Category: Asbestos Removal

How to remove asbestos

Why Are Popcorn Ceilings So Terrible

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Popcorn Ceilings May Contain Asbestos

Many older houses have what are known as popcorn ceilings. If you are thinking of buying one of these older houses, then find out about these types of spray on ceiling covers before making an offer, so you know whether you are willing to live with it or able to afford the cost of removing it.

What Is A Popcorn Ceiling

A popcorn ceiling is the name given to ceilings that have been treated with a spray-on textured paint. They are also known as acoustic ceilings, because they have sound-proofing qualities. Many people do not like them, firstly because they are old fashioned and not what they consider to be in tune with modern decor and secondly because they may contain asbestos.

Does It Contain Asbestos?

Volunteers Exposed To Asbestos Dust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This case dates back to the year 2009 in Michigan, USA when a group of volunteers and untrained employees were tasked by Detroit International Bridge Co, with cleaning up an old building at Michigan Central Station. The company was subsequently fined by the OSHA for exposing these people to asbestos dust and other toxic materials.

Sources Of Asbestos in Homes

Where To Find Asbestos In The Home

It’s often surprising just where exactly asbestos can be found in older homes and what needs to be done to ensure a safe asbestos clean up. The best route is to bring in the experts. Qualified asbestos removal firms will have trained staff, who will know where exactly to look for possible uses, such as sidings, floor tiles,  asbestos duct or ductwork insulation and boiler areas for instance. They will also be trained to use the correct methods, such as taping off areas with asbestos danger tape, using asbestos cleaning cloths and disposal bags or they may possibly recommend asbestos encapsulation methods for areas where the material does not need removal and is not friable but where work is needed to ensure any asbestos cannot be accidentally released.

The Health and Safety Executive in the UK has produced an image that shows some (not all) of the possible places to find asbestos in the home. The numbering guide can be found on their page. The picture is linked to the page it comes from.

www.asbestosremovalz.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is an old film available that shows many of the areas where asbestos can be found in an older house. Warning: the video is actually called “how to  safely remove asbestos” but what it really does is show you where asbestos is located. If you are interested in watching to see how many ways asbestos was used in older houses, then check out the asbestos documentary below.

 

This page contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

Home Decor And Maintenance

If you own a home for any length of time, you will probably plan to improve some aspect of it at some point, even if it’s just painting a door or a wall. And home improvement can also be a great hobby: it can build useful skills and give you a great sense of satisfaction. Of course, it can also improve the function and look of your home, provided it is done correctly!

Planning

Planning ahead is vital if you don’t want to waste money and time. Check out home decor and DIY magazines and books for ideas and inspiration. Give yourself some time to learn, rather than just jumping into action straight away. Take some design elements from pictures you see, and use other people’s ideas to help spark your creativity. You might even want to create a vision board or journal to keep ideas to think about.

It’s also important to remember that every piece of real estate is subject to building codes; without proper research, the requirements imposed by local codes and zoning regulations can present a nasty surprise to those who intend to do home maintenance or to make major improvements to their home, including removing walls, extending the building or converting a roof space or garage. You could find that your expensive work is not approved and have to spend money returning your house to the way it was!

When thinking about making a major renovation to your home, check the kind of return that you could hope to get from your investment, as some updates can be a bit of an overkill depending on the neighborhood you live in, especially if you might be thinking about selling your home within a couple of years of doing this renovation. If you do too much, you might not get your money back on the improvements you made. Also think about how any changes might affect your home’s resale value. For example, you might think about converting your garage into a living room to meet your immediate needs, but this might affect your chance of selling or the price you might get at a later date. Even if you don’t plan on selling immediately, circumstances can change, and you may have to spend additional money getting your home back to the way it was.

Getting The Work Done

If you have the time and the skills, you may plan to do all the work yourself, but if you need to bring someone in, don’t ever hire an unlicensed contractor. General contractors as well as sub contractors are required to have certification in most states. This does not guarantee competence, but it is legally required. If contractors are not adequately licensed and insured, you don’t want to hire them. Always insist on references before hiring a contractor to work on your home improvement project. Hiring a competent and experienced professional is worth the money to give you peace of mind that the job is done right the first time.

Tools And Materials

It is important to use the highest quality supplies and tools when doing a home improvement project. You may spend more initially, but you’ll save money down the road. Better quality products survive wear and tear and last longer. Tools can be expensive and you don’t want to have to replace them regularly.

Get The Basics Checked

Before you start remodeling or redecorating a room, bring in a professional for an electrical checkup. This is a legal requirement in some places. You also need to check the plumbing, to be sure that it is in good working condition. It’s no fun having to tear out a new floor or rip into a new wall, to make a repair that should have been done before doing the work.

