Old 07-21-13, 01:21 PM
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I am trying to make a best guess as to whether or not the plaster walls in my house contain asbestos.
That best guess would be based on the dates involved.
My house was built in Florida in 1973.
I have read different reports citing different timeframes where asbestos use was discontinued. Some say pre 70's. Some elude to apres 70s.

Anyone know the facts about this? (timeframe).

(I'm wanting to recess a fridge into a wall which means cutting out the plaster.)

Old 07-21-13, 02:51 PM
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There is a good chance there may be asbestos in the spackle. Your house is right on the border line.

You could have it tested too to be sure.
Old 07-21-13, 02:59 PM
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Plasterers were and to some extent still are notorious for tweaking their mix for various purposes and reasons. But typically, gypsum plaster has no asbestos in the base coats and the only finishes that had asbestos were acoustical finishes. These are almost exclusively ceilings and are soft and crumbly and easily dented. The finish is similar in appearance to "popcorn" in drywall.

I suspect, however given the age of your house that you have drywall not plaster and I don't know about asbestos in drywall. I think there is some chance you have asbestos.

I thought it was very expensive to have material tested for asbestos. I heard recently that some folks had their ceiling tested for either $25.00 or $50.00, I forget. Seems like you could spend the money to get your stuff tested then you would know how much you needed to spend to protect yourself or it you should hire certified approved or whatever one has to be to do it right. Either way protect yourself from the dust and contain the area.

In addition to asbestos, you have lead to worry about in a house this age.
Old 07-21-13, 03:04 PM
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It's pretty unlikely that your plaster walls contain any asbestos. The most common "plaster" product from that era was an acoustical ceiling texture that sometimes had gold flecks in it. See this resource for a list or products and dates.
Old 07-21-13, 04:35 PM
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Great link Xsleeper. Looks like I'm on the cutting edge time wise..... Thanks.

tightcoat. Thanks. Yes, 3/8" plaster over 3/8" drywall. yes, testing would be a good idea if I could trust whoever is testing. Just found this to maybe work off:
Asbestos Fiber Analysis (PLM Test Method)

Thanks PJ. I don't allow spackle in my house

Considering I've already torn out a ceiling and removed half a wall, I'm not sure if it all matters at this point.
Old 07-22-13, 04:08 AM
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I agree that it is unlikely that you have asbestos, even with the popcorn texture back then it was 50/50 chance in residential construction. Once you understand asbestos and take the necessary precautions - it isn't that big of a deal. The big danger with asbestos is when it's in a dry powder breathable state. I sprayed [without a respirator] a good bit of asbestos back when your house was built and often had a half inch of it built up on my skin before the day was over - my lungs are still healthy today

Testing is best but the main thing is if you contain the debris and use a respirator, you should be fine. If you can keep the asbestos moist you almost eliminate any danger from it.
Old 07-23-13, 09:40 PM
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I have to deal with working around asbestos constantly at work. Guidelines are as follows:

No wallboard has ever been found to be hot.
Spackle, texture, and joint compound have all been found hot, though not all is hot.
Spray-on ceiling or roof-joist texture is assumed hot.
Older, smaller adhesive-mounted ceiling tiles are usually hot.
Newer, larger adhesive-mounted ceiling tiles are usually not themselves hot.
Smaller, older stick-down floor tiles are usually hot.
Larger, newer stick-down floor tiles are not themselves hot.
MASTIC that adheres the ceiling and floor tiles is almost always hot, even to this day.

There's asbestos in every single site, even sites built a couple years ago, because of the mastic. We can look up previous tests, and if the walls outside of the joint compound are not hot, then we can cut all the holes we want so long as we avoid the wallboard joints. We are also cautious working above drop-ceilings because that was a common retrofit to isolate the asbestos environment from the people in the rooms.
Old 07-24-13, 12:31 AM
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When I was working for a living I also had to deal with asbestos on a regular basis. The overriding criteria was that if you thought it MIGHT contain asbestos then it DID contain asbestos until proven otherwise.
Old 07-26-13, 10:35 AM
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I'm interesting in asbestos too... my house was built in 1943, an old brick house, in Salt Lake City, Utah. I want to enlarge a closet door which means tearing out some of an internal wall. I have much checking to do, but asbestos was one of my concerns, so thanks for the information.

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