What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral.  The asbestos is minded and crushed, other materials are then generally added.  It is then compressed into various forms of insulation.  Some of these resemble corrugated box-like material while others resemble compressed talcum powder.

If I have Asbestos in my home, what should I do about it?
Having asbestos present in your home does not necessarily mean that you are in danger. Asbestos must become airborne or inhaled to cause potential harm. Vinyl asbestos tile, for example, does not pose a health problem unless it is cracked, sawed, or broken, thereby releasing the fibers into the air you breathe. But Asbestos must be properly contained if it is not removed. If the pipe insulation in the basement is split, cracked, or damaged, if the ends are open or the seams are exposed, a potential for intermittent asbestos exposure exits. In either case, the asbestos should be removed or completely sealed by an EPA certified asbestos contractor.
Should the Asbestos be encapsulated or should it be removed?
Encapsulation is a process through which the asbestos containing material is coated with a special substance that absorbs the surface fibers and forms an air tight seal around the material. It is not recommended for encapsulation in homes for the following reasons:
Any modifications or servicing of the heating system may disturb the asbestos and release fibers into the air. It is recommended to completely remove friable asbestos containing materials from your home by a trained, EPA certified, and fully insured contractor. It is the only way that protects you against future potential exposure to asbestos.
Can I remove the Asbestos myself?
No. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends against it due to the difficulty in doing it safely and properly. Asbestos fibers are microscopic. Without the proper equipment and know-how you can’t be sure that you’ve done the job right.
Improper handling of asbestos during removal can result in the contamination of the entire home. Amateur attempts at removal and disposal of small amounts of asbestos containing material have resulted in major clean-up operations of whole properties costing many thousands of dollars.
If you suspect asbestos containing materials are present in your current home or one which you intend to purchase, contact a home inspector today!