If you suspect that some of the building and insulation materials in your home may contain asbestos, you may be concerned about your family's health and wonder what you should do regarding your asbestos problem. The good news is that asbestos is not always a problem. If the material containing asbestos is in good condition, the asbestos is pressed or hard-bound, and you do not plan to disturb the area by remodeling or renovating, then you may be able to simply monitor the material for signs of wear and avoid unnecessary contact with it. However, if the material is showing signs of wear or you need to disturb the area, then you may have to hire a professional to deal with your asbestos problem.
Before you hire a professional, it is helpful to understand your options for dealing with asbestos. Many people assume their only option to make their home safe for habitation is to have the asbestos completely removed. But in some cases you may be able to either encapsulate or enclose the asbestos instead.
Encapsulation involves spraying the asbestos with a material, similar to a paint or lacquer, that will harden and keep the asbestos fibers from separating. It is common to encapsulate insulation around pipes and heating systems that are currently in good shape and that you do not plan on replacing in the near future.
If the material containing asbestos has already been damaged, encapsulation can actually make the deterioration worse. The weight of the encapsulation layer can tear away the top layer of material, exposing more asbestos fibers. It can also make it more difficult to remove the asbestos later since the encapsulating layer will have to be cut through in order to remove the asbestos.
Enclosing is similar to encapsulating in that it creates an airtight seal around a material that contains asbestos in order to protect your home. However, enclosing involves placing a solid barrier around the asbestos as opposed to painting or spraying the asbestos. This usually involves an asbestos jacket wrapped around insulation material but can also involve boxing in the area where the asbestos is located with non-asbestos board.
Enclosing is a good idea if the asbestos shows little damage but you may plan to renovate the area in the near future. It is generally considered a temporary solution and you should make certain that the enclosure is not damaged through daily use.
Eradicating the asbestos involves the partial or complete removal of material containing asbestos in your home. It usually involves sealing the entire room where asbestos is located, removing the material, and then thoroughly cleaning the area before replacing the material with a non-asbestos material.
If the asbestos has been damaged or is showing signs of wear, eradicating the asbestos may be your only option. You can discuss with a professional whether you want to remove all of the asbestos or only remove the damaged section and then encapsulate or enclose the undamaged asbestos. However, since removal involves extensive safety measures, it might be a good idea to remove it all at once instead of removing only the damaged section.
An asbestos inspector can give you a better idea of which materials in your home actually contain asbestos and which option is best for protecting you and your family. Whichever method you choose, it is important to hire a professional, trained asbestos removal contractor from a company like American Abatement to deal with your problem. Asbestos is linked to severe respiratory problems and it is important that proper safety measures are taken any time a material containing asbestos is encapsulated, enclosed, or eradicated.