Asbestos concerns...

I am deep into the contract although I have not released the inspection contingency yet.
Today I read about asbestos and I scared as I have kids and home is built in 1963!

The home inspection report did not say anything about asbestos. May be because asbestos inspections come under other kind of inspection which is done for hazardous materials.

This house needs a lot of renovations to make it livable! So should I get an inspection done before I go ahead with the deal? I need to know where in the house is asbestos as I read that asbestos, if disturbed is very hazardous.

I am in dilemma.
  • October 26 2011 - Fremont
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Answers (4)

Thanks for your question "rbharol".

I just represented a buyer with the very same situation.  DEFINITELY have it tested.  You will have to have a professional company come in and take a sample but they can have the results back quickly.  Buyers only have 1 opportunity to get the seller to remediate these type of problems.

If it is found to be asbestos, you can have the seller have it removed prior to closing or comp you the cost of the remediation if you plan on renovating later.

Now, you said you were still in your inspection contingency.  I assume it is nearing the end so your agent will have to ask for an extension.  When the agent does this, make sure they have language in there similar to, "if seller does not execute addendum granting extension, deal is terminated".  Make sure it is in the addendum as you do not want to the deadline to pass.

Hope this helps, good luck!
  • October 27 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Asbestos is usually only a concern if it is disturbed. Unlike lead paint that can be on commonly remodeled surfaces, asbestos generally is in predicable areas in houses so it can be dealt with pretty easily. Asbestos was used to insulate stove pipes, hot water pipes in houses with boilers as a "thermal spacer" around chimneys and sometimes in florring or siding to make it wear longer. 

The EPA has information about asbestos here. You can get an inspection for it, but it is not something that I wold be majorly concerned about unless you have a large area that will have to be removed like a floor. In that case, filters can be used and the person doing the work can use precautions so your family will stay safe.
  • October 27 2011
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Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
Get it professionally inspected for asbestos. You have read enough about it to know that tearing down walls will leave a lot of tiny airborne fibers so also have that done by a professional used to working with asbestos.
  • October 27 2011
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Asbestos is only hazardous if it gets in the air and you breath it and it gets in your lungs.

Your home inspector should have already noted any obvious asbestos.

The places most likely to look:

1) Insulation around heating ducts and heater vent pipes.  (not too much of that used in the 1960's)

2) Attic insulation (most likely is not asbestos, but should be checked).

3) Vinyl floor tiles (extremely common in the 1960's); if they are 9" square, they likely have asbestos.  If they are 12" square, they likely do not.  If you have the 9"square vinyl floor tiles and they are in good condition, you likely don't have an issue.

4) possibly siding material; but unlikely

If you want them removed, you probably should have it done professionally before you move in.  Still, most hazardous waste dumps make you sign a form that you own the asbestos permanently and it doesn't belong to the land fill owner.  (Anticipating future law changes).

You can install a new floor over the old floor and seal the asbestos in.  That often is the easiest and likely would not cause any issues, except perhaps changing some thresholds and shortening some doors.

Trying to get those old floors installed in the 1960's up is pretty difficult as they used a black tar cement that holds quite well.  That adhesive is not legal to use any more due to the fumes that come off of it when it is curing.
  • October 27 2011
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