Asbestos in plaster walls??


Old 05-13-05, 09:55 AM
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Exclamation Asbestos in plaster walls??

I'm remodeling a house built in 1945 (currently empty) and was told erroneously by one contractor who looked at the job that the popcorn ceilings did not contain asbestos. Turns out he didn't test, but looked at a piece and "his experience" told him it didn't have asbestos (this is a long distance remodel and I wasn't with him when he did a walk-through to see it). Meanwhile we went about tearing down the basement ceiling totally unaware of the danger we were in. When I hired another young man who just got his contractor's license to help with the demolition he took samples and got them tested and they came back showing asbestos not only in the popcorn, but also in the plaster walls! Does anyone know anything about asbestos in plaster walls? The information on the web that I have found so far only mentions that plaster "can" contain asbestos. The remodeling plan calls for moving some walls, so this is a big deal. Also, because of "full disclosure" wouldn't it be a problem for re-sale...if all of the walls contain asbestos wouldn't even putting up a picture release fibers??? Have I fallen down the rabbit hole here?????
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Old 03-06-06, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: kentucky
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asbestos issue

Hi, I would call an asbestos abatement company to come and give you an estimate on removing the walls or encapsulating them prior to any demolition. You definitely dont want to do anything on your own trust me Im a union insulator who spent 10 yrs abating asbestos. Let the professionals deal with it. And yes you will need to make anyone who might rent from you aware of it being in the house.
Good Luck,
Old 03-06-06, 05:11 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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kdsm, Welcome to the DIY Forums.
I totally agree with Jacksrwild. I hope you haven't disposed of any of this material without proper labeling. Last time I heard, it is a really hefty fine for asbestos removal by an unlicensed company. Good luck.
Old 03-06-06, 06:31 AM
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Asbestos removal legalities vary greatly in different locations but it still should be handled responsibly. Asbestos poses the biggest danger in powder or dust form. You really are better of being safe than sorry.
Old 03-06-06, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: California
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All of the advice given is right on. I think a word or two about plaster is in order. Plaster does not contain asbestos--unless the plasterer added it in the field--a not uncommon occurance. The accoustical finish must certainly have it as the test is positive. If it is real accoustical finish there is an accoustic basecoat that probably has it also. Below that is a gypsum plaster scratch coat. it might not have asbestos in it but it is so rough that some of the asbestos from the accoustic basecoat is probably incorporated in the roughness. That can probably be removed by a competent asbestos abatement firm without removing the gypsum plaster basecoat, provided that there is not added asbestos in the scratch.

Test first then get some bids on removal or encapsulation. Encapsulation, the way I understand it only postpones having to deal with the asbestos.

This is interesting. Let us know what you learn.

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