Finding asbestos during a home inspection is one of the most dreaded events that a potential buyer can stumble into, and it can lead to a rabbit hole of other worries and expenses. On top of it all, if the removal isn’t handled properly it could mean you are exposed to one of the most lethal silent killers in history.
We’re going to look at what exactly asbestos is, and why you might need to worry about finding some during a home inspection for a potential sale. We’ll also dig into what you need to do if it is found, and how you can safely remove it.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is not just one single contaminant, it’s actually a group of six similar minerals that occur naturally on the earth. The mineral forms in a fibrous structure and these fibers have been used in countless products for many years due to their highly heat-resistant nature. They have been most commonly used in fire-retardant coatings and insulation materials, such as ceiling tiles and home insulation, brake pads, and countless industrial applications.
The big problem with asbestos, however, is that when the fibers are broken off and become airborne, they can be easily inhaled, where they become embedded in the lung tissue. Over time the embedded fibers become enclosed in scar-like tissue that has the tendency to become cancerous. This cancer is mesothelioma, and it takes decades to form and develop and has a very high mortality rate. While asbestos is highly-regulated in the US, it is not yet entirely banned from all use.
What Is A Home Inspection For Asbestos?
In many cases, particularly those where older homes are being bought or sold, having a home inspection for asbestos can be a literal lifesaver. Most inspectors who do home inspections will check for asbestos, but it’s always best to make sure before you schedule an appointment.
There are several situations where you may want to seriously consider getting a home inspection for asbestos. These scenarios include:
- If you suspect that a component or feature of your home contains asbestos
- If you’re planning to renovate and need to know if asbestos is present before getting started
In these situations, not knowing for sure if asbestos is present, and subsequently disturbing it, could create a significant risk to your health.
What To Do If Asbestos Is Found In Your Home Inspection?
The CPSC, or the Consumer Product Safety Commission, says that the best thing to do with asbestos in good condition is to be left alone. Asbestos can be friable or non-friable, which means it can be crushed or not crushed, essentially. If the asbestos in your home is friable, you will need to look into removing the asbestos products or having them removed by a professional. If you are selling your home, you may want to discuss with your real estate agent if the presence of asbestos needs to be disclosed.
How To Safely Remove Asbestos
Removing asbestos is not only a complicated job, fraught with federal and state legal requirements for handling and disposal. There is also a considerable safety component, which can expose the handler to a significant risk of cancer if not handled and stored properly. In many cases, permits need to be obtained, disposal pre-arranged, and the removal team properly trained.
Leave Dangerous Asbestos Removal To The Experts
When it comes down to it, the risks of trying to remove components containing asbestos are often simply too large to deal with on a DIY level. In the case of asbestos, reach out to Sensitive Environmental to make sure your home has all hazardous materials safely removed.