Asbestos is not a substance that is often found in homes today, as this material is heavily regulated, or even outright banned, as a construction material in many countries. Older homes that were built before such laws were put into place, however, may have this substance in the attic, wrapped around plumbing pipes and in other such spaces. If you think your home has asbestos, note a few questions you might have about it and its removal, and then be sure to discuss your concerns with a contractor as needed.
Where is asbestos found in the home?
Don't assume that asbestos is only in the attic or wrapped around plumbing pipes, as the material was once used as a spray-on fireproofing for homes. The material has also been used in glues and adhesives, so it may be underneath floor tiles and carpeting that has been glued to the subfloor. Asbestos has been mixed with hard and soft plaster, so it might also be present in plaster walls, and has been found in joint and caulk compound used around windows and as edging for floor tiles.
Should asbestos always be contained?
It's often advised that you leave asbestos in the home and simply contain it with plastic sheeting as the material is only dangerous when it's airborne. The right containment method will then keep the material in place and keep you and your family perfectly safe; however, if the asbestos is becoming frayed or is deteriorating in any way, you should go through asbestos removal as decaying asbestos-containing materials often mean the asbestos may soon become airborne. An asbestos removal expert can examine the area of the asbestos and the condition of the material itself and advise on your best option.
Should the building materials themselves be removed?
If it's decided that the asbestos in your home should be removed, a contractor may also want to remove certain building materials and have those replaced. This is often done if the asbestos has seeped into a material, such as soft wood of the home's subfloor, or if an adhesive, glue or resin cannot be easily scraped away from a surface. In those cases, it's often safer to remove the entire pipe, tile, or other piece, rather than to try to scrape or otherwise remove the asbestos from the surface. Your asbestos contractor can recommend the best choice for your home depending on the condition of the building material and how easily it would be to remove the asbestos from its surface.