Where Can Asbestos Be Found, and How Can You Identify It?

Until the year 2000, asbestos was used in both residential and commercial construction. If you live in a home that was constructed in 2000 or later, you are not likely to have any asbestos in your home, as its use was banned. However, if you live or work in a home that predates 2000, you may in fact find that asbestos was used to build the structure. As a note: if you think that you find asbestos, do not try to remove it yourself. Do not touch it—call a professional like Brickley Environmental to eradicate.

Asbestos was most commonly used in the following construction applications:

  • As insulation—asbestos is a remarkably good insulator and because it is flame retardant, it was widely utilized. It may be place in ceilings, walls, and around windows, pipes, and doors.
  • Flame protectant—sometimes used a spray around structural supports of commercial and residential buildings.
  • Decoration—some walls or ceilings were sprayed with a decorative coating, which may contain asbestos.
  • In floor tiles—some floor tiles were manufactured to contain asbestos.
  • Roof sheeting—again, because it is so flame retardant, it was often used in the walls and roofs of factories and other industrial buildings.

If you live or work in a building that predates 2000, it is possible that there is asbestos in any or all of these locations. If it is contained, like inside walls, used as insulation, it is unlikely that it has done any harm, but if any construction or renovations are done to the building and the asbestos is disturbed, this is when it becomes a serious problem. It is better to be sure that something is not asbestos before you knock down a wall or remove insulation, than find out later that it was.

What Does It Look Like?

Asbestos was manufactured to have many different colors and textures. The most common kinds are blue, brown, and white. The most difficult part about identifying asbestos is that it was often mixed into other building materials, and therefore may be completely invisible.

The easiest form of asbestos to identify is insulation. It will look like spun sugar, and have a white or bluish color. It is the easiest to identify and it is also the most dangerous, as it is likely to shed fibers that can then be breathed in. Any kind of asbestos is dangerous, whether it has been mixed into another material or lacquered into a piece of tile or simply stuffed into the wall.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.

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