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Archive for April 2018

Harmful Textured Ceiling Tiles and Drywall

Covering Your Textured Ceiling Tiles with Drywall is Not Safe

If your home features those so-called “cottage cheese” or “popcorn” ceiling tiles that were popular in homes built in the 50s up until the 80s, you might be looking for easy solutions to update the space. If you’re selling your home, you may be asked to have your textured ceiling tiles tested for asbestos prior to closing.

Although covering up these unsightly ceiling tiles with drywall might sound like the easiest and most convenient solution, unfortunately, this is not safe. Here’s what you need to know about the potential health risks of textured ceilings and how to safely get rid of them.

What Makes Textured Ceiling Tiles Harmful?

As with many other types of building materials that were commonly used in homes and other structures built prior to 1980, textured ceiling tiles are known to contain asbestos. The good news is that if left undisturbed, this asbestos is not considered a health risk. However, as soon as you go to remove these ceiling tiles, the tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air and can be a very serious threat to your health when breathed into your lungs.

The most serious health effect of asbestos exposure is the development of a type of lung cancer called mesothelioma.

Why Covering with Drywall Isn’t a Safe Solution

Whether you’re trying to sell your home or are simply looking to do a little updating, covering popcorn ceiling tiles with drywall is not a safe option. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the process of putting up drywall requires surface abrasion and nailing, which can disturb the underlying textured ceiling tiles and release dangerous asbestos particles into the air.

The second reason why this is not a good solution is that new homeowners who don’t realize that there may be asbestos-containing materials under the drywall ceiling could be at risk for asbestos exposure should they go to remodel the home.

How to Have Your Home Tested for Asbestos

So what should you do if you have “cottage cheese” ceiling tiles that you want or need to get rid of? The first and most important step is to have the materials tested for asbestos. Although there are DIY asbestos testing kits out there, the most accurate and effective way to have your home tested is to contact a professional asbestos testing company.

A certified, trained professional will first inspect your home for possible asbestos-containing materials. Then samples of the materials, including textured ceiling tile, will be sent to the environmental laboratory to be tested for asbestos. If the results show that the tiles do contain asbestos, the next step is to have them removed by a trained professional to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including the new homeowners if you are selling.

How Do I Get Started with Asbestos Inspection?

When hiring an asbestos inspector, it is important that you choose a qualified professional to avoid inspector fraud and get the most accurate results. If you still have questions about how to begin to the asbestos inspection process, contact IRIS Environmental Laboratories online, or give us a call at 1800-908-6679.

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7 Hidden Asbestos (ACMs) in Old Homes

Whether you’re looking to buy or renovate an older home, you could be up against a few hidden asbestos problems that aren’t usually a concern in newer homes. That’s because asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were popularly used in homes built before 1980. Although asbestos is an effective and flame-resistant insulator, it is, unfortunately, a serious health hazard.

Before you commit to buying that charming older home you love or beginning a reno project, you’ll want to have your home tested for asbestos in materials like these.

1. Insulation (ACMs)

Before we knew just how hazardous asbestos exposure could be, this material was the primary type of insulation used in homes, schools, and other buildings built before 1980. As long as they are left undisturbed, though, existing ACMs are not believed to pose a health risk. However, if you plan to renovate an older home, you’ll want to hire professional asbestos testing and asbestos abatement companies to detect and remove the problem first.

2. Textured Ceiling Tiles (ACMs)

Also called “popcorn” or “cottage cheese” ceilings, textured ceilings often contain asbestos. This unique look used to be in style, but because many homeowners now want an updated look, ACMs lurking in textured ceiling tiles could pose a health risk if not tested and properly remediated first.

3. Vinyl Floors (ACMs)

Some vinyl flooring backing and adhesives might also contain asbestos. Before redoing the floors in an older home, it’s a good idea to have a certified asbestos inspector come in and make sure it’s safe to tear up the old floors and give them a fresh new look.

4. Hot Water and Steam Pipes (ACMs)

Since asbestos was so widely used as an insulator, some older hot water, and steam pipes could also contain traces of this dangerous material.

