Home Inspection Standards & Asbestos

The province of Ontario is looking to follow the example of Alberta and British Columbia in creating a universal set of standards for home inspectors to follow. As pointed out in a recent column by Mike Holmes, the current non-system results in a situation where home buyers may not really know what it is they’re getting even after they’ve paid for a home inspection. Unfortunately, it can result in house buyers who get an unpleasant surprise when it comes to the presence of asbestos in their homes.

There is some leeway built into the process, to be sure. For instance, a home inspector can’t poke around behind furniture or open up walls, however, many issues don’t require invasive techniques to figure out. The existence of asbestos in particular can often be determined if you know what you’re looking for and that’s the key. If standards are established and followed properly, most of these instances won’t occur.

Asbestos Clues
When it comes to determining whether there is asbestos in your home or not, the first question should be – how old is the building? If it was built before the 1970’s, then you can probably be certain that it contains asbestos in one form or another. Some of the common places include:

  • As ceiling tiles – with the characteristic pattern of holes
  • Textured paints
  • In the form of a mixture used in wallboard and other uses – it was once commonly used for renovations and room additions

Even with improved across the board standards, there are still some areas which would require expert inspection, including:

  • Pipe chasing
  • Around windows
  • Inside walls

Even in cases where an inspector may not be able to know for certain that a home contains asbestos, a strong suspicion should warrant a warning or expert inspection.

Be Safe, Not Sorry
Fire resistant and nearly indestructible, asbestos was once considered a ‘miracle’ construction material. It was only after decades of exposure that the first signs of its health effects – including incurable mesothelioma – became evident.

Whether your home is a semi-detached or a condo in the sky, you need expert advice and an asbestos inspection before you buy. If you already own an older home, it’s equally important to be sure before you begin to renovate. It may appear inside the interior partition walls as a fire barrier or come in the form of wall sheeting -i.e. as part of a mixture. That type of asbestos containing material is considered safe as long as it’s in tact and you can’t inhale the fibres.

Asbestos may be managed or removed from inside the walls, but before you can manage it, you have to know exactly where it is.

Before you buy, call in the experts from GreenStream Environmental Services for an asbestos inspection. If you already own an older home, we offer professional vermiculite and asbestos remediation services to help you contain and then rid yourself of this problem.

In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.  You’ll be glad you did