How to Spot Asbestos

Written by china zmuida
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How to Spot Asbestos
Most homes built before the 1980s contain asbestos. (house image by Cora Reed from

Asbestos is a fibrous material that was predominantly used for insulation in homes, whether for piping insulation or electrical insulation. Construction materials containing asbestos were also used for home interior insulation, roofing shingles, cement siding and patching materials. Most asbestos-containing materials will be found within your home. According to, a mesothelioma cancer resource, asbestos was used to construct homes built between 1920 and 1986. In order to irrefutably identify asbestos within your home, a trained professional should reach this conclusion.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Determine when your home was built. Most homes built before the 1980s contain one or more materials made of asbestos.

    How to Spot Asbestos
    Tiles on your home can contain asbestos. (home part - roof image by Dubravko Grakalic from
  2. 2

    Check taping on pipes around your home. Asbestos appears as a fibrous, orange- to mud-coloured material. Pay close attention to pipe elbows and valves.

    How to Spot Asbestos
    Check your piping. (pipe fitting image by Joann Cooper from
  3. 3

    Look around your fireplace or furnace. As indicated by, asbestos can be contained in caulking, putty and adhesive materials used around heat sources such as fireplaces.

    How to Spot Asbestos
    Look for signs of asbestos around your fireplace. (Fireplace image by Mistik from
  4. 4

    Look closely at any floor tiles in your home. If they're made of vinyl, asbestos may be present in the felt underlay.

  5. 5

    Look in your attic along the walls, upper wooden beams and flooring. The insulation may contain a type of asbestos fibre known as vermiculite ore.

    How to Spot Asbestos
    Check your attic insulation. (Attic window image by Fenia from
  6. 6

    Look around your stove. Any adhesive and patching materials around your stove can contain asbestos.

    How to Spot Asbestos
    Check around your stove for signs of asbestos. (Gas stove with kettle on it image by George Dolgikh from
  7. 7

    Verify whether your home contains plaster or stucco. Plaster and stucco coatings on walls can occasionally contain asbestos fibres.

    How to Spot Asbestos
    Determine whether your home is coated with stucco. (stucco image by dbvirago from

Tips and warnings

  • Have a trained professional remove samples if you suspect asbestos is in your home.
  • Tell the professional to have the samples tested through an accredited laboratory of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Never try to remove the asbestos from your home yourself.

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