If you’ve heard about the health risks posed by asbestos in older homes, you might be wondering: “What does asbestos look like in old houses?”
Does asbestos look like plasterboard?
Does asbestos look like fiberglass?
Or does it look like something different altogether?
Let’s discuss the different types of asbestos, and how to identify if you need to contact a professional asbestos removal company for your property
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was popular in construction from the 1930s-1970s because of its resistance to fire, electricity, and heat. Asbestos seemed like the perfect insulation – until it was discovered that exposure to it can cause serious cancer and diseases.
Asbestos comes in three types: crocidolite (blue), amosite (brown), and chrysotile (white).
All three varieties of asbestos are made of thin, fibrous strands that crumble easily, but they were used for different jobs, and pose different levels of risk.
So what does the asbestos look like, and how can you tell the types of asbestos apart?
What does asbestos look like?: identifying asbestos
Spray on asbestos
Spray-on asbestos is one of the most dangerous forms – because even a minor disturbance can release a huge amount of asbestos fibers into the air. If inhaled, these can cause lung disease or mesothelioma cancer.
This spray-on was used for insulation under roofs and on the sides of buildings. It was also used as fire protection on pipes and structural beams. If you have spray-on asbestos in your building, it will usually look gray or white and have a rough surface.
Loose fill asbestos
In its loose form, asbestos looks a bit like cotton candy, and is blue-gray or white in color. Loose fill asbestos is extremely friable – meaning it’s easy for the fibers to be released into the air.
Loose fill asbestos is used in loft spaces, under floorboards, and between cavity walls. Because it is so high-risk, loose fill asbestos must be handled by someone who is license and suitably trained.
It can be difficult to tell if your pipes have asbestos insulation. That’s because asbestos lagging is often sealed in a protective coating or a layer of paint. You might not know if the lagging contains asbestos until it is tested.
Ensure your home is asbestos-free
As you can see, it’s a bit complicated to answer the question: “What does asbestos look like?”
Because it’s so hazardous, and so difficult to identify, it’s always safer to contact a licensed professional like the contractors at Asbestos Removal PRO.