Home >> Why have it inspected? >> Asbestos – Inspection and detection
Asbestos fibers are flexible, durable and resistant to high temperatures. They can be used as insulation to reduce heat or noise. The built or renovated buildings between 1930 and 1990 may contain asbestos .

Asbestos is the generic name given to a host of fibrous minerals found naturally in rock formations. The two main types are white asbestos (or chrysotile ) and blue asbestos (or crocidolite ).

Quebec, particularly the Appalachian region, has long been the largest exporter of asbestos fibers in the world, starting in 1877. The danger of inhalation was then known but it took almost a century for its use to be banned in a majority of industrialized countries .

Asbestos can only be officially identified under a microscope in a specialized laboratory . Your home inspector may recommend that you have a sample taken by an expert in this field who will send it to a laboratory for analysis.

The dangers of asbestos fiber

There is no more question on this; the ‘ asbestos e st dangerous for your health if you inhale the fibers that are found in the air. Ri sk of developing a disease chronic increases in connection with the inhaled amount and degree of exposure. In addition to workers in asbestos mines, it is especially during repairs or renovations that workers and owners are most exposed to contaminants. When inhaled in large quantities, asbestos fibers can cause:
  • The e lung cancer 
  • Asbestosis ,  or asbestosis,  a chronic lung disease that strikes asbestos workers
  • Mesothelioma,  a fatal form of cancer  that affects the lining of the lungs

The influence on the value of a property

In recent decades, awareness of the dangers of asbestos has prompted the real estate market to adapt. In a 2017 Radio-Canada article , a real estate broker explains that:

“… If until recently some people knowingly bought a house contaminated with asbestos, this is less and less the case.

Homeowners of homes built in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s say they have difficulty selling their asbestos-contaminated home. Some bought it a few years ago and knew it was contaminated.

Others were aware that it could contain some, but did not have any testing done before closing the deal. They never thought they would have to decontaminate their house before selling it. ”

We can therefore see that awareness of the risks of contamination dictate new realities in real estate. If you are considering buying a building, it is important to appeal to a building inspection expert to determine if asbestos was used in materi to construction. An inspector can also help you when you want to know if the materials in your home contain it .

How to protect yourself from asbestos?

You have, with the help of a qualified home inspector, determined that a small amount of asbestos is found in the building materials of your home. By protecting yourself diligently, it is possible to carry out small renovations or repairs yourself. We are talking here, for example, of repairing a damaged corner of a wall, drilling holes to attach a shelf to the wall or even cutting an opening to install a central vacuum outlet.
Here are a few points the way forward as recommended by the CAA Quebec.
  • You must seal off the work area and keep all other people or animals away.  
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing. The mask is of paramount importance here. Look for one approved by the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for protection against asbestos.  
  • When possible and avoiding contact with electricity, wet materials to reduce dust escaping.  
  • Try to keep the materials in one piece, cutting them as little as possible.  
  • Keep the job site clean with a wet rag or  a vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA). Then seal the waste and the rag in a waterproof bag. Your municipality can tell you what to do to dispose of asbestos-contaminated waste.  
  • When the job is done, wash or throw away your clothes and take a shower.  
If asbestos contamination is established and you need to carry out major renovations, you must absolutely seek professional help. Whether it is to tear down a wall, remove coverings or insulation containing asbestos, the Quebec code governing the handling of contaminated materials is strict. Never attempt to remove these hazardous materials yourself. Instead, call on one of our expert building inspectors who can help you manage the situation effectively and safely.