How Can You Tell If A Home Has Asbestos? And Other Frequently Asked Questions From Homebuyers

People purchasing older homes may find themselves wondering whether or not they should be concerned about the presence of asbestos. If you are a home buyer just now starting to look at real estate for purchase, knowing which properties are likely to have asbestos and what can be done about it can help you as you go through the buying process.

How can you tell if a home has asbestos?

While some contractors and home inspectors will recognize asbestos on sight, the best way to tell if a home has asbestos is to have it tested by an asbestos abatement professional. He or she will come and sample tiny sections of the house that are likely to contain asbestos. These samples will be sent to a laboratory for testing. This testing is generally the only definitive way to determine whether or not a home has asbestos.

Which homes are most likely to have asbestos?

Asbestos was a very common material used in homes built between 1940 and 1975. If you are looking at residences built in this time period, it's very likely that the homes you are thinking about buying have asbestos in them somewhere.

Where is asbestos most commonly located?

Asbestos in residences is frequently found in pipe and broiler insulation. It can also be found in building materials like flooring, siding, air ducts, roofing materials, walls, ceilings, insulation, and paint.

Will presence of asbestos automatically cause health problems for the people who live there?

Asbestos can cause some kinds of lung cancer and other chronic health conditions. However, this is not an automatic problem. In order to create a health problem for members of the household, the asbestos must be friable. "Friable" means the asbestos is deteriorating. As the asbestos crumbles, asbestos fibers become airborne. These tiny fibers can cause cancer when inhaled. Asbestos that is in good condition is not a threat, provided that it remains in good condition.

If you would like to buy a home that contains asbestos, should you have it removed?

The condition of the asbestos will determine your course of action. Asbestos removal is usually the last resort, because disturbing the asbestos can cause it to break apart. Asbestos that is in good condition is generally left alone. It may be enclosed or encapsulated to protect it from deterioration. If the asbestos is deteriorating, the asbestos abatement professional can decide whether or not the asbestos should be removed. If you are thinking about purchasing a home that contains asbestos, consult with an asbestos abatement professional for the next steps.