Asbestos is an insulating material that was once popular for its inexpensiveness and effectiveness. However, it has since been condemned after it was found that asbestos fibers can lead to serious lung diseases, including cancer. As a result, many homeowners today are facing the question: should I remove the asbestos or leave it alone?
WHEN TO REMOVE IT
Asbestos by itself is not a dangerous material. It becomes dangerous when it is “friable,” meaning it breaks or crumbles easily. When it becomes damaged or crumbles (usually over time), it spreads the hazardous fibers and dust into the air. Home steam pipes and boilers usually contain asbestos insulation and it is wise to remove it. If your tiles contain asbestos and they are cracked or damaged, they pose a considerable risk.
WHEN TO LEAVE IT
Sometimes it is not necessary to remove the asbestos but simply to encase it or cover it. If the tiles are largely intact, then it might do to simply put a new floor over the old. If the asbestos are in the walls, then a professional firm might just make am encasement and close it back up. As long as they are undisturbed, they are fine and safe.
RULE OF THUMB
When in doubt, take it out. If you are wavering on the decision to remove it, it is best to remove it, that way you’ll never have to worry about it again.