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Old 05-23-2011, 03:36 PM   #1
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


My house was built in the 40s and had a front porch converted to living space in the 60s. The geniuses who did the conversion decided to "extend" the ceiling joists by nailing boards end to end, with a block connecting both. Amazingly, this has held up for the past 50 years.

While doing electrical repair last year the workers discovered vermiculite granules below the blown in insulation in the attic, around the area of the previous porch conversion. I'm not sure if the material is all over, but I did pull back a little insulation around the attic opening and did not find any vermiculite.

The plan was to just leave the vermiculite (likely from Libby) under the old blown in, and then add more blown in on top of that.

The bad news is that I just noticed a very narrow 1' long crack forming in the ceiling where the joist extensions are located.

I'm trying not to freak completely out. I've got some rough phone quotes of $5k to $10k. This is completely out of my budget, even if it means leaving the crack and eventually getting lung cancer from asbestos particles floating around. I just don't have that kind of money, nothing I have can be sold to come up with even a portion of that. There are rumors about budget (ie job) cuts at the company.

The crack concerns me greatly. If the joists were to give, I would have an entire living room full of insulation, and asbestos fibers would be released and floating throughout my small house.

I've read many threads here about asbestos removal - DIY is not recommended. If it weren't for the crack and weak joists I really wouldn't bother with doing anything about it. Since I don't have $5-10k laying around, what am I to do? Just my luck of the draw?
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:49 PM   #2
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


No comment other than that your forum name says a lot.
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Old 05-23-2011, 05:31 PM   #3
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


As the homeowner you can do whatever you want on the inside of your home without permits or inspection if you do the work yourself. Including asbestos removal.
That being said,

All the rules in place for asbestos is to control the airborn particles. Your first choice is obviously to seal the ceiling up and be done with it. But if you want to remove it, you want to take as many precautions as you can. I was listing them, but then figured I would just point you in the general direction for such information so you can educate yourself and do this job safely. Read everything you can about this before moving forward. Call your local land field and ask them where to get the asbestos bags.

No matter whether you or a professional removes it, it all goes to the public land field. Here is a link to the basic info, which I assume you've done some research on this already. Page 3 goes into disposal, and this is for Colorado. May vary a little from state to state.

http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/asbestos.pdf

***My recommendation is to use a professional because the equipment they use will prevent contamination in your home. If you let that stuff go airborn it will get in your couch, carpet, bedding, etc. and now you are exposed to asbestos you were not exposed to before.


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Old 05-23-2011, 07:56 PM   #4
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


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As the homeowner you can do whatever you want on the inside of your home without permits or inspection if you do the work yourself. Including asbestos removal.
What?
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:00 PM   #5
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


Originally Posted by dtsman
As the homeowner you can do whatever you want on the inside of your home without permits or inspection if you do the work yourself. Including asbestos removal.

Boy, THAT is good to know!
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:43 PM   #6
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


I talked about this with an older gentleman at school tonight (he's a carpenter). He said to think outside the box. The ceiling is sagging down because there aren't supports. We drew up a diagram of the area and came up with a tentative fix.. basically, installing a short knee wall with a post at the end. This post would support a header beam that goes across the room under the f-ed up joist connections.
Then, to address the crack -- I could either cut out that section and put new sheetrock (and risk releasing asbestos), or mud over the area.. or just put part of a sheet in the area around the door.. making it decorative, maybe with quarter round.

Feel better about this now. Thanks.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:50 AM   #7
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


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As the homeowner you can do whatever you want on the inside of your home without permits or inspection if you do the work yourself. Including asbestos removal.
That being said


um, I would like to know where this is...



I think the idea of posts and beam could be a good one if your budget is limited. Just make sure it is done properly by someone that knows what they are doing, that the point loads are carried down, etc. Then I would just tape and mud the crack. (A photo would help to see exactly what can be done)

much cheaper than opening up the ceiling and having asbestos containment people in, restructuring your joists and then redoing the ceiling.

By the way, speaking of your username, that is a cool song (I presume you are a joy division fan)
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:17 AM   #8
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


There really ARE Joy Division fans?
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:16 AM   #9
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I would like to know where this is...)
Actually these places do exist, I know because I’m currently located in one in rural Kansas.
In this county the only thing you need to pull a permit for is if your adding living space. There are no inspections other than verification of the new square footage so it can be added to your property taxes.

No contractors licenses here either. For me in the year and a half I’ve been here the lack of regulation has been quite refreshing but the down side is evident everywhere with the shoddy and sometimes scary work I’ve seen.
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:21 AM   #10
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


no permits required for anything where I live fyi.....its an unincorporated country area.


anyway, instead of putting posts and beams in your living room, talk to a better carpenter who can put posts and beams in the attic space....its the same thing, just not visible.
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:25 AM   #11
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


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There really ARE Joy Division fans?
Yes, quite a few. For the band, not the horror that is found in history books. Big difference!
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:58 AM   #12
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


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Actually these places do exist, I know because I’m currently located in one in rural Kansas.
In this county the only thing you need to pull a permit for is if your adding living space. There are no inspections other than verification of the new square footage so it can be added to your property taxes.

No contractors licenses here either. For me in the year and a half I’ve been here the lack of regulation has been quite refreshing but the down side is evident everywhere with the shoddy and sometimes scary work I’ve seen.

hmm, ok guess I was wrong. However I would say that in most areas you should definitely check what permits are needed, chances are you will need one, be it homeowner or otherwise.

That is great for those who are doing the job properly, no beauocratic tie ups and waits, just get the job done.

Downside of course is that anyone can hack their home to bits and call it a reno, no permit trail to tell what was done right or under the radar.

Last edited by chrisBC; 05-24-2011 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:01 AM   #13
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


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Originally Posted by jcrack_corn View Post
no permits required for anything where I live fyi.....its an unincorporated country area.


anyway, instead of putting posts and beams in your living room, talk to a better carpenter who can put posts and beams in the attic space....its the same thing, just not visible.


Then your into the asbestos, and will need the whole containment issue, which was what was to be avoided in the first place. You could trim out the beam to look nice, make it a feature of the room.

Last edited by chrisBC; 05-24-2011 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:06 PM   #14
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Bad news - asbestos and a failing ceiling joist system


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You could trim out the beam to look nice, make it a feature of the room.
Same with sheet of drywall to cover the crack.. make it 36" x36" and trim it out on the ceiling. Turns a negative into a positive.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:57 PM   #15
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Same with sheet of drywall to cover the crack.. make it 36" x36" and trim it out on the ceiling. Turns a negative into a positive.
Hmm, could the crack not be fixed without the additional drywall? in the past i've fixed ceiling cracks by taping and mudding. I like using mesh tape for this kind of repair, with setting compound.

just trying to picture it without seeing it

hope it turns out well for u
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