How to Identify Asbestos

We all know that asbestos is a dangerous substance when inhaled, but how can we identify it in a home or building?   Most asbestos materials cannot be identified just by looking at it.  Asbestos can easily be identified by a trained professional using a special microscope or you can order an Asbestos Test Kit and do it yourself if you want to save some money.  Asbestos is not dangerous if it is left undisturbed.  The fibers become dangerous when they are airborne.   This usually happens during a home remodel or home renovation project.  Asbestos was widely used in the construction industry for both commercial and residential building. Nearly all homes built in or prior to the 1980’s were built using one or more asbestos containing construction materials. A home may also have asbestos materials if it was remodeled during this period as well.  The most common time period for asbestos being used in the build of home, buildings and structures was from 1920-1986.  If your home was built during this time period, then it is likely to contain asbestos construction materials.

If you are considering a home remodel or home renovation and your home was built or remodeled prior to 1986, I would strongly consider you bring in an asbestos abatement company to take some samples and have them analyzed.  This will cost a few hundred dollars, but you can not put a price on you and your family’s health.”  Danny Garcia, owner of Rhino Design Build in San Antonio, Texas.

Locating Asbestos:

  1. Roofing materials: asphalt shingles, roofing felt, flashing and roofing adhesives may all contain asbestos in different amounts.
  2. Exterior cement siding, including shingles, clapboard and other cement products may contain between 12% and 15% asbestos.
  3. Acoustic plaster and finishers used in interiors have a characteristic popcorn-like texture, and may contain asbestos.
  4. Asbestos Tape on Pipe Adhesives, caulk, putty, tape and patching materials. These were most commonly used in locations subject to high temperatures.
  5. Insulation products, including loose or batt insulation used in walls, seal and duct coverings, pipe insulation, and electrical insulation may contain asbestos.
  6. Vinyl tiles (wall, floor and ceiling), and tile underlay.