You’d be hard-pressed to find a person that doesn’t know about the dangers of asbestos – what with the personal injury ads and news coverage – but many people aren’t aware of what this substance looks like. This makes it complicated to determine if or where asbestos is present in one’s home. Since disturbed asbestos can cause harmful health conditions, it’s crucial to find out if the substance is in your home. That said, is it possible to spot asbestos with the naked eye?
Can a Homeowner See Asbestos?
Asbestos is used in products, from construction materials and paint to automobile parts. In most cases, unless clearly labeled, asbestos-containing products are impossible to identify just by looking at them.
Asbestos in Its Native Form
In its natural state, asbestos has a unique makeup of crystal-like formations comprised of thin and long fibers. The fibers – as mentioned in our blog about HEPA air filters – average 3 microns in diameter, which is 2 microns smaller than a human red blood cell, so the fibers, alone, are impossible to detect with the naked eye.
Asbestos in Construction Materials
When the fibers are broken down and combined with other substances – such as to reinforce cement or plastics – it’s nearly impossible to identify. Fortunately, a few examples of warning signs include:
- Dark discoloration and oily textures on floor tiles are signs of asbestos mastic.
- Old corrugated cement roofing often contains asbestos.
- Frayed piping or electrical insulation should also spark concern.
If you should encounter any of these warning signs – especially in homes built before 1990 – your next immediate action should be to hire an asbestos contractor to inspect your property.
Asbestos During Renovations
If you’re suspicious that there’s asbestos in your home, you should first contact an experienced asbestos company before performing renovations. However, if you’re already in the midst of renovations or demolition and notice damaged materials – such as the drywall or shingles – contain frayed, sinuous fibers, you should vacate the premises, as it may indicate the presence of asbestos.
Since it’s extremely difficult to spot asbestos with the naked eye, it’s important to minimize your health risks by not touching the material and hiring a professional to handle any suspicious substances. At Fiber Control, Inc., we can perform the inspection of the contaminated area and perform every step of the asbestos abatement process with the utmost amount of caution and care. If you’re looking to remove or remediate asbestos or other hazardous materials from your home, be sure to contact us today.