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I'm working on renovating a bathroom in a house built in 1958. How do I tell if the walls contain asbestos? It looks like 3/4 plaster or plasterboard. I've looked at the material and can't see any fibrous material visible to the naked eye. I'm not familiar with what wall products were used that contained asbestos and what they look like

Anyone have any tips?
 

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This is a very common question on this forum, it has been asked dozens of times in the past couple of years. There is no way to visually determine if a given building product contains asbestos. The only way to make the determination is to take a sample of the product to a laboratory and have it tested. The standard test requires a special microscope, so is beyond the ability of an untrained individual to determine. There is also no way to positively rule out any specific building product, regardless of age, since asbestos has been incorporated in an astonishing variety of products (all the way from brake pads to pipe insulation), and contrary to public belief is still sold today (Canada is a leader in the production of asbestos).
 

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yup no way to tell if there is asbestos, its normally pretty pricey to get samples tested. i suggest instead of getting it tested i would just treat it if it does have asbestos so your taking any chances. and yes most of the asbestos comes from asbestos quebec and is mostly sold to 3rd world countries, how nice are we!!
 

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So should I be testing a wide variety of products in the home before doing any work? Really hoping to avoid large abatement expenses but such is life sometimes.

I have a lab that will test for 50 dollars per sample
 

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Just looks like plaster to me.
Wet it down and wear a dust mask and keep on working.
 

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if you know a lab that will do it for $50 then do that. take a min. of 3 samples in different areas of the plaster. here in my area there are no labs and have to be sent away and we dont know the results for 2-3weeks so the norm is just treat it if it contains asbestos. There is possibly asbestos in a wide variety of products that were used to build a house.

  • Drywall and joint compound
  • Plaster
  • Gas mask filters pre 1960s
  • Mud and texture coats
  • Vinyl floor tiles, sheeting, adhesives
  • Roofing tars, felts, siding, and shingles[32]
  • "Transite" panels, siding, countertops, and pipes
  • Popcorn ceilings, also known as acoustic ceilings
  • Fireproofing
  • Caulk
  • Industrial and Marine Gaskets, including those made by Garlock Sealing Technologies
  • Packing, a system for sealing a rotating shaft
  • Brake pads and shoes
  • Stage curtains
  • Fire blankets
  • Interior fire doors
  • Fireproof clothing for firefighters
  • Thermal pipe insulation
  • Filters for removing fine particulates from chemicals, liquids and wine
  • Dental cast linings
  • HVAC flexible duct connectors
  • Drilling fluid additives
 

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i just had a sample of my walls tested (it was $50 for 48h rush). that appears to be rock lathe (slightly modern version of wood lathe) where they used gypsum instead of the wood underlayment. (what my house is built with) my house was also circa 1959 and the test came back negative. but for $50 it was well worth the piece of mind.
 

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i just had a sample of my walls tested (it was $50 for 48h rush). that appears to be rock lathe (slightly modern version of wood lathe) where they used gypsum instead of the wood underlayment. (what my house is built with) my house was also circa 1959 and the test came back negative. but for $50 it was well worth the piece of mind.
I agree $50 well spent.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
i just had a sample of my walls tested (it was $50 for 48h rush). that appears to be rock lathe (slightly modern version of wood lathe) where they used gypsum instead of the wood underlayment. (what my house is built with) my house was also circa 1959 and the test came back negative. but for $50 it was well worth the piece of mind.
Thats exactly what it was. Test came back negative but I'm glad I sent it out.

Thanks
 

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A home inspector recently checked out the house I'm buying, built in 1960, and he indicated it was commonplace ( not each and every time though ), for asbestos to be in the plaster slurry as fire retardant, especially in garages.

Like said laready, if you are concerned, spend the $$ to get samples tested. I did for lead paint......
 
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