Asbestos

If your house is an older one, you will need to check for asbestos before starting in to major work. For instance, if you have older floor tiles or a popcorn ceiling, it will need to be tested to see if it contains asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring but harmful substance that requires extra care when it is removed and disposed of, but it is generally only harmful if disturbed. If you do find asbestos, you will need to hire a special crew, who are trained and licensed to remove it.

What does the siding on your home look like? Do you have an asbestos siding? If so, again, if you plan on removing it, whether to replace it with more modern siding or because it is in poor condition, you will need to hire a licensed asbestos removal contractor. The same goes for asbestos roof tiles or slates. If your roof is damaged and needs repaired, and the slates or tiles on it are asbestos, any damaged ones that need removed must be dealt with by a licensed contractor and disposed of properly.

Building Consultants Asbestos Fine

Danger sign for asbestos

Asbestos is Dangerous

Building consultants, Watts Group PLC were prosecuted and fined £30,000, plus costs in January 2016 for health and safety breaches that allowed two construction workers to be exposed to asbestos.

The group was the asbestos removal project manager and surveyed for asbestos prior to replacement of doors in a service duct below a hospital. They drew up plans showing where asbestos was present and where it had been removed. The survey, however was defective and asbestos in poor condition was present throughout the area but not shown on the plans.

It is vital to health and also to comply with legal requirements that the correct type of asbestos survey is carried out systematically and results recorded. Information on where to find asbestos can be found on the HSE website.

Persons responsible for managing premises such as shops or industrial units have a duty to manage asbestos. You can find out more about that at HSENI’s ‘Duty to manage asbestos’ page

Heating Engineer Fined £5,000 and costs – Asbestos Risk

Circular Saw

Circular Saw

A self employed heating engineer was prosecuted and fined for not preventing exposure to asbestos in a home where he was carrying out work. He was installing a new heating system at the home and removed redundant pipework with a circular saw and then carried the lagged pipework through the house and left it outside in the garden. This meant that asbestos fibres could have been released exposing both him and the homeowners to contamination.

The contractor had not undertaken any asbestos awareness training, which would have helped him recognise that the lagging could contain asbestos. Once recognised as a possible source of asbestos, he should have had it removed by a licensed contractor. As it was, the house owners had to move out for their home to be decontaminated.

Karl Locher pleaded guilty at Trafford Magistrates’ Court to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £5,000 with £3,000 costs.

Remember, his insurance company will also have had to pay for compensation associated with this, so his insurance costs will skyrocket too!

Sources of Asbestos Hazards

Where can Asbestos be Found? Potential Sources of Asbestos

Warning sign for potential asbestos

Asbestos Hazard Warning Sign

Do you have any idea where asbestos is lurking? Though regulations have become quite strict, there are still some residential and commercial sources of asbestos.

Asbestos products have gradually been disappearing but they were widely used before the introduction of bans on the use of this material and it’s still possible to find asbestos in older constructions.

Identifying and getting rid of asbestos is essential because of the numerous health risks associated to it. Here are some of the most common sources of asbestos that you could come across.

 

Asbestos Cement

water tank

water tank

Asbestos cement roofs and flues were common in the past. Asbestos cement roofs can be commonly found on farms and commercial properties.

Sometimes, asbestos can also be discovered in the roofs of sheds or garages. Asbestos cement flues were common in boiler systems, air conditioning and ventilation. These were typical for both commercial and residential developments.

Asbestos cement was sometimes used in the construction of water tanks, as well. Properties constructed prior to the 1980s could potentially have a water tank made of this material.

Sealants

furnace

furnace

Until the 1980s, asbestos was frequently used as a sealant around windows and doors. Its insulating properties made the material a really common pick in both residential and commercial buildings.

Asbestos is also heat-resistant, which is why the material could be found as a sealant in old furnaces. Cleaning older furnaces could potentially be a dangerous activity because it may release the asbestos particles in the air. Figuring out whether the material was used for insulation prior to getting started with cleaning will be essential.

 

 

Wallpaper

Yes, asbestos could be found in something as innocent as old wallpaper.

wallpaper

wallpaper

Many vinyl papers made prior to the 1980s contain asbestos. Removing those and replacing them with something a bit more innovative could be a downright dangerous task. Intact wallpaper isn’t dangerous but trying to tear it from the walls will release the asbestos fibers in the air.

If you’re looking at an older house that’s in need of wallpaper removal, you should first talk to a professional about it. Experts in the field will test the wallpaper and the adhesive for asbestos, after which they’ll recommend the best removal procedure.

