When you're buying a new home, inspections are vital. Not only do inspections give you a general idea as to the condition of the home and warn you of upcoming repairs that need to be done, they can tell you if there are dangerous conditions, such as the presence of asbestos, that can cost you a ton of money to fix. To rule out asbestos, you will want to have a professional asbestos inspection performed since asbestos can be found in virtually any type of building material. However, you can keep your eyes open for asbestos and get an inkling of whether or not it's going to be a problem before you ever call an inspector. Following are a few things to look for.
Age of Home
Newer homes, those built in 1980 or later, typically don't have asbestos in them. Historic homes weren't built with materials containing asbestos either. However, repairs and upgrades that were done during the period of heavy asbestos use may have introduced asbestos into an older home. If the house was built anywhere from 1940 to 1970, you should be very worried about asbestos. These were the years that the material was used extensively in construction.
Presence of Old Materials
As mentioned, asbestos was used in a lot of building materials that were manufactured up to the year 1970. When inspecting a house, be sure to look out for old materials. If a house has been updated extensively, the asbestos has likely been addressed. However, if you see old insulation on pipes, square floor tiles, old sheet rock, or old heating duct work, you may have an issue with asbestos.
Presence of Labels
There are laws that require builders to label any products that have asbestos in them. While this law wasn't in effect for older projects, it is a requirement now. If a builder or inspector finds asbestos and decides it can remain in the home without posing a safety hazard, they must label it. Sellers must also disclose if there is asbestos in a home.
Keep in mind that only a professional inspection can rule out the presence of asbestos. If you are afraid that a house has asbestos in it, be sure to pay for the inspection. The inspector will know exactly what to look for and which tests to perform to find asbestos. They will also be able to tell you if the asbestos needs to be removed or if it is safe to keep it in the home. Work with a realty professional to learn more about the kinds of inspections a home may need before purchasing.