Renovations, demolitions and additions… sometimes they’re necessary, or sometimes they’re purely for aesthetic purposes. And occasionally, they bring up some unwanted surprises.
Often, as it is with older homes, it isn’t until you’ve ripped up the floor boards or removed the drywall that you realize something like asbestos is lurking in your home.
It’s important to note that asbestos itself doesn’t necessarily pose as a health risk. In fact, people can live in their homes for many years without having issues with asbestos.
It’s when the fibres are disturbed and released into the air that the potential hazard presents itself to those working on and living in the home. When you breathe in these minute fibres, they continue to split and the hook onto the walls of your lungs.
Asbestos used to be widely used in construction materials such as floor and ceiling tiles, insulation board and asbestos cement. This is because it was deemed as a popular and beneficial material, known for its strengthening, insulating and fire-proofing elements.
If you’re taking on the renovation of an older home (specifically before the 1980’s) it’s smart to put aside at least 20-percent of your budget to go towards the cost of an asbestos test and the possibility of undergoing a removal. This should be done by a professional crew, since a dust mask and work gloves don’t make the grade for safe removal practices.
If it is determined that asbestos is found in your home, ask your renovator to include in the contract how the asbestos will be handled and the result it will have on your final costs.
The cost of removing asbestos affects other costs as well, including the cost of purchasing and insuring a home. Many mortgage companies will not finance until they receive a clearance letter stating that the asbestos is gone. This goes for many insurance companies as well.
The cost of removing asbestos depends on the location and amount of work that needs to be done. So be prepared, and ask questions. And as the old saying goes: “It’s better to be safe than sorry!”