Textured Coatings

textured coating

textured coating

In the past, textured coatings were used as a decorative finish. They were popular for use on the walls and the ceilings of buildings.

Depending on the particular decorative effect that was sought, such textured coatings could have peaks or different patterns. The original color of the material is white. It can easily be painted over.

If undisturbed, textured coatings containing asbestos are not dangerous. Still, it’s essential to get those identified and assess the risk. If you plan to carry out a renovation project in the future that involves tearing down the coating, you’ll need professional assistance.

Floor Covers

Vinyl sheets and rubber floor covers often contained asbestos fibers in the past. These

floor tiles

textured tiles

materials were “tight” and heavy because of the presence of asbestos fibers. Even the adhesive that was used for such floor covers contained some amount of asbestos.

It’s a general assumption that floor covers and tiles installed prior to the 1980s contain some amount of asbestos.

The amount of asbestos in flooring is generally small and older floors can be easily covered with new materials. If the old flooring is to be removed, however, the danger will have to be evaluated in advance.

How to Check for Asbestos and Identify It

A visual inspection of your home, office or other commercial property is the only one you should be undertaking. Don’t disturb the material that could potentially be a source of asbestos. Inhaling the fibers will increase the risk of experiencing asbestos-related health problems, so be careful about it.

Asbestos is a fibrous material and any old insulation fibers could potentially contain it. Requesting the assistance of a certified professional is the best idea in such situations. The professional will take a small sample from the questionable material and lab exams will be performed to determine whether there is asbestos.

Depending on the location of the material and its condition, you’ll have to determine whether to remove it or leave it undisturbed. Asbestos products in good condition will not release dangerous fibers. If any damage has been incurred, however, safe removal will be the best strategy.

Any older building comes with the risk of asbestos being present in the construction materials. Since the health risks associated with asbestos are serious, it’s important to identify it and assess the material’s condition early enough. Asbestos-containing materials may be isolated, repaired or removed. Whichever option you choose, it’s crucial to pick a certified professional for the execution of the task.

Asbestos Dangers

Asbestos

Chrysotile

Chrysotile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral material that is still found in many buildings, especially older ones. It is a good insulating material but is linked to causing very serious health problems for people, including cancer, so is rarely used in the construction industry nowadays. In many countries, it is illegal to use it any more but it sometimes has to be removed from facilities where it was installed previously.

There are several forms of asbestos and some are more dangerous than others, with chrysotile appearing to be the most dangerous form. Those working in areas with this type of asbestos or living near production facilities using it have developed health problems, especially lung problems and tumors. Asbestos consists of many small fibers that can become airborne when the asbestos is disturbed and are then breathed in, causing various illnesses. Some people have become so ill due to their exposure to asbestos that they are unable to go about their normal life and this has resulted in lawsuits from workers who believe that their health was not properly protected even though the dangers were known about.

Fiberglass has replaced asbestos in many areas now. It is a good insulating material also. Removing asbestos from buildings and replacing it with new materials is very costly and time consuming. Those involved in the process have to wear protective clothing to help prevent the harmful fibers from getting into their bodies.

Asbestos & Mesothelioma

English: Mesothelioma of the left lower lung.

English: Mesothelioma of the left lower lung. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure. It has a very poor prognosis (outlook) and most people diagnosed as having it are likely to die from it, either directly or from the effect it has on their other vital organs. It affects the cells lining the lung area as well as the chest cavity and promotes the growth of tumors in these areas, some of which (though not necessarily all) may be cancerous.

For some people, it takes only a single exposure to asbestos to develop mesothelioma, while others are exposed to it for many years before being affected. And it can take many years for mesothelioma to develop – as long as 20 years between exposure and development of the illness. It is this illness that means that construction or building workers must assess whether asbestos is present before they begin any remodeling or destruction of an existing building.

Asbestos Testing

In order to determine if asbestos is present in a given location the materials have to be tested. They are collected and then sent to a laboratory for the testing to be completed. If the tests are positive then measures are taken to secure the area until the removal or encapsulation process can be implemented and completed. For many people, knowing where to look for asbestos is very important too. In older homes you may not even realize it is a factor to be concerned about.

Fuse Box  with asbestos

Fuse Box with asbestos (Photo credit: sarflondondunc)

Asbestos was once very popular as a type of insulation, so anywhere using insulation is the first place that someone testing for asbestos is likely to take test samples from. They will also look into any heat ducts, the fireplace, around wiring housing, the furnace, and around plumbing pipes. Any workers should wear protective gear as a precaution while searching for collection samples.

