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strategery 11-30-2013 08:28 AM

Remodeling old house lots of demo
I'm planning to remodel a bungalow that was built in 1919. I'm doing some of it myself and some will be hired out. I'm doing only the kitchen and bathroom. The rest of the house was all redone 10-15 years ago and still looks great.

I'm planning to do a lot of demo myself. Does anyone know if houses built during this time used lots of asbestos? The walls have sheetrock over plaster & lathe in except for the exterior walls (removed so they could be insulated I believe).

I know that there are different types of asbestos. Was it common in plaster? I removed a few small areas to closely examine it. Looks like there's horse hair in it, too.

Thanks for the feedback.

joecaption 11-30-2013 08:54 AM

Could be asbestos in the plaster and as insulation on the duct work if there is any.
Also surely lead paint.

md2lgyk 11-30-2013 12:35 PM

Short of having a sample or two tested, there's no real way to know if there's asbestos. And you really do need to know before you start ripping it out.

strategery 12-03-2013 12:06 AM

If i do get it tested are all forms of asbestos equally unsafe? Would it rule out me doing it myself?

md2lgyk 12-03-2013 08:02 AM

The only "safe" residential asbestos is that which remains undisturbed. Regardless of whether it's in the plaster, floor tiles, tile adhesive, or wherever, disturbing it broadcasts particles which, when inhaled, are hazardous.

Were we talking about a commercial building, you would generally be prohibited by law from remediating the problem yourself; a licensed professional abatement company would have to do it. Residential is different, and depends on State and local laws. You might be legally able to do it yourself, or you might not. Even the places where asbestos can be disposed of are usually regulated. You need to check with your local authorities if you're entertaining any thoughts of DIY for this. Personally, if the tests were positive, I'd let the pros handle it. Unlike the scam that is radon remediation, the danger from asbestos is quite real.

PoleCat 12-03-2013 08:23 AM

Even if you are asbestos free I would recommend a good respirator over the paper mask. Plaster dust during demolition will be intense and takes quite awhile to settle.

md2lgyk 12-03-2013 03:48 PM


Originally Posted by PoleCat (Post 1274173)
Even if you are asbestos free I would recommend a good respirator over the paper mask. Plaster dust during demolition will be intense and takes quite awhile to settle.

Forgot this part. I've done what you're planning only once , and never intend to do it again. If you have young children in your home, anyone with asthma, or a prissy wife, you really should consider the house uninhabitable during this work (and afterward until it's cleaned up).

747 12-03-2013 04:43 PM

Hopefully those walls don't have it. If they do. There going to get DEEP into your wallet for cleanup.

El Barbón 12-05-2013 11:01 PM

1919 is a little early for there to be a lot of asbestos around, but if the house has been remodeled a couple of times, then you probably will find some. Asbestos was in *everything* for a while; duct tape, linoleum, linoleum backing, tile, shingles, electrical insulation--and I'm sure there are dozens more categories I'm not thinking of off the top of my head.
The good news is that asbestos remediation is comparatively cheap and easy. If you *have* to do something yourself--which I don't recommend--make sure you keep the surface damp to keep airborne dust down. That's what I did while removing some old ducting. If you're demo-ing some walls, though, you should think about hiring somebody, unless that's just not an option.
If I were in your shoes, I'd be *much* more worried about lead-based paint. *Much* more expensive to abate, and more dangerous, in my opinion. Unless the bathroom's been redone in the last forty years or so, a house that old almost certainly has leaded paint in the bathroom. Actually, if you've got kids, I'd encourage you to take a couple of soil samples around the house and get those tested, too. I'd be surprised if there weren't elevated levels in the dirt.
Really, there's no way to know how involved or expensive this will be until you get some samples taken.

strategery 12-05-2013 11:08 PM

Lead in the soil around the house? How would it have gotten there?

El Barbón 12-06-2013 01:36 AM

I would have asked the same question before we moved into our house. By the time we had the old paint stabilized on the outside, the lead level in our soil was hovering in the parts-per-300 range. I guarantee that if a house has been around since 1919, it's been re-painted once or twice. And the loose paint that either flaked off or was scraped off is sitting there in your dirt. Personally, if I bought a house--even a brand-new one--that was built on a site occupied for more than forty years or so, I'd have the soil tested, just to be safe.
Lead is one of those contaminants (like asbestos) that are extremely toxic, and also really easy to inadvertently expose yourself to. Fortunately, a few simple tests and precautions can really reduce your risk. First step is to get some samples tested. I don't know about the sheetrock, but horsehair plaster is probably asbestos-free. I'd be more concerned about what's hiding behind any tile you've got. Take samples of mastic, tile, linoleum and get 'em tested. If you're worried about the paint, take a couple paint chips in, too (just make sure you get all the layers of paint). Having samples checked is relatively inexpensive, and should give you a pretty good idea of what you're up against.

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