Does your prospective new home have asbestos in it?

Real Estate Agent with Champions Real Estate Services - Lynnwood, WA

One item that many home buyers overlook when purchasing an older home is the fact that it most likely has asbestos in it in one for or another. Up until the 1970's many products were manufactured with asbestos. A list of common items homeowners may run into includes:

  • STEAM PIPES, BOILERS, and FURNACE DUCTS insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. These materials may release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly.

  • RESILIENT FLOOR TILES (vinyl asbestos, asphalt, and rubber), the backing on VINYL SHEET FLOORING, and ADHESIVES used for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release fibers. So may scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal.

  • CEMENT SHEET, MILLBOARD, and PAPER used as insulation around furnaces and woodburning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers. So may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation.

  • DOOR GASKETS in furnaces, wood stoves, and coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use.

  • SOUNDPROOFING OR DECORATIVE MATERIAL sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose, crumbly, or water-damaged material may release fibers. So will sanding, drilling, or scraping the material.

  • PATCHING AND JOINT COMPOUNDS for walls and ceilings, and TEXTURED PAINTS. Sanding, scraping, or drilling these surfaces may release asbestos.

  • ASBESTOS CEMENT ROOFING, SHINGLES, and SIDING. These products are not likely to release asbestos fibers unless sawed, drilled, or cut.

I recently became aware of this (again) because of a talk I had with a remodeling contractor about the home he was working on. It was in the process of being sold and he was finishing the repairs list, but had asked the buyers agent about the ceiling tiles and whether they contained asbestos. He suggested that they be tested before the buyers closed the deal, but he suspects it was never done.

This means that for the lack of a $30 test, the buyers may now own a home with asbestos ceiling tiles throughout. This isn't an issue if they are painted and not shedding fibres, but a good home inspector may call them out and cause some serious issues when they get ready to sell this home. The truth is they should have had the tiles tested and if they did contain asbestos, have a remediation company remove them at the sellers expense, not theirs.

If you think that the home you are wanting might contain asbestos, talk to your home inspector and your agent about having a test done. They are inexpensive and can save you from having a home with a major health and financial issue!

Jacquie Cliff - Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer
Accredited Buyers Representative and Residential Real Estate Specialist Serving:
Lynnwood, Bothell, Mill Creek, Seattle, Bellevue, Marysville, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, Everett, Snohomish, Kirkland and the surrounding areas!

Call me with any of your real estate questions at 425-77-3149 or email me at anytime!

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