Home Inspector Marc Paterson Toronto - Picture of an Asbestos wrapped pipe in a 1930's home.

Asbestos in the Home - Home Inspection

JUN 13, 2022

Why it's important to know if there's asbestos in your home

The thought of asbestos being present in a prospective home can cause a lot of concern.  Your home inspector can help you navigate this troubling issue. While the presence of asbestos is something that needs to be taken seriously it doesn't need to send you running out the door. As most people already know asbestos can cause lung cancer when inhaled and this is why it is important to manage it properly.

If you purchase a home it’s important to know what kinds of asbestos are in your home.  Any asbestos that becomes air born is dangerous and should be remediated by a professional as soon as possible. Products like asbestos insulation and asbestos wrapped ducts pose the greatest risks to your health because they have a higher likelihood of becoming disturbed and therefore airborne.

When asbestos is present in a solid state it is considered much safer and as long as the product containing asbestos is not disturbed you can live with it in your home.  However if you plan to do a renovation that would disturb  products with asbestos then you should have a professional remove it first. 

Should I have my home inspected for asbestos?

The short answer is yes, it's never a bad idea.  Your Home inspector should be able to work with you to identify possible sources of asbestos and recommend professionals that will provide testing. It is important to consider that if you purchased a home that’s older than 1950’s that hasn’t been renovated it almost certainly contains asbestos and if you are planning to renovate it you can skip the testing and instead have a professional remove anything that could contain asbestos. The number of products that can contain asbestos are so numerous ( click here for a detailed list of asbestos containing products) testing everything might not be practical. As home inspectors we recommend that you take a “better safe than sorry” approach and plan to have anything that could contain asbestos removed prior to any major renovation that could disturb the asbestos.  

If the home inspectors find vermiculite insulation in the attic it is a good idea to have it tested for asbestos and have it professionally removed if it is found to contain asbestos.  Lagging on ducts that may contain asbestos and or tape used to seal duct joints should also be tested. Your home inspector should be able to identify these issues if they are visible and point you in the direction of a qualified asbestos abatement professional. There are sometimes other options besides removal of asbestos like sealing or encasement that can help save on costs. Remember is it never a good idea to try to remove asbestos yourself.

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