Removing Cement Asbestos Sheeting
LESLIE: Bill in Ohio listens to The Money Pit on the Discovery Radio Network. And you have a suspicion that you might have asbestos in your home. How do you know?
BILL: I know for a fact it’s asbestos. It says it right on it. It’s asbestos sheeting. It’s located in a furnace room.
TOM: OK, so it’s a … it’s a solid asbestos material?
BILL: Right. It looks a lot like a crete board (ph) would.
TOM: That’s cement asbestos.
LESLIE: And that should be OK because the asbestos is contained within the cement, correct?
TOM: Yeah, that’s correct. As long as you don’t disturb it. But that’s a relatively benign form of it. It’s when it’s on the … like a loose wrap that’s around the ducts or around the heating pipes that we get more concerned. But when it’s an asbestos tile product, which it sounds like what that is, then there’s not as much of an issue. That stuff is so durable, they use to use it as roof shingles and it would really never wear out. It would just … you know, it would look bad from exposure to the weather but it really is quite durable. That material is held inside of a binder, like Leslie said, so exposure is not an issue.
BILL: OK. What about removal? Is that something I can do myself?
TOM: If you remove it very, very carefully and if you use a proper respirator. What you want to try to avoid doing is breaking it up. If it’s …
LESLIE: Yeah, but if it starts to crumble, I say call in a pro.
TOM: If it’s nailed … if it’s a … if it’s a tile sheet and it’s nailed, I’ll give you a trick of the trade. Don’t try to get a pry bar under it and lift it out. Take a nail set and drive the nails all the way through the asbestos sheeting …
TOM: … because that sort of pierces it. It punctures it and then the tiles will loosen up and pull off. That’s also a good way to …
LESLIE: And you’re not disturbing the tiles too much so you’re not causing that much of a … an exposure.
TOM: Exactly. That’s also a good way to replace asbestos shingles if you ever have to do that. You punch the nail through; you don’t try to pry it out.