How to Know You Have Asbestos in Your Renovation


Renovating your home Calgary can be a tedious process by itself. In addition to that, it can be a little more annoying to find that your renovation or building materials contain asbestos. In such a case, you really need to look out for the presence of asbestos.

Understanding Asbestos:

Asbestos in your Calgary house  is a naturally occurring material, set of six fibrous minerals, and highly non-reactive to most chemicals. It is non-combustible and possesses high durability. These properties of asbestos have led its way to the paths of commerce – shipbuilding, construction, power plants, etc. Asbestos consists of serpentine, chrysotile, amphibole, amosite, crocidolite, and other heterogeneous substances.

Three major types of asbestos include white asbestos (chrysotile), brown asbestos (amosite), and blue asbestos (crocidolite). The other three types are anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Asbestos can be found in numerous materials. To name some – fireproofing, floor tiles, insulation, cementing, piping, at times cigarettes and many, many more.

Asbestos is a metamorphic chemical and when material consisting of asbestos are damaged or become old or is disturbed in any way harmful fibers are released into the air around it. When these fibers are inhaled they cause serious diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, pleural thickening, lung irritation, asbestosis and many other allergic diseases.

Exposure to asbestos can happen in various fields such as construction workplace, old houses, smoking, mining or living around where asbestos mining is done, etc.

How to know you have asbestos in your renovation?


For creating general awareness, it is important to know where and how you can take precaution around asbestos. The basic things where asbestos can be found are ceilings, floor tiles, insulation materials, cigarettes, fireproofing materials, asbestos paper, and cement. Here are some signs and methods you can use to know if your renovation has asbestos.

  • History of the Place:

If the house has been built a little back in the 80s or 90s in Calgary houses then you should very much want to look out for asbestos, because most of the construction material then used asbestos, and must get a professionally trained person for asbestos checking. It is very important you do that because it might give rise to various short and long-term diseases. However, if you are building a new house, chances of getting materials which contain asbestos are less as it is not often used and if they are, they are written and labeled.

  • The Interior:

If again your house is an ancient one from the “20th century”, these are the things you should pay attention to inside the house, provided they are as old as the house itself. Although the list is long, we will shortlist some major ones for you.

Floor Tiles: Chances are the flooring of your house is as old as the house itself (well obviously!). Flooring tiles in early days, mostly the ones with nine by nine sizes, contained asbestos. Historically, this was popular between 1960 to 1980. Normal vinyl floor tiles or asphalt-based flooring tiles or twelve inches, thicker floor tiles are ones contaminated with these. Modern-day sheet linoleum is also likely to contain asbestos. Testing your flooring by taking dust sample for them might be a great idea.

Walls: Yet to say again if your house was made during the 1900s, it may contain asbestos in its drywall. Asbestos was mostly used back then to make it stronger, fireproof and was able to absorb more moisture. Even wallpapers of old houses release asbestos. The best way is to get it professionally tested and not disturb them by you.

Pipes: Old cement pipes are most likely to contain hazardous materials including asbestos. Unlike other housing things, this may not directly cause any respiratory disease, but it certainly does water pollution. Here are some piping names that contain asbestos and you can check for yourself – ‘Johns Manville Transited Pipe’, ‘Keene Ehret Durant Insulated Pipe’, ‘CertainTeed Asbestos Cement Pipe’, and ‘GAF Ruberoid Eternit Pressure Pipe’.

Electric Wiring: As asbestos is a non-combustible fireproof material, it was used in electrical wiring to make it safe, reduce electrical sparks. Crocidolite or blue asbestos was mainly used for this. ‘United States Gypsum Thermalux Generic’ was the product known to have used huge amounts of asbestos. If you find worn out wires, or it may have been installed before 1980s chances are more that it will contain asbestos.

Stove pads and other Materials: This is because of its fireproof quality. Other house appliances that contain asbestos are ironing boards, heaters, toasters, ovens, hair accessories, cookers, etc. Although these do not do high contaminations, they do contain enough to be mentioned in the list. Old appliances of these sorts are likely to contain asbestos.

Millboard and Paper Products: Millboards which are heat resistant are made using pressed asbestos. These serve as cooking and ironing pads. Asbestos dust was also used for making different kinds of paper products for your home.

  • Garages:

Asbestos might be found in garages and if you want to renovate your home, it should just not mean the interiors. Exterior house places like garages, dog houses might contain asbestos for its property of being durable and non-reactivity.

  • Other places:

Some other miscellaneous places you might want to look for asbestos are roof sheeting, bricks, linings, mats, wood heaters, furnaces, boilers, adhesives, textured paints, shingles, steam pipes and ceiling joints. Also, damaged, degraded, and friable products, that are dry, will disintegrate and crumble, may form dust are sure to contain asbestos, mostly because they are old.

What to do when you know you have things containing asbestos?

The first and major step you must take is keeping it undisturbed. If you are not a professional yourself the best way is to get one and proceed in testing the surroundings. You may either want to completely remove the materials that contain asbestos or might just want to get them repaired. It is your choice and also depends on how old and hazardous it is. Keep very fewer activities around the contaminated areas until the removal is done. The removal process is cheap and less dangerous than removal process.