Asbestos in Your Windows

If you own an old house – with todays’ energy costs – it’s likely that one of the first renovation projects you’ve considered is replacing old windows. It makes good sense even if the initial outlay is relatively large, since window manufacturing technology has advanced by leaps and bounds and new windows can substantially reduce heat loss.

Before you start, and whether you decide to do it yourself or hire contractors, consider the asbestos risk. That’s right – in addition to the many other uses for asbestos you may already be aware of in your home, it can also be found around your windows.

Window Glazing
Asbestos was once a common component of window glazing and caulking, particularly on the exterior of a home. Window glazing, also called window putty or plumber’s putty, is the material that is used to fit and seal windows and glass panels. It goes on soft and hardens in place. While it’s hard and intact, it’s not considered to be dangerous, since the adverse health effects of asbestos come about as a result of inhaling the fibres. However, as the material ages, it can decompose and crumble, and certainly, when windows are being removed, that seal is damaged and the material becomes “friable” or inhalable.

Windowsills
You may also find asbestos in your windowsills or window paneling, and again, the danger will come when the material is damaged or disturbed and the material can be breathed into the lungs. You’re likely to find asbestos in the window area of your home if it was constructed before the 1980’s, and in particular if it was constructed or last renovated between the 1950’s and the 1970’s.

The risk is no joke; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the U.S. has cited contractors in the past for exposing workers to asbestos during window renovations. It’s certainly nothing to take your chances with.

Before any renovation projects, call in the experts from GreenStream Environmental Services for an asbestos inspection. At GreenStream Environmental Services, we offer certified and safe asbestos removal and disposal 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.

Asbestos Tile Removal Closes Toronto Fire Station

The recent closure of Fire Station 244 on Birchmount  Avenue north of Sheppard in Toronto caused understandable consternation among area residents. Even when Toronto Fire Services officials explained that the displaced personnel and equipment would be temporarily housed nearby and despite their assurances, the area’s residents worried about increased response times. Time will tell if the move has any such impact.

As the Fire Station’s neighbours found out, the closure comes in the wake of much needed renovations to the building, including the  removal of asbestos floor tiles. At one time – long before the health-related effects of asbestos were known or understood – the use of asbestos floor tiles seemed like a no-brainer. The material was known to be fire resistant and nearly indestructible and was considered a material of choice even, as it turns out with some irony, in a fire station. Flash forward to the present and that means a lot of hidden dangers that could exist in any residential, public or commercial building, particularly those constructed before 1970.

The closure of the Fire Station is anticipated to last about six weeks, and is just the latest example of what’s become an all too familiar story – a public institution closed for removal of asbestos-related construction materials. It’s unlikely to be the last.

You may be particularly concerned about floor tiles containing asbestos in your own home if there is any flooring that was installed before 1970. In the 1960’s, asbestos floor tiles were extremely common in both residential and institutional settings.  In an older home, many people first discover the existence of asbestos tiles when doing renovations.  When removing relatively new flooring, it’s not uncommon to find layers of old flooring underneath.

If you suspect any kind of asbestos use in your home, and before any renovation projects, please DO NOT DISTURB OR HANDLE the material in question. The danger from asbestos comes from inhaling the fibres, and anything you can do to contain or avoid it until you can call in the experts from GreenStream Environmental Services will help to minimize the impact.

It is not considered dangerous if the tile or other material is still intact; however any future nicks or breaks in the surface can mean a potential hazard.

At GreenStream Environmental Services, we offer professional vermiculite and asbestos remediation services.

In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – 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.

Attack of the VATs: Removing vinyl asbestos tiles

When we think of the dangers asbestos poses, we often associate the tiny, carcinogenic fibres with easily visible structures, like roofing, ceilings, wall insulation and so on. One major asbestos threat often gets forgotten simply because it’s under our feet and not the first place we look. I’m talking about vinyl asbestos titles, or VATs.

Vinyl asbestos tiles are particularly dangerous because they’re easily mishandled. If the threat they pose isn’t respected during asbestos removal, they can release deadly fibres into the air.

The key with handling VATs is understanding their friability, or how easily they’re crumbled or broken into powder. If a given tile is non-friable – solid and not easily broken or crumbled – it’s far less dangerous, as VATs cause the most trouble when crumbled into dust. Friable VATs, be they poorly constructed or just old, are quite dangerous. One reason to have a trained asbestos removal company dispose of VATs for you is that the experts have a better idea of which tiles are friable and which aren’t.

Removing VATs is thus highly focused on keeping the tiles as non-friable as possible. Asbestos removal workers must assume every tile is a threat and treat it delicately. That means drills, saws, hammers or any equipment used to pulverize are absolute no-nos. It’s almost like we have to treat VATs like priceless glass.

One we have control of vinyl asbestos tiles, we follow a special procedure to transport them out of a given building. That may include wrapping them in plastic to ensure no loose fibres escape and taking them to EPA-approved landfill facilities where they are buried in a safe place.

As you can probably guess by now, VATs are not child’s play. Homeowners should not handle them at all. In fact, some regions prohibit homeowners from handling vinyl asbestos tiles without professional help.

As long as you respect VATs as the dangerous things they are and understand their delicacy and the expertise required to remove them, you’ll be safe.

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, 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.