Guess Who’s Having the asBESTos Week Ever

As a regular reader of this blog might already know, our house was built sometime in the 1950’s and had additions built in the following few decades. This would put us at risk for asbestos being in the house. When we bought the house, we had the attic insulation tested but nothing else. The test came back negative, but we were still curious about the rest of the house. In all of our renovations we haven’t come back with anything that would lead us to believe there was asbestos. Except for our ceiling tiles.

12 x 12 Acoustical Ceiling Tile

The ceilings in the main story of our house are all covered with 12 x 12 acoustical tiles. As we’ve redone each of the rooms, we’ve painted the ceiling tiles and even painted in the gaps between the tiles. This solved one problem, but now we’ve decided to replace our existing ceiling lights and fans. Before anyone goes and starts messing around up there I figured we should probably get the fibrous portion of the tiles checked out.

12 x 12 Ceiling Tile Fan Opening Detail

You can see in the photo where I took out a small chunk of the tile. Before cutting I consulted an environmental company that does asbestos testing, and they suggested wetting the portion of the tile I was going to cut and taking a quarter sized sample. Although I minimized the amount of dust released by wetting the tile, I still wore a mask and gloves. Despite my best efforts using a drywall blade, the cut was not perfect, so its a good thing I had prepped for disaster.

Cellulose Percentage

For the lab test, we used a local company called Environmental Tactics. They had a pretty quick turn around time and the cost was reasonable. ($25 per sample) We had the results of the test back within a few days.

The test came back negative. A huge sigh of relief for us, considering an asbestos problem could stop us from doing any work that involves the ceiling or electrical, or worse, a costly abatement procedure.

Asbestos: None Detected

We had 2 samples tested, one from the office and one from the bedroom. The living room is the same as the office, and the dining room is a much newer ceiling tile. So new, in fact, that they still sell it at Lowes.

To me, this feels like we’ve avoided another potential disaster associated with owning our first home. That’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but its good to know we can now proceed with the next project.