Remodeling Your Older Home? Take Asbestos Out of the Equation

 In Asbestos, Construction, Real Estate Transactions

Older homes are often long on curb appeal and if you own one, chances are its charm is what seduced you in the first place. Unlike newer construction, older houses tend to be loaded with character, boasting interesting architectural features like arches or stained glass and built by craftsman who favored redwood over engineered wood and plaster walls over flimsy sheetrock.

But older houses were also built before kitchen islands and open floor plans became the norm for contemporary living and often require some demolition to reconfigure and expand space for modern families.

And that’s where things become potentially dangerous for you and your loved ones because many homes built before the late 1970s share another, and much more alarming, feature: Asbestos.

For years, asbestos was the ideal ingredient used in a wide range of construction products as its fibers were extremely resistant to heat, fire and many chemicals. Asbestos can be found in many nooks and crannies throughout older houses, including:

  • Insulation in walls and attics;
  • Vinyl tiles used for flooring;
  • Roof shingles;
  • Siding on houses;
  • “Popcorn” ceilings;
  • Insulation to protect hot water and steam pipes.

Left dormant, asbestos is fairly harmless. But if it’s somehow disrupted – say, during a renovation – its small fibers are released into the air and if breathed in, can become embedded in the lining of lungs, abdomen or heart and lead to the formation of tumors and increase your risk for diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Not only is asbestos a potentially deadly respiratory health risk, performing demolition on a home that is found to contain the hazardous material is illegal and can lead to major fines and penalties for the homeowner.

A Portland, Oregon couple was fined $21,600 in 2016 when they failed to acquire the permits required for asbestos removal at a residential property they owned. Additionally, once the toxic material was removed from the structure, the couple’s contractor failed to dispose of it properly and left it out in the open and exposing neighbors to its deadly fibers.

While it might be tempting to cut financial corners, you should address the possibility of asbestos if you are considering remodeling your older home and know what you’re dealing with. Hire a licensed inspector to test for asbestos if you are considering renovating a home built prior to the late 1970s. Stock Environmental can provide extensive asbestos inspection and testing, so call us today to ensure you don’t put the health of your family at risk. Schedule your appointment now at (732) 383-5190.

Sure, a new kitchen would be nice – and so would having some extra money to make it happen. But skimping on testing for toxic asbestos in your home to save a dime is not worth making your family sick or risking hefty fines and potential jail time.

No amount of stainless steel appliances or marble countertops could make up for that.


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