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.

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National broadcaster the CBC has begun a series of segments this week devoted to the issue of asbestos, a lingering concern in Canada decades after the problematic mineral was banned or restricted from use virtually worldwide.

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Asbestos was so widely incorporated in both residential and industrial construction at one time (largely from the 1930’s to 1970) that it was used in areas you may not be expecting. Here’s a look at some of the lesser known places you might find it in an older home.

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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. 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.

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On top of proving hard to clean and nearly impossible to fix up or repair in the event of any damage, (in contrast with the original claims!) and giving a room a very dated look, popcorn ceilings also often contain a hidden hazard. Do you know what was commonly used to create that stippled texture until its use was banned? Asbestos!

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One of the biggest reasons why residents or business owners end up paying out the nose: poor home inspections and poor pre-purchase inspections in particular. Too many prospective buyers assume that all inspectors are created equal. That simply isn’t true. A good or bad home inspection company can be the difference between paying thousands of dollars on a major renovation a few years down the road or spending that money on a vacation instead.

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