Asbestos found in plaster walls

j4inoMay 18, 2013

I am under contract to purchase a home built in 1940 and we had an environmental guy come in and do some testing of lead and asbestos. He found asbestos in the plaster walls. I understand that this usually isn't a problem if the asbestos is left untouched. But what if we ever wanted to do a renovation in the home? What about adding recessed lighting? or simply hanging a picture by hitting a nail into the wall? What kind of risks, remediation, and cost would be required?

He said he would like to follow up with an air quality test to make sure the asbestos isn't getting into the home environment. Do you think this is required?

The man who is doing these tests is a distant family relative who is doing everything for me at just the cost of the lab work. So I trust his work and test results are legit.

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Soooo, ask him

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 4:47AM
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sounds like you are getting a heck of a deal
just paying lab costs. do the air sampling, ask
him the questions you asked us.

and recessed lights are holes into hot dusty
attic. if you must use these make sure you
buy ICAT insulation contact air tight...
or you'll share air, insulation particles & voc's
from attic into the space where you live.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 12:31PM
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I would not buy the home. Sure, you can paint over it (painters have to be certified for this now) but what happens when you go to sell this place?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 7:29AM
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totsuka, no where do I see the op saying they had any intention of "you can paint over it ", did you read the post before you commented as that generally a prerequisite for offering advice!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:36AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Sure, you can paint over it (painters have to be certified for this now)

Not true anyway

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:39AM
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The questions are:

1 - What is the concentration of asbestos?
2 - What KIND of asbestos? (yes, there are different varieties)

The people at a high risk of asbestos-related lung cancer have the following characteristics ...
They are/were HEAVY smokers who worked in asbestos mining, worked in factories where asbestos products were made, or applied asbestos to ships and buildings before protective gear was mandatory.
they are working in the asbestos remediation industry and go from job to job ripping out that nasty crumbling asbestos pipe insulation.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 5:03AM
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Help! My asbestos plaster ceiling in my main living room collapsed last night. I sealed off the disaster area with plastic and duct tape, so that area of the house no longer poses a health hazard to my family. I need advise on how to minimize asbestos dust reaching rooms that are part of our new alternate living area through the air ducts as our central air unit continues to run regularly for this summer season. Would this be as simple as sealing off the intake ducts in the disaster area?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 5:30AM
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Oh wow! That must have been a shocker. My 1890s plaster bedroom ceiling did that to me when I was a child, Mom had the bridge club that day, so my sister and I were upstairs sitting at our table, coloring.

Mom heard a huge rumble and a bunch of thuds and NO NOISE from us as a cloud of plaster dust rolled down the stairs and out of the vents.. That really panicked her, so she and the bridge club thundered up the stairs and found us, frozen in terror, totally white with plaster dust, in a sea of plaster chunks.

The dust is more of a mechanical irritant than a long-term hazard - this is a 1-time exposure.

You fall in the area of "homeowner remediation" (the EPS finally came to their senses and realized that treating every speck of asbestos as if it were a WMD was silly.

Go to Home DEPOT and get some GOOD dust masks, rated for concrete and rock dust. (the cheap ones for lawn mowing don't block it enough). And some smallish but HEAVY DUTY trash bags.

Wear gloves and a long-sleeved snug shirt (or one of those paper painter's coveralls) ... stash clean clothes in the garage. Have shampoo and shower gel outside.

You are the "dirty" person. You stay in the dirty zone. Outside the debris field you need a "clean" person who can take clean objects to a clean area. If you start moving back and forth from dusty to clean, you'll drag all the dust with you.

1 - Seal off the air vents in the living room. Just close them and tape a sheet of plastic over them.

2 - Remove any really large pieces intact if you can. Bag them and hand them to the clean person.

3 - Working top to bottom in the debris field, pick up smaller pieces that are big enough to pick up and put them in trash bags. When one is getting bulgy, twist it shut, tie it, gooseneck the surplus and twist-tie it again. Give it to the clean person and start a new bag.

4 - When you are done with the larger stuff, start removing decor, again top to bottom, and wiping it down to get the dust off. Hand the clean things to the clean person.

You can use a vacuum cleaner for this, but start with a clean bag and change them often. The dust clogs the bags quickly and damages the motor. If you have a shop vac, put in a "drywall filter".

5 - when you are down to bare walls and large furniture, vacuum the walls, the shelves, the furniture and the floor.

Leave the plastic sheets until you have the repair done - drywall is a dirty, dusty job.

Personal cleanup:
Vacuum the worst of the dust off yourself periodically as you work, so you don't become a dust source.

6 - Go outside where the hose and soap is, strip to your undies and hose off, wash off, and wash your hair.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 7:47AM
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I wouldn't agree that one exposure to asbestos is not a big deal. When my dad was diagnosed with asbestosis he protested that he'd never used the stuff. It was months before a cousin remembered that he'd worked with my dad to remove some insulation, once, ten years before. It must have been asbestos. The risk might be low, but if you're the 1 in a 100 that gets cancer you don't care that it's low risk. One exposure is enough.
Unfortunately I now live in a old house that has an asbestos/cement garage roof. Suppose I need to check the walls too.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 4:11PM
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