Asbestos and Older Homes

Due to the fire and corrosion resistance of the naturally occurring mineral, Asbestos was used in a wide range of home products until the 1970s. Undisturbed, asbestos poses no threat. However, the minute the owner of an older home decides to drill in to drywall, remove floor tiles, remove their popcorn ceiling or complete various other DIY projects they are putting themselves and their families at risk of exposure. Asbestos was widely used in products until the late 1970s. A few very common products used are Zonolite’s vermiculite insulation in homes from 1950 to 1970, pipe insulation used for hot water and steam pipes in homes prior to 1980, vinyl tiles and linoleum sheet flooring, and cement roof and siding shingles.

The EPA recommends not removing asbestos, and when undisturbed it poses no threat. But older homes require remodeling and upgrading. If you are remodeling a home built prior to 1980, or if your neighbor is demolishing their home make sure the house is tested for asbestos. Most states require some type of certification and specialized training in asbestos to be an accredited asbestos contractor.

A great resource on this subject is They’ve created a guide informing homeowners about safety dos and don’ts when it comes to asbestos. The guide also provides health advice for people who may have been exposed and where it could be lurking in your older home. On the main Home Building Resources page under the file download section you can find a helpful guide to potential sources of asbestos in your home.