Homeownership is one of the most exciting and costly investments in our lifetime. When purchasing a home, it is crucial to know as much about your investment as possible before making the decision. Most often, when getting ready to buy a home, we get excited at the prospect of owning our own home. We focus on the type of home, features available, number of bedrooms, etc. While these questions are valid and weigh heavily on the decision, the materials used during construction are equally important because they can affect its occupants’ health. Once you select a home that is right for you, the next step would be to hire a home inspector.
Home inspections include everything from the plumbing and electrical systems to the conditions of the roof, foundation, and much more. Home inspections can also include identifying hazardous building materials.
What types of hazardous building materials can there be?
Hazards come in many forms, some of which may surprise you. When referring to household hazards, we can be referring to many different issues like deteriorated building materials, lead paint, asbestos, and any other issue that can affect your health or well-being.
Why does the age of the home matter?
Through the years, we have used many types of building materials to build homes. One of the more common materials used was asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral found in mines all over the world. It is relatively cheap, readily available, and widely used. When asbestos gets added to building materials, it makes them fire-resistant, increased the strength, and made them more durable. Due to these reasons, many building materials contained asbestos. At the time, we were not aware of the damage it caused to our health when used in construction. In 1978, the government banned the use of asbestos because of its effects on our health. For more information on the use of asbestos in building materials, please visit EPA Actions to Protect the Public from Exposure to Asbestos.
How can asbestos affect my health if it is inside the building materials?
When crushed, cut, or scraped, asbestos release microscopic fibers into the air, making them airborne. These fibers are then inhaled and become lodged into the lungs. Overtime can cause severe health issues such as Lung Cancer, Asbestosis, and Mesothelioma.
How do I know if there are asbestos building materials inside my home?
Great question! Selecting a home comes with its challenges knowing what’s inside is even more challenging. For this reason, we highly recommend hiring a home inspector that is qualified to perform asbestos testing. When purchasing a home, choosing the right home inspector is just as important as the home. When it comes time to buy the home of your dreams, do your research. Research is one of the most necessary tools to use when making most decisions. Not all home inspectors are created equal. Some do superficial inspections looking for the more obvious issues. Some do more comprehensive assessments and will point out areas of concern, providing you with the knowledge necessary to make your decision that much easier. When choosing the right home inspector, we recommend reviewing HUD’s top ten questions to ask a home inspector.