Only trained professionals should be used to assess whether asbestos is present: they will know where and what to look for. The general homeowner doesn’t usually have this knowledge or the training. Your local health department or building services department may be able to provide a list of professionals in your area to carry out this work for you.

There are many different times when you may decide to do asbestos testing. If you live in a home that was built before 1980 it may not have been tested before. Finding out if you have asbestos in the area or not can give you peace of mind. You certainly don’t want to risk exposing your family to the harmful effects. You also don’t want to lie awake at night wondering if it is present or not.

You will also need to complete an asbestos test before you begin any type of remodeling or if you are tearing down something. These types of activities can loosen the fibers associated with asbestos and make them airborne as dust. This is when they are most dangerous and this is why asbestos is often kept damp if it becomes necessary to remove it.

Asbestos Removal

English: Worker are removing asbestos before d...

English: Worker are removing asbestos before demolishing the Imperial Courtyard Apartments in Irving, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since asbestos can be so very dangerous for both people and animals, it has to be either covered up or removed and replaced with other types of materials such as fiberglass. The first option is to cover it, if possible (e.g by encapsulation) but if it cannot be safely covered, then it may need to be removed in a safe manner and this may even involve you having to move out for a few days. This is important so that residents don’t end up becoming ill from any airborne fibers.

Generally, a person has to be certified in asbestos removal to be able to perform the duties. There are plenty of well trained contractors out there with the right training. They also have all the safety equipment to do the job properly without putting their own health at risk.

The process has to be systematic so that as few fibers are broken loose during it as possible. It is the many fine fibers in asbestos that are responsible for the medical problems so the asbestos may be wetted down to help reduce the amount of fibers and dust that get loose into the area.

Once the asbestos is removed it has to be stored properly as well. There are special containers made for it that won’t leak the asbestos out into the environment. They are classified as a container for hazardous materials so that anyone coming upon them will know that what is inside could potentially be harmful.

In many locations, the collected containers of asbestos are buried in landfills. In other areas, asbestos can be dumped ONLY at licensed dumps for such hazardous waste. An asbestos removal professional will know the regulations for your area. Many areas will impose hefty fines and even jail time for not properly disposing of asbestos. This is due to the many health concerns related to it.

Asbestos can be a dangerous material, although it has been very useful in the past for insulation. If you discover it in your house, or if you want to do construction work on an older house, you would be well-advised to get a trained and qualified asbestos professional to assess any problem and advise on containment or removal.

 

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Removing Asbestos

What You Should Know About Asbestos Removal

English: This is a typical asbestos enclosure ...

English: This is a typical asbestos enclosure constructed by Trinitas Contracts in the UK for the removal of asbestos sprayed coating from beams. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve found out that your home has asbestos, what are you going to do? Asbestos was used in many homes over the years as it was fire and chemical retardant. Although it would have seemed like a good choice because of those reasons, asbestos has now been found to cause respiratory and lung problems. Because of the popularity of asbestos in building over the years, many older buildings and homes may have asbestos in them. If your home has asbestos in it, you will need to have it assessed for risk. In most cases, it is best to leave it in place and possibly encapsulate it but in some cases, you may need to properly remove it to prevent health problems for you and your family.

When asbestos needs to be removed, it requires a professional asbestos removal team. You should NOT try doing it yourself. If you were to choose to remove the asbestos yourself, you could be breaking the law (in the United Kingdom anyway) and it could end up more costly than having the professionals do it. If you have to have asbestos removed, you should however, have a sample taken (by a qualified asbestos professional) to have it tested to make sure that asbestos is actually present in your home before you start arranging for professional removal.

What do the Professionals do?
Professional asbestos removal companies will know what the country, state or federal regulations are for removing asbestos. They will have or will obtain the necessary permits for asbestos removal in your area. These permits tell them how to handle the removal process, and should also designate a safe disposal area. When they are ready to begin your asbestos removal, the removals people will have a proper system for breathing. Breathing asbestos is very bad for you (it can cause a form of cancer) therefore they need to have a form of breathing ventilation system.They also wear protective clothing that can be disposed of after the work is complete.

It is illegal, in many places, to hire anyone to remove asbestos if they are not professionally qualified and registered. Asbestos needs to be kept wet at all times during its removal as, when asbestos is wet, the fibers will stay in place and won’t become airborne. As the removal proceeds, the removed asbestos is put into sealed storage containers, which will then be taken to a landfill designated to handle asbestos disposal.

Removing asbestos is a long, potentially harmful process. It must be handled with a lot of care as you do not want to cause any health problems for yourself, family, or anyone around. If you need to remove asbestos you MUST contact professionals that specialize in asbestos removal.

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