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How Does Asbestos Disposal Work?

Last modified: 2019-03-13 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Amanda Harvey

For older homes, renovations can be stressful as homeowners don’t always know what lies behind walls, beneath floorboards or under heating ducts. Asbestos is a common concern in homes built before the 1980’s, and if homeowners aren’t fully aware of how or when their homes were constructed, this could be an underlying issue.

Asbestos cannot be detected by sight, and its existence in the home is usually hidden. As a homeowner, if you recognize signs or the potential for the presence of asbestos, it is important to take the necessary steps to remove it safely and correctly. Depending on the size of the job, the removal process may differ. Regardless of size, here’s what will go down when disposing of asbestos.

Here are the key things to know about asbestos removal 

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which was mined primarily in Canada. Asbestos was commonly used in the construction of homes leading into the 1970’s in several different forms. However, it was quickly learned that the mineral is dangerous and from thereon, homeowners became worried of its use. Asbestos is linked to lung diseases that are caused by breathing in its fibres, as it irritates the lungs and can lead to scarring.

In the most serious of cases, asbestos can lead to a fatal type of lung cancer. In homes that were built before 1975, it can be found in materials such as thermal insulation, attic insulation, vinyl floor tiles, linoleum floor tiles, window caulking and glazing, fibre cement siding as well as some forms of textured paint.

Unfortunately, there is no obvious way to see asbestos with the naked eye. However, if you are finding certain older materials around the home are deteriorating and you’re concerned about it, it is important to act and remove them. As asbestos is a dangerous substance, it is recommended that you take the proper safety precautions and hire an asbestos removal specialist to discard the mineral.

The Asbestos Removal Process

Men removing

source: Pixabay, skeeze

Guidelines that are in place for asbestos removal are there to protect contractors who may meet with the substance on a regular basis. However, homeowners should be cautious and informed regarding the removal process. Finding asbestos in one’s home is common during home renovation projects, where testing for the substance is required to be approved for a work permit.

It is safe to have asbestos in the home when it is undisturbed or contained, however, even touching the mineral can lead to the suspension of fibres into the air. If you are working on a home renovation project and feel as though you have come across asbestos, stop all work immediately.

A qualified asbestos specialist must survey the area and take samples that need to be analyzed at an accredited lab. If specialists do discover that there is asbestos hidden in the materials of your home, it will need to be removed.

The price and details of asbestos removal will greatly depend on the scope of work, the risk level, access to the material, the amount of waste generated as well as the timeline. The most cost-effective way to remove asbestos is to have the suspect material surveyed as soon as possible.

This way, the scope of work involved and related costs will all be evident to you. It is not possible for the homeowner to complete the sampling process on their own, and serious precautions are taken by professionals during sampling.

If it has been determined that you have asbestos in your home, professionals must come in to remove the substance. Asbestos waste is bagged or encapsulated and can be disposed of in specifically classed landfills. The bagged or encapsulated waste must be buried and covered immediately upon arrival to the landfill, and it is generally recommended that advanced arrangements are made with the landfill in order to ensure that this occurs.

Again, if you are taking on a home renovation project and suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, make sure you contact a professional as soon as possible to avoid the substantial risks involved with this substance. 

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