Thinking of remodeling your old home? Before doing so, there are a lot of important factors to consider. Apart from your allotted budget, as well as the model and design that you prefer, you also need to take into consideration a very important nature of older homes, which is the presence of asbestos in its construction and/or building materials.
Particularly for old homes, and specifically for those built before 1974, asbestos has been used by manufacturers as one of the components of construction and building materials. You can find it in such products as ceiling tiles, roofing tiles, roofing shingles, and insulation for pipes. This also holds true for buildings built prior to that particular year. But because the ban on asbestos allowed installers to use any remaining stock prior to that ban, structures and homes built as late as 1986 can have materials containing asbestos as one of its components.
But why was asbestos used in the first place? Before its health hazard to humans was discovered and properly documented, asbestos was highly favored among manufacturers because apart from being affordable, it has the qualities useful for building and construction materials such as resistance to fire, heat, and electrical and chemical damage. It has also a high level of absorption rate, and a good tensile strength. It was thus practical to use it for building insulation and electrical insulation such as hotplate wiring. Considering its resistance to fire, builders also used it in spaces that is not normally accessible to firefighters, such as above false ceilings and inside technical ducts. For exactly the same reason, it is also used in flame retardant sprays and thermal insulation ducts. Asbestos fibers are also mixed with cement and woven into fabrics and mats to make these materials resistant to fire and heat. asbestos was thus used for these and many other practical purposes prior to the discovery of the health risks that it poses to human beings.
In home setting, asbestos generally becomes dangerous only when the product it is used with becomes damaged. When this happens, tiny particles of the material becomes airborne, and this is where the health risk for humans begin. Prolonged exposure to airborne asbestos fibers is tied to serious health maladies such as lung cancer, asbestosis (one type of pneumoconiosis), and mesothelioma (a type of cancer). The toxicity of asbestos and the medical conditions it causes as outlined above is the main reason it was banned for use in building and construction in the first place.
These facts about asbestos as discussed above should therefore be taken into consideration by homeowners who want their old homes to be remodeled. The health ramifications that exposure to asbestos can cause will be avoided if proper procedures regarding asbestos removal will be implemented before the actual remodeling work is started.