The Most Common Places You'll Find Asbestos in Your Home - Alliance
January 13, 2015

The Most Common Places You’ll Find Asbestos in Your Home

Written by Alliance Environmental

Asbestos has been linked to a wide range of serious health problems, including aggressive cancers and pulmonary fibrosis. It’s also one of the most common contaminants found in the air of houses built before 1980.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a subsidiary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no way to know how extensive the asbestos problem is in the United States.

Though asbestos is relatively harmless when captured in solid materials, your next remodeling project could send asbestos particles into the air, which is why the first step in safely removing asbestos is knowing where it typically hides in most homes.

The home’s exterior

Tiled siding and composite roofing materials often contain asbestos. These present minimal danger to the people inside the house as long as they remain in good condition. If they become weathered and damaged, or if you replace the siding without taking care not to break the old tiles, they can release asbestos particles into the air.

Insulation

Asbestos-containing insulation runs through many homes, and is one of the most likely sources of airborne particles when disturbed. One of the biggest concerns is vermiculite insulation, which is often used as a loose-fill insulation. Be especially careful in areas where insulation may be exposed, such as:

  • Attics, especially with visible loose insulation
  • Unheated crawl spaces
  • Open wall cavities, such as unfilled spaces for light fixtures or wall outlets
  • Around duct work

Never disturb the insulation without wearing respiratory protection and, especially in older homes, always consult an inspector before removing asbestos-containing insulation. Any suspected asbestos insulation should never be disturbed except by a qualified professional, as any movement could send hazardous fibers into the air.

The floor and walls

Vinyl tiles often contain asbestos. Pay particular attention to very dark-colored older tiles, hard vinyl tiles, and some types of vinyl sheet flooring. In these older homes, the adhesives used to install flooring of all types may also be an asbestos hazard.

Paints and plasters of various types, especially older textured paint, often contain asbestos. There’s little danger of airborne particles in their usable, cured form, but are a big concern when stripping down and replacing these old materials. The plaster used in older homes for molding and sealing is also likely to contain asbestos, as is many types of drywall.

Around furnaces and fireplaces

Asbestos is resistant to fire and high heat, so it’s often found around wood-fueled fireplaces. This might be in the form of asbestos paper on the walls or an asbestos coating on the surrounding floor. Gas fireplaces may also have asbestos in the form of faux ash or embers. The gaskets on doors of gas or oil-fueled furnaces frequently contain asbestos. Removing asbestos gaskets is advisable only if the old gasket is weathered and damaged.

Protecting the plumbing

Because of its insulating properties, asbestos tape may be placed around pipes that carry hot tap water, as well as boiler-heated water or steam pipes throughout the home. It may also be found on pipes that are exposed to the elements such as those on exterior walls, or in the building’s crawl space or basement.

Asbestos-related illnesses and legal claims continue to be a concern. Rental owners and property managers can be held liable if tenants become ill, especially if it can be proven that asbestos-containing materials were mishandled or ignored.

Removing asbestos comes with inhalant risks that can’t be ignored, and should always be approached with caution. Never do major renovations on older buildings without consulting an asbestos inspector to help protect everyone’s long-term health.

Download a free copy of our Asbestos, Lead Paint & Mold eBook to learn how to mitigate the liability risks associated with common environmental threats found in residential properties.

Related

Other Environmental Posts

View Category
May 18, 2022
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 23
The month of May is dedicated to National Wildfire Awareness Month. Knowing how to prevent and be prepared for wildfires is crucial to the health and safety of all. Over the last few years, every corner of this country has been affected by devastating wildfires. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 45,518 wildfires burned…
April 13, 2022
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 22
Spring is in full bloom, and Easter is around the corner. As we enter the second quarter of the year, we are starting to see a return to life as we had once known. More people are dining out. Travel has seen an increase as people go on vacation, and retail shops see an increase…
March 8, 2022
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 21
We at Alliance Environmental Group would like to acknowledge the women who continue to break down barriers and excel in all industries but specifically those who play key roles either in the field or positions of management and leadership. March helps us celebrate these phenomenal women with the celebration of International Women’s Day and the…
January 6, 2022
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 20
Here’s wishing you a wonderful start to 2022 and a prosperous year ahead. With a new year, we are afforded with the opportunity for us to focus on ensuring safety while effectively addressing indoor air quality and the need for us as a community to maintain clean and sanitary environments at home, school, workplace, or…
December 27, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
The HOA & Manager’s Guide to Mold in Apartment Complexes
Winter is here and that means one thing when it comes to mold: it’s time for it to grow and spread. Since mold prefers areas with high humidity and moisture, winter can pose an issue for apartment and condo complexes in particular as it is harder for these spaces to regulate the condensation that happens…
December 20, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
Dangers of Lead in Children’s Toys and the Home
Protecting families from health risks is something everybody wants to do, and within many homes, there are still risks of lead poisoning for children and adults alike. Lead has been banned in many household products and children’s toys, but it is still a problem that can affect families. The holiday season is a big time…
December 17, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
Your Guide to Prepping Facilities for Winter
When we think of winterizing, we often simply think about preparing for the colder temperatures, ensuring that pipes don’t burst and the like. But proper winterization is about more than inspecting pipes. It’s about improving the heating efficiency in your facilities, increasing safety and workflows, and ensuring that the occupants are comfortable and content throughout…
December 13, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
Understanding Asbestos Risks During Winter Renovations
The holiday and winter seasons are a great time to get together with family and friends, however, it is also a great time to get some home renovations done while off from work. These renovations are often small, but they can still come with risks if working on an older home that could contain asbestos.…
December 2, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 19
December has dawned upon us, and we have entered the final stretch of what can be summarized as a tumultuous year. The holiday season is here, and as we look back on the past year, we can reflect on how we have had to adapt to pandemic life and living in this new normal way…
November 2, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 18
We have just commenced with the penultimate month of the year, and we have a lot to be thankful for. November marks National Gratitude month. As we move ahead with our daily lives and routines, we should be reminded of the importance of Thanksgiving and giving back. In chronological order, November 11 is Veterans Day.…
View Category