Let’s say you’ve found asbestos in your home. What should you do about it? Leaving it alone is a poor choice, as if it becomes (or is) airborne, it can lead to long-term health issues. Upon discovery, it’s time to consult an asbestos abatement specialist: they will provide one or more of three major options. Asbestos encapsulation, asbestos removal, or asbestos demolition are possible choices under the asbestos abatement umbrella.
Asbestos Encapsulation: Best When Safe
Asbestos comes in many forms, used in one way or another in almost every part of homes and commercial buildings. Encapsulation – the sealing of asbestos behind a protective coating and durable material – is one of the cheaper forms of dealing with asbestos. It works best when the asbestos fulfills these three requirements:
- The asbestos has been mixed with a durable material, such as in vinyl-asbestos flooring.
- The material is in good condition and shows no sign of wear or tear.
- The affected area is easy to seal away: a flat surface, one or more sides already sealed against a solid surface (such as cement walls or flooring), etc.
It’s important to note that after a successful encapsulation, you still have asbestos in your building. As such, it will be something you will have to inform people of if you decide to lease or sell the building.
Removal: Dealing with an Asbestos Threat
Asbestos removal is the most common solution when it comes to dealing with asbestos. This is done in a three-step process where the area is sealed off, the material removed, and then the area cleaned to deal with any asbestos that becomes airborne during removal. Removing asbestos is critical when dealing with asbestos that has started to become airborne or is friable (learn more about friable and non-friable asbestos in our blog about it here). We also have a blog comparing encapsulation and removal: Asbestos Encapsulation Versus Asbestos Removal.
Demolition: Pervasive Asbestos Contamination
Demolition follows much of the same procedure as removal. However,instead of removing just the offending asbestos, the structure the asbestos was attached to is also removed. This is done in situations where the asbestos has either contaminated the structure (usually through material decay or natural disasters such as flooding) or is an intrinsic part of the structure, such as with forms of insulation. Note that if you’re doing demolition of any structure containing asbestos, local laws will generally require it be done by someone certified to handle asbestos.
When it comes to deciding how to deal with your asbestos problem, it’s important to get a consultation from the experts. Fiber Control, Inc. is an asbestos remediation specialist, with years of experience in the field. Reach out to us to get started, and we’ll help you figure out which options are right for you.