How to Test for Asbestos: All You Need to Know

If you own a property, you must know if any hazardous materials are lurking behind your walls and under the floorboards. For this reason, asbestos testing is essential to proper home maintenance, as asbestos can cause serious health problems such as lung cancer over prolonged exposure.

Testing for asbestos in your building may sound intimidating, but fear not — with the right steps and resources, you’ll have all the knowledge to ensure that everyone living in or around your building is safe from harmful toxins. In this blog, we will review the steps professionals must follow to test for asbestos correctly. But first, let’s talk about the options for trying it.

How Can You Test for Asbestos?

If you own an old home or a building built before the 1980s, there is a high chance that it contains asbestos in its construction materials, so it is important to request asbestos testing. A couple of options are available to accurately detect the presence of asbestos and any potential health risks associated with it, such as:

Professional Testing Services

You can hire a licensed professional to come and inspect your property, take samples from suspect materials, and analyze them on-site or in a laboratory. This is the most reliable way to test for asbestos as it involves using specialized equipment and highly trained expertise.

Home Test Kits

For those who want to do some DIY testing, there are also cheaper options in the form of at-home kits that can be purchased online or from hardware stores. These kits will allow you to take a sample of the suspect material and send it off for analysis in an accredited laboratory.

However, this method is often less reliable than a professional test, as there is always the risk of introducing contamination through improper sample collection.

Keep in mind that asbestos fibers are very dangerous when inhaled. So, trying the DIY method can cause health risks for you and your family.

Steps To Test Your Property for Asbestos

asbestos-tube-testing

Testing is the first option if you find or suspect there is asbestos in your home. Testing your property for asbestos is straightforward, but as mentioned before, it is recommended to be done by a professional. Here is how to test for asbestos:

1. Don’t Disturb the Area

It’s important not to move or break anything before testing. Disturbing a potentially asbestos-containing area can release harmful fibers into the air and increase your risk of exposure. So, leaving the area untouched is best until you have taken proper safety precautions.

2. Use Protective Equipment

Wear protective gear, including respiratory masks and gloves, when handling materials that may contain asbestos. This ensures your safety during the testing process. Since the procedure is very dangerous, it is best to have a professional test you.

3. Cover and Wet the Area

To properly contain the suspect area, cover it with plastic sheeting and ensure it is well-sealed. Additionally, spraying the area with water helps further minimize the release of asbestos fibers into the air, effectively reducing the risk of inhalation. It is crucial to follow these precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals involved.

4. Isolate and Collect a Sample

asbestos-fibers

Carefully cut out a small sample from an inconspicuous area using a sharp blade or heavy-duty scissors. This sample will be analyzed for the presence of asbestos, so handle it with care to ensure accurate results. Remember to wear protective equipment, such as gloves and a mask, when handling potentially hazardous materials.

5. Seal the Sample Properly

To ensure safe transportation, place the sample in airtight double-bagged plastic bags. This proper sealing prevents any potential asbestos fibers from escaping and helps to protect against any potential hazards.

6. Dispose of Materials Properly

After discarding the plastic sheeting and other materials used in the sampling process, it is important to seal them carefully to prevent any potential contamination of the surrounding environment. This step ensures proper disposal and helps maintain a clean and safe working area.

7. Clean the Area

To properly clean your space, start by vacuuming away any dust and then wipe down surfaces with damp cloths. It’s important to dispose of these materials correctly to ensure they don’t pose a risk of asbestos exposure. Remember to follow proper guidelines and precautions when handling potentially hazardous materials.

8. Seal the Tested Area

It is recommended to paint over the area from which you took the sample to ensure proper surface sealing and prevent the release of loose particles and further contamination. This additional step provides an extra layer of protection and helps maintain the integrity of the surface.

9. Remove Protective Gear Safely

Before discarding protective gear, it is important to remove it carefully to avoid contact with potentially hazardous materials or dust particles. This includes following proper procedures, such as using gloves and masks and ensuring that contaminated surfaces are properly cleaned. Taking these precautions minimizes the exposure risks and maintains a safe environment.

10. Send the Sample for Analysis

Send the sealed sample to an EPA-certified laboratory for analysis. Professional testing ensures accurate results, providing you with information about the presence or absence of asbestos in your property.

How to Test Asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings?

popcorn-ceiling

Testing popcorn ceilings for asbestos involves similar steps, but the test duration can vary. Typically, it takes a few days to receive test results from a certified laboratory. Also, the process differs based on whether you plan to do it yourself or hire a professional.

If you hire a professional, the steps that you need to know are:

  1. Find a contractor: Always ensure the professional you hire is certified and experienced in asbestos testing.
  2. Cover and protect: The contractor will protect the surrounding area to prevent asbestos particles from spreading.
  3. Sample collection: The professional will collect samples from various parts of the ceiling using a safe procedure.
  4. Send to the lab: The collected samples will be sent to a lab for detailed asbestos testing.
  5. Wait for results: Normally, you should receive the test results within a few days.

Testing Flooring for Asbestos

Flooring materials, especially older vinyl, tiles, or linoleum, might contain asbestos—sampling and testing flooring for asbestos for protocols similar to other materials. The asbestos on your floor is most likely in the adhesive, which holds tiles or vinyl in place. So, when removing flooring, it’s essential to take all precautions to avoid releasing asbestos fibers into the air.

Is It Necessary?

If you own a property built before 1989, asbestos-containing building materials were likely used in its construction. Even if your home was built after the ban, asbestos could probably be present due to the overturning of the ban in 1991. Regardless of the age of your property, testing for asbestos should be a priority if you suspect there may be materials containing the mineral.

The asbestos testing process usually takes a day, but it will depend on different factors that could affect the duration of the process.

How Much Does It Cost To Test for Asbestos

asbestos-in-roof-ceiling

The cost of asbestos testing can vary depending on several factors, including the type of material being tested, the number of samples required, and the location of the property. According to The Asbestos Institute, the average cost for initial asbestos testing is around $517, with prices typically ranging from $225 to $808. And DIY testing kits usually range between $10–$50.

Hiring a professional for an accurate test is always advisable, as they are more likely to face potential risks.

Get a Clean Cut Asbestos Inspection

Are you looking for a reliable asbestos inspector? Clean Cut Abatement offers comprehensive asbestos testing and abatement services to residential and commercial customers. 

Our highly trained professionals are dedicated to providing accurate assessment and compliance with local regulations. Contact us today for a free quote or to discuss your needs. We look forward to helping you keep your property safe with our asbestos testing services!

Asbestos

Remove Asbestos Today

Don’t worry about the air you breath any longer; call in Detroit’s asbestos experts, Clean Cut Abatement.

We know exactly what to look for and how to remove any asbestos if it is found. We are a local and trustworthy business, which is exactly what you need in a potentially-dangerous situation such as this.

Contact us today to come out to your home if you recognize any of these signs or would like for an expert to look around. You can call us at 1-800-975-1697 or you can email admin@cleancutabatement.com. Don’t spend another day breathing in toxic air!

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