When a Homeowner Should Consider Asbestos Removal Rather Than Containment

When it is discovered that there is asbestos in a home, a homeowner can have it removed or have it contained. Containment will usually involve sealing off the materials that are made with asbestos so that the fibers do not become airborne and, in turn, inhaled. Asbestos itself is not dangerous as long as the fibers are not inhaled, so some homeowners may choose this option. However, there are times when removal is better than containment and safer for everyone in the home. Note the following factors to consider:

1. Tracking asbestos through the home

If your home has asbestos in the insulation in the attic, you may decide that you can wear protective clothing and boots when you need to go into the attic in order to keep yourself safe, but will you track asbestos fibers through the home this way? If the area of your home that has asbestos must be accessed regularly, consider more than just when you need to be in that particular area. You might bring asbestos fibers into other areas of your home from your shoes and clothes and in turn, increase the risk factor of these fibers being inhaled. In this case, it might be better to have the asbestos removed.

2. Renovating

You may not be thinking of renovating any area of your home that contains asbestos, but note that many aspects of renovating can cause those fibers to become airborne. You might sweep up dust and debris from the renovation that inadvertently contains asbestos and in turn, the asbestos fibers become airborne along with the dust. The same is true even if you vacuum after a renovation project. Drilling or scraping in an area with asbestos can also cause the fibers to become airborne, as might vibrations from heavy-duty tools in other areas of the home.

3. Age of the home

As your home gets older, your containment methods for asbestos may start to fail. If you paint over materials that contain asbestos, this paint may begin to break down and in turn, asbestos fibers may become airborne as the paint begins to peel away. A protective wrap you put around pipe may become loose the longer it's exposed to moisture and humidity. Since it's more typical to find asbestos in older homes that were built when it was legally allowed to use the material, this may contribute to containment methods failing as time goes by. Asbestos removal may be a better option.