Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber processed into thousands of building materials before 1980, including "cottage cheese" type and acoustic tile ceilings, furnace and duct insulation, drywall taping and joint compound, textured paints and plasters, and linoleum and vinyl flooring. It was banned from use in most building materials in the 1970s after the EPA proved that inhaling asbestos fibers caused or increased the risk of developing incurable lung diseases, including lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Asbestos siding, also known as cement asbestos siding or slate siding, isn't manufactured anymore and is only found on older homes. Though it's just finely ground asbestos particles mixed with cement, since it's mixed with the cement, it can't be breathed so isn't usually a health threat.
Q: We have bumpy ceilings in all rooms of our home. They really need to be painted. When I tried painting the bathroom, the bumpy stuff started to come off. So we scraped it off and wallpapered the ceiling. However, it would be impossible to do the whole house. What is the proper way to paint them or clean them?
Texture-sprayed ceilings with the appearance of "popcorn" or "cottage cheese" are difficult to clean. Cobwebs and dust around vents can be removed by holding the wand of a vacuum about an inch from the surface of the ceiling. However, more forceful action such as sweeping can remove the loose popcorn-like texture. If an acoustic ceiling is discolored from age, however, there is really no way to "clean" it.
Q: I have a 30-year-old home. I want to put down a hardwood floor. The problem is that I think the old vinyl tiles, which are cracking and sit on a concrete slab, have asbestos.
Can I cover them or do I need to remove them to successfully install a hardwood floor? Can I place stone flooring on top of these tiles. What is the best, yet least expensive route as I must do this job myself?
Q: I have what they call cool deck around my pool and it has lifted in certain spots. There is about a ten square foot area that has to be replaced. Can it be replaced or does the whole pool area have to be redone? How much will it cost and who do you recommend to do the job?
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