It’s spring and a time of year that many people start to think about looking for a new home, whether that’s “brand new” or “new to you”. Certainly, there are advantages – and disadvantages – to newer and older homes alike that go beyond the structures to the neighbourhoods and surroundings. Many people are attracted to mature, older neighbourhoods with tree-lined streets and established infrastructure.
However, as the Canadian Real Estate Association advises, there are steps you should take to protect your interests, not only the economic side of things but also in terms of your health. Older homes , particularly those built before 1970, can present a number of issues that need special consideration beyond the usual inspections.
Among these is asbestos. Nowadays, it’s the pariah of the construction industry but at one time, it was considered a miracle material – fire resistant and extraordinarily resistant to damage of almost any kind. In the early 20th century, it was widely used for a huge variety of products from oven mitts to home insulation – in fact, Germany’s infamous Kaiser Wilhelm built himself a cottage entirely made of asbestos in order to withstand fire bomb attacks in the First World War.
Asbestos may show up in a range of areas in a home, including:
- Insulation – vermiculite insulation in North America came largely from a Montana mine that was contaminated with asbestos
- Floor tiles
- Ceiling tiles – often referred to as “acoustic ceilings” for their soundproofing qualities
- Wall panels
- Roofing tiles
- Window and door sealant
- Outdoor paneling
What Should I Do?
It sounds alarming, but the first thing to remember is this: as long as the material is intact and/or bound up in concrete (as it would be in tiles or paneling), asbestos is not considered to be a threat. Once it has deteriorated, or is damaged, it can become friable, which means that the fibres may be inhaled. Inhaled into the lungs, it can cause lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Standard home inspections do not look for asbestos in all these areas, and it’s doubly important if you’re planning on renovations.
If your home was built before 1970, then you have to assume that it does contain asbestos. Before any renovation projects, call in the experts from GreenStream Environmental Services for an asbestos inspection. At GreenStream Environmental Services, we offer professional vermiculite and asbestos remediation services to help you deal with 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.