Do Home Inspectors Check for Asbestos

Do Home Inspectors Check for Asbestos? (Yes or No)

Home inspectors are the officials charged with the responsibility of inspecting and diligently checking the property. They check various parts of the building to ensure compliance with standards. So, do home inspectors check for asbestos?

No, home inspectors do not check for asbestos because checking for asbestos involves taking a sample of the building by cutting into the floors, walls, roofs, etc. But, they can take note of places that might contain asbestos in the house and report to the homeowner to decide whether to have those areas tested further.

Before a home is acquired by new owners, a lot of reports on an inspection done on the house have to be provided. This is done to ensure the safety of lives in the building. No one wants to live in a building where safety is not guaranteed.

Do Home Inspectors Check for Asbestos?

An asbestos test is usually undertaken to confirm or to check if asbestos materials were employed in the construction of the building.

As you probably know, asbestos is a fire-preventive item and also an insulator. Thus, it was a valuable material to be used for the construction of buildings in the previous century.

It is noteworthy that asbestos was seen to be of good purpose for buildings until it was discovered to be a source of cancers to humans. This health challenge opened the eyes of people to see that asbestos does more harm than good in society.

Checking for asbestos is not as simple and straightforward as it seems. It involves taking a sample of the building – cutting into the floors, walls, roofs, and other parts of the building. 

Home inspectors cannot do this – cutting holes in your buildings to obtain samples to check for the presence of asbestos.

So simply put, no. Home inspectors do not check for asbestos. They only take note of places that might contain asbestos in the house and report to the client.

Which Areas Do Home Inspectors Check?

It is important to let your home inspector do the checks properly and in detail before you buy the house. It is literally your last opportunity to find out issues about the house before you buy it. The seller of the house can then make corrections to the issues and negotiation continues.

As a seller or buyer of a house, it is useful to know what areas the home inspector will check. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), some areas of a house have been outlined for checks by home inspectors:

  • The roof
  • The foundation
  • The ceilings
  • The walls
  • The windows
  • The doors
  • The attic
  • The floors
  • The drainage
  • The ventilation system
  • The air conditioning system
  • The basement
  • The heating system
  • The plumbing and electrical system
  • The structural components of the house
  • Natural vegetation

Do not be worried or scared, the home inspector will not rip your house apart just to inspect it. The more detailed the inspection is, the more knowledge of the house will be revealed.

When Is it Necessary for Home Inspectors to Check for Asbestos?

If you want to buy a building that was constructed before 1980, it is important to carry out a check for asbestos. The reason is this, asbestos was a common building item in those days. Why?

Asbestos does not catch fire. It is resistant to burning and so it was a useful material in building items such as popcorn ceilings, pipes, insulation, floor tiles, electrical panels, roof shingles, and many more.

Already stated, home inspectors will not check for asbestos during normal home checks. But they will inform you about the age of the building and if they came across materials that contain asbestos.

So, it is necessary to carry out a check for asbestos in a house if it was constructed more than 42 years ago.

Pros of Checking for Asbestos

It is so important to check for asbestos in the home you want to purchase before moving in. I will list some pros of checking for asbestos below:

  • Prevents chronic diseases
  • Secures your investment

Asbestos leads to chronic diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. These are some of the reasons it was banned.

Apart from these diseases, asbestos can also lead to asbestosis in human beings. The effects are quite painful and harmful such as difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, and many more.

You do not want to contract these diseases and so it is important to check for asbestos in a home before moving in.

Secondly, checking for asbestos is important so that you do not lose your investment cheaply. Every building is an investment because money is put into it.

Protect your investment by ensuring that a check for asbestos is done before you start working on the home. However, if you can call home inspectors to inspect your house, then, who do you call for carbon monoxide inspection in the house.

Should I have my House Checked for Asbestos?

Oh yes, if you discover that your home was constructed over 42 years ago, it is of utmost importance for you to do an asbestos check in the house.

You see, buildings that were constructed post-1980 employed other forms of insulation BUT buildings constructed pre-1980 might contain some asbestos in products used in the house.

A few materials made with asbestos are itemized subsequently:

1. Plumbing Pipes

Water pipes in many homes were compressed into insulators that contained asbestos. Any breaks, cracks, linings in the pipes will lead to a gradual spread of asbestos in your house.

2. Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling tiles that contain asbestos were common in basements in the United States because it was not difficult to install and the tiles had soundproof qualities.

3. Wallpaper

Wallpapers made in older years, although vintage and attractive, should be checked for asbestos because adhesives and papers used to create these wallpapers might have contained asbestos.

4. Insulation in Homes

Probably known to you already, insulation in homes is prone to flaking and were the most common insulation material. Spaces between walls and ceilings are filled up with insulation to hold heat in the home.

If you own a house built before 1980, most material in the house might have been made with asbestos. It is better to check for this toxic material than to leave your health to chance.

Do Home Inspectors Check for Asbestos in Canada?

In Canada, home inspectors check for asbestos to verify the durability and safety of the building. The areas previously listed above are also checked by home inspectors in Canada.

How do Inspectors Test for Asbestos?

Asbestos checks are usually made by taking many random samples of the walls, doors, and other parts of the house. It is done by cutting into those parts to retrieve samples for testing.

Asbestos inspections are carried out to reveal to the buyer the condition of materials used in the house that might not be obvious. A visual inspection of the house is carried out by the home inspector firstly.

Materials are checked to be sure they are in good condition. A material used in building a home should not release fiber or be harmful to occupants of the house. So materials that show signs of wear and tear in them are often checked for asbestos to be sure.

Final Thoughts

Asbestos is a harmful material in building materials; it causes long-term illnesses in people such as cancer. Buildings constructed in the early years were built using materials containing asbestos. It is helpful to require the services of a home inspector so proper checks for asbestos can be done.