Asbestos Abatement

Contrary to popular belief, asbestos abatement is different from asbestos removal. The former refers to reducing and controlling the hazard in a building, whereas the latter entails the complete disposal of asbestos products from a structure, which will subsequently be discarded in accordance with law. Asbestos abatement is also known as asbestos remediation. While abatement implies a considerably lower risk of exposure and is generally preferred over removal, since the problematic materials will not be disturbed to a great extent, it is unfortunately not feasible in all cases. Although the majority of asbestos products can be successfully dealt with using abatement, those which are in very poor condition require thorough removal, as the chances of inhabitants breathing in toxic fibers are great.

However, it is important to note that, if you have asbestos-containing materials in your home, neither abatement, nor removal might be necessary, as undisturbed and undamaged products are usually safe for the inhabitants. In such circumstances, to further ensure the good condition of the materials in question, it is highly recommended to avoid disturbing them by:

Being aware of the location where asbestos materials might lurk in your house is crucial, as this will help you avoid the places in question. In general, houses built before the mid-1980s are very likely to contain the carcinogenic mineral in at least one of their products, such as insulation or floor tiles. You can find a complete list of household asbestos materials and their exact location on our home page. Whether your home needs asbestos abatement depends on several factors, primarily on the degree to which the hazardous material is damaged. Since asbestos products in good condition do not release a large number of toxic fibers in the air, protective measures are only required when the menace of exposure is suspected.

To find out for sure if you need asbestos abatement, you first have to hire a licensed inspector who will come to your house to evaluate the problematic materials. They will be able to tell you whether you should have a cause for concern with regard to asbestos exposure. Alternatively, you can send in a sample of the product to a certified laboratory, which will conduct a thorough analysis to let you know how much asbestos it contains. A list of asbestos testing companies can be found here. Depending on the results, you may decide to proceed with asbestos abatement, which must also be performed by a professional company to avoid serious domestic exposure and environmental contamination.

In addition to how worn out the product is, the risk of exposure also depends on factors such as:

What Asbestos Abatement Method Is the Best to Ensure the Safety of My Home?

There are multiple asbestos abatement methods, as you will read below. Only a careful inspection can determine which one is the most suitable for your problem. We strongly advise you to contact a specialized company before deciding on a control method, as the outcome may be disappointing and ineffective if you choose to perform asbestos abatement by yourself. Even worse, you may end up worsening the extent of contamination. The good news is that, unlike asbestos removal, abatement is significantly cheaper, as it requires less effort, time, and protective equipment to carry out. In the following, we will discuss the asbestos abatement methods provided by licensed companies at the moment.

Encapsulation

This abatement method consists in applying encapsulant material (also known as a sealer), usually in the form of a thick spray containing approximately 50% water, directly over the surface of the product. A low-pressure sprayer is generally used to apply the product over the asbestos material. The encapsulant eventually hardens and prevents asbestos fibers from coming off the material. Only asbestos products which have not yet begun to deteriorate are good candidates for encapsulation. The possibility of water penetrating the material from underneath also disqualifies a product from undergoing this abatement method. Some of the most commonly encapsulated asbestos materials are:

It is important to highlight that asbestos encapsulation is not the equivalent of simply painting over the hazardous material, as regular paint cannot prevent it from crumbling and becoming a health threat. Moreover, the paint may loosen asbestos fibers over time. The purpose of treating asbestos products with sealants is to maintain the properties of the original material while keeping it in a safe condition. Encapsulation should also ensure that the quality of the attributes of the product in question, such as thermal insulation and fire resistance, remains the same. Accordingly, when a fire-resistant asbestos product is to be encapsulated, the procedure must be carried out by using a fire-resistant sealant.

The advantages of asbestos encapsulation include:

There are currently four types of encapsulation methods asbestos abatement companies use, as follows:

Encasement

Asbestos encasement implies covering the hazardous material with a hard setting sealing material and is another effective control method when it comes to potentially dangerous household products. By far the most widely used encasement method is a green coating covering, which minimizes asbestos exposure to a great extent and prolongs the lifespan of the asbestos material. It is also a cost-effective solution which may result in savings of 25% to 75% in comparison with asbestos removal. Other benefits of asbestos encasement include:

This method is available for a wide range of asbestos products, from plaster and block insulation to paint.

Enclosure

Referring to surrounding asbestos products with air-tight barriers which can be made of metal, wood, or sheetrock, enclosure is not the perfect management solution, as it only prevents direct exposure to toxic fibers. A certain amount of asbestos fibers may still escape, putting the health of inhabitants in danger. Thus, enclosure is a temporary solution and it is not cost-effective, since it requires keeping a close eye on the area in question. Additionally, if the enclosure is somehow damaged or opened for maintenance, the asbestos fibers which had been accumulating on the interior walls of the barrier will inevitably be released in the air, resulting in exposure.

What Factors Should I Take Into Consideration Before Deciding to Have Asbestos Abatement Work Performed on My House?

Only a professional will be able to tell you whether your home needs asbestos abatement, depending on the numerous factors which they assess during the inspection. That being said, if you know asbestos is present in the building you inhabit and intend to take precautions, we advise you to consider the following factors:

If you need assistance with any issue concerning household asbestos exposure, please contact us at 760.208.4196 or by filling out the form on our contact page. We will do our best to answer any questions you may have and guide you towards the most suitable resources.