5. Oil and Coal Furnaces (ACMs)

Similarly, oil and coal furnaces could still have their original asbestos insulation. If you plan on ripping yours out and replacing it with a newer furnace, call in an asbestos inspector first.

6. Roofing and Shingles (ACMs)

Some roofing and siding shingles used to be made with what’s called asbestos cement, which is essentially a mixture of asbestos and regular cement. You might also find this material in corrugated roofing and drain pipes.

Some types of asbestos, particularly white asbestos or chrysotile, were banned much later than other types, so buildings as new as 1999 could contain asbestos cement.

7. Walls and Floors around Wood Burners (ACMs)

Wood burners can be an efficient way to heat your home in the winter, especially if natural gas isn’t available where you live. But if there are older cement sheets or millboard surrounding your wood burner, you could have a hidden asbestos problem on your hands.

How Do I Find an Asbestos Testing Laboratory Near Me?

If you think your older home might contain asbestos and you’re planning to renovate, it’s important that you find a reputable asbestos testing laboratory in your area to ensure your family’s safety. Look for a full-accredited environmental laboratory that has experienced professionals who know, understand, and follow the highest safety standards when testing for asbestos.

Feel free to give IRIS Environmental Laboratories a call today at 1(800) 908-6679, or contact us online for more information on how to get started with your asbestos inspection.

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Real Estate Agents – Are You Prepared?!

Real estate agents know better than anyone that if a bump along the way can happen, it probably will. However, there are some things real estate agents can do to better prepare themselves and their clients for curveballs like asbestos, mold, and lead, which could turn into expensive and time-consuming headaches if you’re not careful.

If you’re looking for ways to make your real estate transactions smooth and seamless, one of the best places to start is knowing how to handle issues with environmental hazards as quickly and effectively as possible.

Why Asbestos, Mold, and Lead Can Be Major Setbacks

Today, evaluating a home for environmental hazards like asbestos, mold, and lead is often a standard practice before a sale or purchase can go through. Sellers will need to disclose this information to all potential buyers in their seller disclosure statement. However, if asbestos, mold, or lead is found in the home, it may be necessary to remediate the situation prior to closing.

If you’ve ever run into this situation as a real estate agent, you know how time-consuming this process can be if left until the last minute. Not only can these environmental health hazards scare off potential buyers, but it could also cause a sale to fall through if they’re not taken care of properly and in a timely fashion.

How to Give Your Clients Peace of Mind

While there’s no way to completely predict or prevent problems with asbestos, mold, and lead, you can help to give your clients peace of mind by being well-educated about what these substances are, where they’re most commonly found, and how to have a home inspected, tested, and remediated if need be. The more information about asbestos and mold testing that you can provide your sellers upfront, the less of a hassle you both will have to deal with if these problems are left to surface right before closing.

At IRIS Environmental Laboratories, we provide presentations at your real estate office at no cost to help inform realtors of the possible headaches and setbacks that can crop up during a sale when asbestos, mold, and lead show up.

What to Do When Tight Deadlines Matter

Obviously, the ideal situation is to not have to deal with environmental hazards at all. But the fact of the matter is that many homes, especially those built before 1980, still contain materials like asbestos and lead, and mold could be lurking behind walls, under flooring, or within ceiling tiles.

Whether you’re planning ahead of time or are zeroing in on your closing date, arranging for professional asbestos or mold testing as quickly as possible is crucial for a smooth, seamless real estate transaction. Even if you’re getting down to the wire on your closing date, IRIS Environmental Laboratories can help. With one of the quickest turnaround times for test samples available, IRIS can get you your final report in lightening speed.

Get in Touch with IRIS Environmental Laboratories

Don’t let asbestos, mold, or lead get in the way of your real estate transaction. Give IRIS Environmental Laboratories a call today at 1(800) 908-6679 or email support@irislaboratories.com to get the environmental hazard testing process started so you can have happy (and healthy!) sellers and buyers.

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