How to remove sheetrock safely

Old 08-30-09, 08:58 AM
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How to remove sheetrock safely

Hi, just found this forum this morning and so glad I did!
Our house was built in 1979 and was a rental for 20 years. Previous owner jimmy rigged everything and did patch repairs instead of fixing things right. Bathrooms have to be completely gutted including walls because of water damage. The walls are sheetrock. Floor has 3 layers of vinyl with tan colored adhesive. Main bathroom is approx. 6x9 and half bath is about half that size. There is a wall between them with the pipes for tub and toilets are back to back with the wall between. The wall has to come down. Already was a hole in the wall next to toilet when we bought the place. I am ready to do this. One toilet and sink are already removed and in the back yard. We have rented a porta john and will have to take outdoor showers as soon as tub is removed.
Problem is, my husband is suddenly paralyzed by fear of asbestos. He thinks it could be in the sheetrock. Now he is afraid to remove anything else. We cannot afford to hire a company to do this for us. We have to do it ourselves. We have purchased the masks with the filters, plastic to cover the doorways and a sprayer to wet down the sheetrock before cutting.(per someones advice) I know that the age of the house teeters on the floor adhesive possibly having asbestos, but the bathrooms are so small, we plan to just cut around the edge of the floor(vinyl doesn't go all the way to the edge) and just take it out in one or two pieces. But we have never removed sheetrock before. It is cracked in some places due to the water damage in the floor. Even the floor joist has to be replaced. DH is not afraid of repairing part but of the removal of the sheetrock part. I say we have gone too far to turn back now, and should just use as many precautions as possible. He has asthma and is convinced if he does this job he will end up with lung cancer 30 years from now. Please advise! What is the best way to remove sheetrock?

Old 08-30-09, 10:28 AM
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Welcome to the forums from the mountains! Doubtful sheetrock would have had any asbestos in it. Can't see the benefit. Use the masks anyway as well as safety glasses and gloves. Not so much as asbestos is concerned, but general safety concerns when doing demo. Take the wall covering down and toss it. When you get to the floor, yeah, there may have been some asbestos in it, but you won't release enough to harm a bird if you are careful. You will still be wearing your mask, glasses and gloves, so get one of those slammer hoes with a straight head on it and push up the floor covering in prep of a new one. Have you decided on what you will do with the walls and floors yet? Will the area above the tub (if no shower) be tiled? If so, plan on concrete backer underlayment for that part. The remainder can be of regular 1/2" drywall. Don't waste your money on greenboard. You have reached PNR, so keep the throttle up and nose in the air.
Keep us informed and let us know if we can be of help.
Old 08-30-09, 10:43 AM
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When he says "wear a mask" he means a good one. Buy a respirator mask with replaceable filters not just the $1 dust mask.
You can also poly everything off that your are not working in and put a fan in a window to remove the dust. This is all just good demolition safety.
Old 08-30-09, 11:29 AM
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I'm not aware of any asbestos in the drywall itself but some brands/types of popcorn texture were laced with asbestos. I've personally sprayed a lot of it on schools ceilings - by order of the fire marshal It was outlawed in the late 70's but existing stock was allowed to be used up. Not all popcorn from the 70's had asbestos.

The asbestos in texture is for the most part only toxic when dry and inhaled. If you keep it wet and contain the waste - you should be ok. There are kits you can buy to test for asbestos. I used to get covered in the wet asbestos texture - young and dumb, but who knew

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