Asbestos, The Magical And Potentially Deadly Material In Your Properties
Asbestos really is a magical product. And it is safe as long as its structure is not broken up. The problem comes when the fibers are broken and inhaled. Many older buildings used this durable construction material in both commercial and residential siding, flooring, celling tiles, popcorn ceilings, insulation and roofing products.
Archaeological studies have found evidence of asbestos being used as far back as the Stone Age to strengthen ceramic pots, but large-scale mining began at the end of the 19th century when manufacturers and builders began using asbestos for its desirable physical properties.
Asbestos was widely used during the 20th century until the 1970s, when public recognition of the health hazards of asbestos dust led to its prohibition in mainstream construction and fireproofing in most countries.
Asbestos cement is often found in tiling used as siding and roofing materials. Although invented at the end of the 19th century, the material rose to necessity during World War II to make sturdy, inexpensive military housing, and continued to be used widely following the war as an affordable external cladding for buildings. Advertised as a fireproof alternative to other roofing materials such as asphalt, asbestos-cement roofs were popular not only for safety but also for affordability. Due to asbestos-cement’s imitation of more expensive materials such as wood siding and shingles, brick, slate, and stone, the product was marketed as an affordable renovation material. Asbestos-cement faced competition with the aluminum alloy, available in large quantities after WWII, and the reemergence of wood clapboard and vinyl siding in the mid to late twentieth century.
If the commercial or residential property you are buying or selling was built during these timeframes, you should have the structure inspected for asbestos materials.