Hazardous materials in a home (such as asbestos, mold, lead, and other toxic materials) are often not found during home inspections or pose a current threat to you. However, this all changes when you decide to renovate a part of your property. Problems that were safely encapsulated or hidden away can surface as materials are cut into, demolished, or simply removed. As such, during planning and preparation phases of a renovation, it’s vital to locate and neutralize potential hazardous materials before anything is disturbed.
Knowing Your Home’s History
If you have a home that is 30 or more years old, chances are it has a few skeletons in its closet, such as materials that were fine when installed However today, we know these materials to be hazardous. We cover the four major types in our blog, Finding Hazardous Building Materials. The safest and easiest way to find if you have any is to research the material used.
- Find Manufacturer and Brand Name: As we talked about in our blog on identifying asbestos-vinyl floor tiles, look for spare or excess materials the contracts stores leave behind, as well as labels on material and machinery. Use this information to look it up online for hazardous materials.
- Know Your Home’s Age: When was your home built? Due to the muddled rulings in US laws on asbestos, buildings as late as 1989 could contain asbestos, with buildings in the 1940s and 1950s hitting peak popularity.
- Do Not Make Sample Cuts: If you’re looking for materials like lead or asbestos, the last thing you want is to get them airborne by taking a sample of the material. Leave that for specially trained contractors.
Make Sure Your Contractors are Trained
As a rule that varies within state laws, older homes have to be checked prior to remodeling or demolition for asbestos. While most contractors do this (after all, they endanger themselves if they don’t), it’s important to know they have the ability not only to identify asbestos, but to deal with it as well. Check with your contractors to make sure they have the right certification.
When in Doubt, Call in the Specialists
If your search for asbestos or conversations with contractors throws up red flags, it’s time to call in asbestos remediation specialists. Companies like Fiber Control, Inc. specialize in the procedures for dealing with asbestos and other hazardous materials. If you’re in Massachusetts or New Hampshire and need asbestos inspection and removal, we can help. Contact us today.