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Renovating your Home

Asbestos Survey

If you qualify as an owner-occupied, single-family residence and you are doing the repair or remodeling project yourself, it is recommended, though not required, that you hire an AHERA Building Inspector to conduct a survey of the area to identify potential asbestos-containing materials. If the renovation project is being performed by someone other than you - the owner-occupant, then it is required that an AHERA-certified Building Inspector conduct the asbestos survey, along with other project requirements.

Below is a partial list of the types of materials that may contain asbestos. This list does not include every product that may contain asbestos. If these materials will be damaged or disturbed during a home renovation project, it’s best to have samples of them tested for the presence of asbestos. See the list of asbestos service providers, including accredited laboratories in the area that do testing.

blown-in insulation

“popcorn” ceiling texture

joint compound

cement board siding

roofing materials

vinyl sheet flooring/mastic

furnace/pipe insulation

vinyl floor tile/mastic

many other products

If Asbestos is Found

If asbestos is found, don't panic. There are options.

1. Leave it alone. Asbestos is only a problem if fibers are released into the air. This can happen when asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed. The best option may be to leave it alone. For example, rather than removing sheet vinyl flooring with asbestos backing, it may be possible to lay the new sheet vinyl on top of the old. If asbestos-containing material is damaged or may be damaged or disturbed during the remodel or repair project, then it should be repaired and encapsulated, or removed properly.

2. Repair and encapsulate. Sometimes asbestos-containing materials can be repaired and encapsulated rather than removed. A few inches of torn, loose or frayed asbestos tape on heating ducts may be sealed with paint or duct tape. Damaged hot water pipe insulation may be covered with a special fabric available at safety equipment stores. There are penetrating encapsulants that seep into asbestos-containing materials and bond with asbestos fibers and there are bridging encapsulants such as paint, which coat asbestos-containing materials with a more durable surface. Encapsulation may seem like an attractive option, just be aware that it could make future removal more difficult. In cases of extensive asbestos disturbance, removal may be the more appropriate option.

3. Remove it. There are two options for removal, each with distinct requirements.

Demolishing your single family residence?

Call Spokane Clean Air at 509-477-4727, if you plan to do the demolition work yourself.

3104 E Augusta Ave, Spokane, WA 99207 · (509) 477-4727 · working with you for clean air

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