Entering the real estate market? Buying or selling a home built before 1990? Here are some facts you should know – and your realtor may not.
You should be aware that homes that were built or renovated before 1991 will most likely contain asbestos. Asbestos was a popular building material used from the ‘50s up to the ‘90s. It was used extensively as it has good fire protection properties, is an insulator, has tensile strength and is resistant to chemical erosion.
It is quite common to find it in sheet vinyl flooring, composite tile flooring, flooring mastics (the glue), ceiling texture (popcorn ceilings), plaster and drywall compound (mud) as well as other building products. Undisturbed, these types of asbestos-containing materials will not present a risk if they are in good condition.
Asbestos cannot be seen and testing is recommended in houses built before 1991. Purchasers need permission from sellers to have testing conducted.
If you are selling and your home is in good condition, you will probably not be asked to bear the burden of asbestos abatement costs as any home built before 1991 will likely contain it.
On the other hand, if you home is in disrepair, during negotiations you may be asked to take on some responsibility. The risk of asbestos inhalation will occur during the process of renovation or demolition. The cost for professional asbestos abatement is not inexpensive.
Purchasers need to keep in mind that if they have plans to remove a wall or install pot lights, there may be asbestos in the building materials and they would need to hire a professional abatement contractor before conducting these renovations.
In saying all this, it’s important to understand that asbestos-containing vermiculite insulation is of a different category and presents a high risk. This is due to the fact that it is overhead and the fibres are already loose. If the home you are buying or selling contains vermiculite insulation it will and should come into play during the sale process. Vermiculite insulation is considered an environmental hazard and is in the same category as an oil tank in the ground.
Be educated and don’t be surprised like many new homeowners who call us are.
Investigate, Remediate…then Renovate