Buying a new apartment

Everything You Need to Know about Asbestos Use in Building Construction

by Same Patterson

Asbestos is a fibrous, naturally-occurring material that has found a range of applications in the construction industry. Asbestos occurs in the form of minerals such as amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite and chrysotile. Most old buildings built a few decades ago are likely to have asbestos because it is a good insulator. It adds fire protection properties to concrete and other materials used in construction. Furthermore, the fibrous nature of the asbestos minerals gives it tensile strength used to improve the structural integrity of the building. You should note that the use of asbestos has significantly been reduced because of the health hazards it poses to construction workers and building occupants alike. The following discussion will help you gain insight the use of asbestos when working on old buildings:

How Does Asbestos Occur in Buildings?

In old buildings, asbestos occurs as friable or non-friable material. Friable asbestos is found in material that can crush or crumble easily into tiny particles or powder. These particles then float in the air where there is a high likelihood of you inhaling them. Examples of materials likely to contain friable asbestos include acoustical plaster, paper products and insulation. On the other hand, non-friable asbestos is bound tightly to other materials, reducing the risk of crumbling and becoming airborne. However, there is a risk of exposure if the material is sanded or sawed.

How Can You Tell if a Building Has Asbestos?

If you want to buy or demolish an old building, it is important to know if some of the materials contain asbestos. It is hard to tell the amount of asbestos contained in the building's construction materials unless you can call in a professional to carry out thorough tests. Thankfully, some building patterns indicate a high likelihood of asbestos presence within an old building. The first one is a nine-inch by nine-inch outline of old floor tiles. Asbestos was often used on floor tiles laid out in this pattern. Secondly, you should also look out for uninsulated pipes with grey or white remnants, especially around the fittings. Any of these signs are enough to warrant calling in a professional for asbestos testing.

Professional Removal Certification

Competent personnel with a thorough understanding of the dangers posed by asbestos are ideal when you need to get rid of it. When hiring, one way of ensuring that you are dealing with a professional is by asking for their license or registration number before entering a contract with them.      

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