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Old 03-03-2008, 06:13 PM   #1
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Old Concrete Board with horse hair w/asbestos

Im going through and tearing out the inside of the old house i bought that was built in the 1850's. seems like all the ceilings have old concrete board. while i was tearing it out i noticed some strands. i brought a piece over to a guy here in town and said it was horse hair, he said it was common back in the day to do that. is there any truth to it? and what are the odds of asbestos being in that mix? thanks,scott


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Old 03-03-2008, 08:34 PM   #2
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it's true. back in the day it was common to add horse hair to plaster to give it strength, kinda like the fiber mesh reinforcement in todays concrete

asbestos has been around forever, but i don't think was largely popular until the early 1900's


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Old 03-03-2008, 10:10 PM   #3
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Asbestos was used throughout the 1800's as a binder in interior plasters. What I am going to say now is strictly my opinion.

Asbestos in casual short term contact is about as dangerous as dirt. Take normal precautions* to remove the material from your home and dispose of it in the proper manner.

*Wear a mask and old, disposable clothing. Remove it in chunks and do not generate any more dust than you have to. Seal off the working area so that you do not allow residue to contaminate the house.
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Old 03-04-2008, 10:31 AM   #4
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I would agree - Yes horse hair. Not likely asbestos. Wear a dust mask and clean up good and you will likely be fine. If you are really concerned have it tested. The moon suit guys are expensive and (my opinion) are overkill.
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Old 03-04-2008, 04:13 PM   #5
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What you should know is that asbestos was used in plaster up into the early 1980s, particularly in textured finishes like popcorn ceilings. It was also used in drywall and drywall compounds by some manufacturers as well as sheet flooring, insulation, vinyl tile, caulking, wire jacketing and on and on. It's use in old plaster like horsehair largely depended on how available it was in the local area. Now, if it does contain asbestos and you go tearing the stuff out keep in mind that you will release microscopic fibres into the inside of your home that will stay airborne for weeks, or even months. That is the same air that you and your family will be breathing. If you are concerned about it, send a sample to a lab that has the capability to test using the PEL method. They will return a report with the percentage quantity of big A and the type. Anything over 1% is considered asbestos containing material (ACM). New York was one of the first states in the country to regulate asbestos abatement and has some really picky laws about removal and disposal. If you want to do it yourself, at least use a half face respirator with P100 filter cartridges, an exhaust fan and wipe everthing up with a damp cloth, including yourself before you leave the room. I'd guess that you don't have the big A, but then I've seen it show up in some really wierd places. Sad thing is it can take up to 20 years to snag you and by then you'll have forgotten about this renovation project. Only you can decide how comfortable you are with ripping and not knowing.
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