Decorative Plaster with 2% Asbestos!

motoq2000December 11, 2009

Hello,

This is a great follow-on question to the post made by Mollydog4 last weekend.

We are remodeling a 96 year old house. The original walls are a horse-hair type plaster - we're assuming (as we've been told by many trades people) that this material is non-hazardous.

However several walls in the house were covered with a coating of decorative plaster sometime later in the house's history. I had all of the deco plaster tested, and all came up negative except for one, which came back as containing 2% (chrysotile) asbestos. Now I need to figure out what to do; this material covers the walls & ceilings in 2 large rooms - my wife wants the painter to just scrape it all off. She is unalarmed by the low % of asbestos in the plaster, particularly since we've already had to abate other materials in the house with much higher percentage asbestos (we had 100 linear ft. of pipe insulation removed from the basement, and are now having 265 sq ft of old kitchen linoleum removed that was tested as containing a whopping 40% asbestos in it). These two abatement jobs have cost nearly $6,000 alone.

So, you can imagine I'm now having a tough time convincing her of the need to professional abate the plaster containing "just" 2% asbestos, in comparison the other materials we paid to abate. There are no children in the household yet, but that is in the plan.

How serious should I be taking this plaster? If we don't have it scraped from the walls and ceiling (it's pretty thin), the other option is to just paint the walls (live with the deco texture) and then (try) to cover up the ceiling with blueboard.

I wish I could introduce my wife to Mollydog4 for his/her opinon on this! I'm ready to pay the money to abate, or at least just live with the material by covering it up with paint or board, but she's not...

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kudzu9

It's good you tested, and 2% is pretty low...but it's still asbestos. Some people will tell you anything under 1% is no problem, but that's not an answer based on health risk, it's simply the cutoff that the Environmental Protection Agency employs for purposes of regulation since you can't regulate everything. I can understand your wife's view, because it is less risky than the really bad stuff, but that doesn't mean it's safe to scrape it off. And it would be a shame to contaminate your place after all you've already done to abate asbestos. I wouldn't take the risk.

If you don't want to spend the money on more abatement, I recommend you leave it. It's not dangerous if it's undisturbed. If you really hate the appearance, I don't see why you couldn't just put a new texture on top of it, as long as that doesn't involve abrading the existing material to prep it.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 11:13PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

If you don't want to spend the money on more abatement, I recommend you leave it. It's not dangerous if it's undisturbed. If you really hate the appearance, I don't see why you couldn't just put a new texture on top of it, as long as that doesn't involve abrading the existing material to prep it.

I totaly agree, leave it alone and it is harmless. Paint, paper,texture,or put new drywall over it and all is well.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 5:52AM
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