ASBESTOS TESTING, ABATEMENT AND REMOVAL
Enviro Doctors is certified for all classifications of asbestos abatement work - Type 1, Type 2, Type 3 and glove bag operations. We comply with industry guidelines and government regulations when working with all asbestos containing material (ACM).
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING …
There are several minerals commonly known as asbestos. Before 1990, these minerals were used on a broad scale to make products strong, long-lasting and fire-resistant, and were popular for insulating buildings and homes against cold weather and noise. It was also used for fireproofing. In Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba, asbestos can be found in many common building materials such as:
- Attic insulation (vermiculite)
- Boiler and pipe insulation
- Furnace and duct wrap/tape
- Textured or Stipple "popcorn" ceilings
- Floor tiles
- Drywall joint compound
- Ceiling tiles
- Spray on insulation
Before any renovation or demolition project commences, you should find out if asbestos containing materials are present. If during renovation, material containing asbestos is found, exposed, damaged, or frayed, you should immediately stop and not disturb the remaining material until it is assessed by a professional. Asbestos should only be removed by professionals. Enviro Doctors is only a phone call away: 204-890-4567, or click here to send a message. We also service Saskatchewan and Northwestern Ontario.
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DO YOU HAVE A POPCORN CEILING?
Spray-on textured ceiling was popular from the 1950s to the 1980s because it was an easy way for builders to hide imperfections. Unfortunately, this was during a period when asbestos was a high-demand building material.
Known as “popcorn ceiling,” “cottage-cheese ceiling” or “stucco ceiling,” it was typically 1 to 10 percent asbestos. But, it’s not the percentage that is the issue — It’s the crumbliness - which puts popcorn ceiling in a different class than other common asbestos materials leftover in old homes.
For example, you can walk on vinyl asbestos floor tiles without much risk. Just don’t smash, scrape or sand them. But merely brushing asbestos popcorn ceiling with your hand releases toxic dust. This makes it as dangerous as old asbestos pipe insulation. Popcorn ceiling is a friable material — meaning it is very easy to damage. Friable asbestos materials release toxic dust at the slightest disturbance. Inhaling asbestos dust is what can lead to serious diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
To find out if your old popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, you can purchase a test kit, or hire the Enviro Doctors. If you choose to you buy a test kit, you will have to collect a sample of the ceiling and mail it to a lab. Hiring us to do it is safer. We also recommend testing your ceiling for lead paint while we are at it.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU FIND OUT YOUR CEILING CONTAINS ASBESTOS?
Option 1: Stay the course. (Tips for Living with Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling)
• Do not disturb the ceiling with nails, screws or tape.
• Don’t put shelves so high that items might scrape the ceiling by accident.
• Be careful not to scrape the ceiling when moving furniture or long objects.
• Make sure children do not throw toys or pillows at the ceiling.
• If a child’s bunkbed allows them to touch the ceiling, don’t put the bunkbed in a room with asbestos popcorn ceiling.
• If the ceiling starts to peel down because of dampness or age, it must be encapsulated or removed.
Option 2: Encapsulate.
Encapsulation means covering an asbestos material so it cannot release asbestos dust. Asbestos popcorn ceiling can be covered with vinyl paint or new ceiling panels.
One way to cover popcorn ceiling is with gypsum board ceiling panels. This material is like drywall but lighter, and is screwed into the framing of the ceiling. Unless you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, it’s best to hire an asbestos specialist like Enviro Doctors, who also know how to mud and tape the new ceiling seamlessly.
Another method is to spray the ceiling with a special vinyl paint. Ordinary house paint will not work. In fact, putting normal paint on the ceiling will actually cause the exposure you are trying to prevent. Spray-on vinyl paint can work, but keep in mind the old popcorn ceiling texture will still be visible.
Encapsulating asbestos is a safe solution, but if you do renovation or demolition work in the future, the asbestos will become a danger again. If you decide to sell your home, you will have to inform potential buyers of the asbestos you found.
Option 3: Remove.
It is always better to have asbestos abatement done properly from the beginning. Cleaning up contamination after the fact becomes much more expensive.
For most homeowners, hiring a recognized asbestos abatement company like Enviro Doctors is highly recommended - if not essential.
Precautions for Safely Removing Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling
• Remove furniture from the room, and cover whatever is left in the room with plastic.
• Turn off the home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit to avoid spreading contamination beyond the room.
• Seal the doors and windows with plastic flaps.
• Keep pets and all people without protective gear away from the area.
• Wear a respirator with a high efficiency particulate air filter. Set up an air purifier as well.
• Wear disposable coveralls. Cover your skin and hair to keep ceiling debris off you.
• Keep the popcorn ceiling material wet. This helps prevent dust from getting into the air.
• Place asbestos-containing waste in sealed and labeled plastic bags.
• Find a landfill or trash-pickup service that can accept asbestos, and call them in advance.
Ignoring these guidelines can be costly. Insurance policies often do not cover asbestos contamination caused by careless renovations. This could leave homeowners with a huge bill for asbestos abatement, on top of the health risks.