Asbestos in Your Home

Asbestos in your Home

Asbestos in your home can be found anywhere, especially if the home was built during the 19th century. Asbestos is a naturally  occurring fibrous  material that was a popular building material from the 1950s  to 1990s.   It was used extensively because it is an insulator,  has good fire  protection properties, has tensile strength, and is resistant to  chemical erosion. Unfortunately, it’s hard to  know if you’re  working with asbestos because it is often mixed with other  materials.  However, if you work in a building built before 1990, it’s likely  that  at least some parts of the building have asbestos.


Common uses

Some of the more common uses of asbestos in buildings are shown below

Spray applied fireproofing

Asbestos in your home can be found as fire protection on  structural supports (e.g. columns and beams), walls and ceilings.   Asbestos containing and non-asbestos containing forms of spray applied  fireproofing may be found.

Mechanical insulation

Mechanical insulation can be  found on mechanical systems, including: boilers, vessels, tanks and  pipes.  These materials often have a high asbestos content.


In older homes, the paper backing  on some linoleum (sheet flooring) may contain high concentrations of  asbestos.  The paper packing tears easily and can result in high fiber  levels if disturbed and appropriate procedures are not used.

Floor tiles

Resilient floor tiles in all  sizes may contain asbestos. A common myth is that you can tell by the  size alone if the floor tile is likely to contain asbestos, you cannot.

Drywall taping compound

Drywall taping compound, or  drywall mud, sometimes referred to simply as drywall, often contains  asbestos.  In addition to covering seams, taping compound is also used  to cover holes, screws and nails and will be feathered out over a large  area for a smooth appearance.  As a result, the entire drywall sheet  should be treated as asbestos containing.


Vermiculite is a light-weight,  fire-resistant material.  It has been used in numerous products,  including insulation for attics and walls. If you have vermiculite  insulation in your home, you should assume this material is contaminated  with asbestos, unless appropriate sampling by a qualified person  determines otherwise.

Asbestos cement board and tiles

Cement boards are often located  on exterior buildings, forming wall coverings and roofs. They may appear  as flat sheets, in corrugated sheet or as smaller overlapping tiles.   They may be used indoors in electrical panels, as a heat shield around  fireplaces and heating components, as blackboards, as peg board and as  wall coverings.

Asbestos cement pipes

Asbestos cement pipes are commonly found as water supply and drain pipes.

Textured decorative coating

Textured and decorative finishes on walls and ceilings in older buildings often contains asbestos.



Are you planning to renovate or demolish a  house built before 1990? If so, your house most likely contains asbestos  — a highly dangerous and toxic material. To avoid exposure, you must:

  • Have an asbestos abatement expert to inspect  your home to determine where asbestos-containing materials are before  you begin your renovations
  • Have all identified materials removed by someone trained in asbestos removal. Unsure where to find an expert. Call our BC Green Construction & Demolition team to help you with it.