cannot always tell if materials contain asbestos by just looking at them. Ideally, the material in question should be sent to a lab so it can be analyzed by a professional,” Gizzarelli said.
“If there is a question as to whether or not a material contains asbestos, you want to avoid disturbing it.” Asbestos fibers are dangerous when they become airborne, he said, and the last thing you want to do is go and disturb something that is intact for the time being. If a home owner finds a material in their home that is crumbling or flaking, it is best to have a licensed asbestos company sample and then remove it. For homeowners, most average asbestos removal jobs can cost anywhere between $2,000 to $15,000.