Finding asbestos in a home is somewhat rare these days, as many parts of the world have outlawed its use in construction and other applications. However, older homes may have asbestos in the attic, behind walls, and elsewhere, and of course not every construction supplies manufacturer will automatically follow the law! If you've found asbestos in your home, or suspect it may be present, note a few important precautions about its handling and disposal, so you know you and your family will be safe.
It's not a DIY job
In some cases, the law may allow you to remove asbestos from your home yourself, but even so, don't assume this is a DIY job. For one thing, there are usually a number of restrictions on what type of asbestos and how much can be removed by a homeowner, and failure to comply with those restrictions can mean steep fines.
Also, you don't want to assume that you're adequately protected from exposure to this material just because you wear a heavy-duty breathing apparatus. Asbestos fibres can cling to your clothes, your skin, and even your hair, and you might then unknowingly spread these fibres to other areas of the home, or breathe them in after your removal work. You might also loosen other asbestos fibres in the area where you're working so that they become airborne and settle elsewhere in the home. To ensure you're protected, leave even the smallest job to a professional asbestos contractor.
Containment does need to be checked over the years
In some cases, it's actually safer to contain asbestos in your home than it is to remove it, as containment will avoid stirring up fibres and potentially allowing them to settle on other areas of your property. However, containment measures do need to be checked over the years for damage. For example, plastic sheeting may eventually begin to sag and pull away from its connectors, and an excessive amount of heat, humidity, and cold might make the material brittle, leading to tears and holes in the sheeting.
Also, construction work or other causes of excessive vibration can mean damage to drywall and other such containment methods, or allow sheeting to pull away from connectors. Even heavy vehicle traffic nearby can cause vibrations around your home that you may not notice yourself, but which can eventually shake loose that containment and make it unstable. Your contractor might note how often he or she should return to check the containment, or note its overall lifespan, so you know when to have it inspected or outright replaced.