CommunityAsbestos Ceiling Tile Risk: Older Building Materials May Contain Asbestos

Asbestos Ceiling Tile Risk: Older Building Materials May Contain Asbestos

 I found your column online while searching for information on the risk posed by asbestos ceiling tiles. My house was constructed in 1986 and I have a finished family room/play room in the basement. I don’t know when this room was constructed or if it’s original to the house, but I assume it was constructed close to the year the home was built.

We just had the suspended ceiling tiles changed out by a contractor, and I asked him to not break up the tiles he was removing in order to limit the dust exposure. However, I came back home to find that he had indeed broken up the tiles. 

My father is now suggesting that the tiles may have contained asbestos, and of course I’m now concerned about the contamination of asbestos in the home. Was asbestos common in ceiling tiles and other building materials of this era?

The Money Pit Answer
Asbestos was once common in all sorts of building materials including ceiling tiles, floor tiles, heating pipe insulation, roofing and even spackle. Fortunately for you, most of this stopped in the 1970s and homes built after 1981 have very little risk of containing any asbestos. If you are still concerned about the possibility of exposure to asbestos ceiling tiles during your recent basement project, a sample of the old ceiling tile can be sent to a lab for analysis.