Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Asbestos in your Home

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Having been regarded as one of the more harmful building substances, asbestos was heavily used in many construction and electronic applications throughout the 20th century. Due to its flame resistant and highly durable qualities, it rapidly became prominent as an insulation, piping, roofing and flooring.

Many homes and buildings built prior to 1980 may still harbor asbestos, but even homes built in the 1990’s may contain asbestos in vermiculite insulation. Although Vermiculite alone does not contain asbestos, it came from one single mine that contained a large amount of asbestos.

Because vermiculite is inexpensive and readily available mineral, it is an essential piece in many of products that we use every day to insulate our homes and fertilize our gardens. When it is tainted by impurities such as asbestos, it can be extremely harmful to the health of your family.

Homeowners and inspectors should be aware that even vermiculate insulation from the 1990’s can contain asbestos and the proper precautions should be taken to avoid unnecessary problems and potential exposure to this material.

Home Inspections & Asbestos

Although purchasing or renovating a home can be a complicated path, receiving a professional home inspection is something that cannot be understated. Many building substances can become a problem for homeowners due to the negative health effects that can occur if not identified.

Asbestos that is disturbed or damaged due to age is known as “friable” asbestos. This is a serious concern because its toxic fibers can easily circulate and become inhaled. The best advice is to leave any suspected asbestos un-disturbed until evaluated by a professional. Normally, asbestos can appear in:

– roof shingles
– pipe coverings
– dry wall board & popcorn ceilings
– attic insulation
– joint compounds & electrical wires
– gaskets
– furnace cement & fire brick

To protect your investment, professional consultants can provide an evaluation of the home. Consultants will identify material defects in structures and components of the home, in adherence to or exceeding national, state, and industry regulations and standards.

Exposure to asbestos can lead to the development of a serious illness known as mesothelioma, a rare but sever form of asbestos lung cancer. A mesothelioma survival rate is not as positive as one would hope due to a long latency period that can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years to develop. With the right amount of awareness and a home inspection, it is completely avoidable and preventable to keep yourself away from asbestos!

Healthy Tips & Green Alternatives

The Texas Department of Health Services helps promote and protect the physical and environmental health of all citizens in Texas from asbestos. They provide public education to gain understanding and compliance of state and federal laws. They assist citizens with information in the inspection, removal and safe disposal of asbestos. It is recommended that homeowners not disturb any suspected asbestos materials as this will release its fibers into the air.

Due to expanding technology and long term cost efficiency evolving at a large rate, the need for environmentally sustainable and healthy building materials is growing as well. Green alternatives to asbestos include the use of lcynene foam, cotton fiber and cellulose.

Cotton fiber is made from recycled batted material and treated to be fireproof. A water based spray polyurethane foam, lcynene features no toxic components. The implementation of these Eco-friendly products can reduce annual energy costs in the household by 25 %. Many cities in the United States have begun adapting to the green paradigm in hopes of instilling environmentally sustainable building products that achieve a healthy home.
This has been a guest post to educate you on the topic of asbestos.

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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