Asbestos in RenovationsWhere to Find Asbestos

Just about every renovation or remodeling project starts with what’s known as “selective demolition.” Old plaster or sheetrock walls and ceilings need to be removed to make way for new wiring and plumbing, or entire walls need to come down as rooms are reconfigured or expanded. Floors are pulled up for plumbing access or just because the old floors, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, have layer upon layer of flooring that was installed over the years. Many people know that in houses built before 1978, Lead Safe Work Practices must be used for the selective demolition. This is required by EPA, OSHA and state regulations, and is a win -win for both the tradespeople and the residents of the home – especially young children who are susceptible to damage from lead dust exposure. But many people don’t know where to find asbestos – a lesser known and more hidden hazard.

Where Asbestos Can Be Found

Asbestos was used in many building products and is surprisingly still used in some! Pipe and furnace insulation come to mind for most people when they think of asbestos, but you can also find asbestos in many other applications as well. Vinyl floor tiles (specifically 9″ x 9″) from the 1950’s and 1960’s typically have asbestos in both the tile and the glue (“mastic”) holding them in place. You can find the same old linoleum flooring. Popcorn ceilings often have asbestos, as does sheetrock joint compound. The potential to disturb large amounts of asbestos during a remodeling project is huge, again putting tradespeople, residents and even neighbors at risk.

So what to do?

Where to Find Asbestos

In Massachusetts, the Department of Environmental Protection requires that all renovation projects must have suspect materials tested before the project begins – regardless of the age of the house since building materials containing asbestos are still legally being sold. Many cities and towns are now requiring asbestos surveys to be completed in order to get a building permit. If they find asbestos, any contaminated materials must then be removed by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor and the area cleared by a licensed asbestos inspector. Once the asbestos is removed and the area is cleared, the remodeling contractor can get the rest of the project underway knowing their team and the residents are safe, their liability is protected. And their project budget and schedule won’t be blown up by any avoidable surprises.

Scheduling Asbestos Abatement

Alpine works with a variety of clients for both small and large projects to get through this process with minimum impact to cost and schedule.  Whether it’s just a bathroom remodel, a classroom renovation, or a selective demo, having Alpine on your team from the beginning will ensure the start of your project goes smoothly.

Contact us today for a free asbestos abatement estimate!