So many Americans live in homes built during the mid-20th century. They live in homes that are decaying and in need of refurbishment.

A lot of homeowners attempt on their own to remodel their homes. The presence of asbestos in many — if not all — of these homes presents a danger to anyone who tries to upgrade their house.

Asbestos was used to construct and insulate buildings into the 1980s. Around that time, medical experts began revealing to the general public that asbestos could cause cancer. Most notably, asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma.

Houses and buildings built before the 1970s are, as a rule, suspected to include asbestos somewhere within the structure. If you live in such a house, you’re probably curious where asbestos could be. More importantly, you’ll wonder if asbestos is currently exposed — or if it would be exposed during a renovation project.

Below are three tips for living in an older home and remodeling it.

 

Get the Help of Specialists

The only way to be certain any material in your home contains asbestos is to have it analyzed by specialists. Until then, you should treat all suspicious materials as if they contain asbestos. Since the carcinogenic fibers are microscopic, it is important not to disturb the material. When disturbed, the weightless fibers float in the air and can be swallowed or inhaled by unsuspecting habitants.

The risks of replacing asbestos containing materials are too great, so hiring a professional is the best plan of action. The professionals you hire should have special training and certification to ensure proper removal and disposal.

 

Know All the Locations Asbestos Could Be

Asbestos was used in floor tiles, roof shingles, drywall, sheetrock, insulation materials, wallboards and support beams. Why? Because it was fire-resistant, durable and cheap to manufacture. It could protect buildings from fire and keep them insulated at a low cost.

There could be other locations where asbestos was used in your home. Stay vigilant and take precautions before opening up walls, removing floor tiles or replacing roof shingles.

 

Know How to Identify Asbestos

Asbestos is usually white or gray (sometimes blue) and comes in several different forms. It can be in the form of cement sheets, paper lining and plasters. Knowing where asbestos was commonly used and its appearance is important to avoid any potential health hazards caused by disturbing the asbestos.

However, we advise you not to go looking for asbestos. It can be disturbed with the slightest touch, and even one sharp fiber entering your body can lead to mesothelioma.

Knowing what asbestos looks like can help if you happen to notice it during renovation projects. Once it is identified, you can hire the appropriate specialists to remove the asbestos and safeguard your home.

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About the Writer, Andrew Devine

Andrew Devine is a contributing writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He has developed an interest in educating patients and their families on everything from new treatments to what to expect after diagnosis.