One of the steps in many renovations is testing and removing the dreadful asbestos. Asbestos is a natural mineral that has been mined and used for centuries because of its durability in buildings. Because of its carcinogenic nature it is now banned from use. While contractors and builders no longer use materials containing asbestos it is tracked in several older buildings that have not been renovated. It can range from a small inconvenience to a major expense to have it removed. We just recently went through the process of removing some from our place and we got a lot of questions so we thought we would fill you in on our process.
Asbestos was used in a lot of construction materials between the 1930’s through the 1970’s. Even though our place was built well before that time period, there is no doubt some work was done during these decades so it was bound to be found somewhere. One place you can bet on finding is in the roofing material. The roof had to be redone at some point when asbestos was used. Typically the new roofing is just layered on top of the existing. So even if the roof was redone after asbestos was used the asbestos layer is under there. If you’re not going to touch it, its fine to stay right where it is , but if any of the work requires it to be disturbed it’s quite the process and will be expensive.
Before the initial paperwork is filed with the DOB a licensed asbestos inspector needs to take samples and test anywhere demo work is being done. Since any renovation is going to include some plaster demo, that is a place you really don’t want to find it. Fortunately for us it was only found in the roofing layers.
There are 3 places where we’re doing demo and needed a asbestos remediator to remove the roofing material. The mudroom extension on the back of the building, a few square feet of the roof where we need to enlarge a skylight, and a small hole for the plumbing ventilation pipe. It took hours of setup and about 30 minutes to actually remove the affected area. It costs us $5,000 for work that really would have been a small and quick part of the larger project.
We we’re fortunate that we only found it in the roof since we aren’t doing a lot of work that requires demo there. There is definitely potential to derail a renovation project if it’s found in more substantial places.
We safely and legally removed the asbestos containing materials that we are demolishing for our project. We‘re fortunate it wasn’t found in other places, but we also know there is a chance we’ll need to go through the costly process again if we want to completely redo our roof one day. So the caution tape may go back up one day!
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