Asbestos is a type of fiber that was often used in construction projects to serve as insulation. But asbestos has more recently entered public knowledge thanks to the potential health risks of inhaling the fibers, which include a host of respiratory problems and lung cancer. If you recently bought a home, you likely heard recommendations that in-tact asbestos isn't a risk and it can prove more dangerous to try and remove it.
While that's true, it also assumes you never want to attempt any home improvement projects in your home. Here are a few projects that will be dangerous unless you undergo asbestos inspections and removal from a reputable company (such as Argus Pacific Inc).
Replacing Old Vinyl Flooring
Asbestos can appear in the actual composition materials of old vinyl floor tiles and/or in the backing material used to affix the tile to the sub-floor. Considering that asbestos was used up into the 1970s, there's a good chance that the vinyl flooring is now both dangerous and unattractive.
Removing the flooring on your own is a no-go because you'll release a wave of asbestos fibers into the air. Building a new floor over the ugly old vinyl also isn't a solution. That new floor has to be affixed to the old in some way and those perforations also risk sending smaller amounts of asbestos into the air.
So you need to either decorate around the mustard yellow flowers from the 1970s or hire a professional.
Removing Old Textured Paint
If your home was a fixer-upper, you might have some walls or ceilings that haven't been painted in four decades or more. And if it's a textured paint, there's a chance those walls contain asbestos. So you can't simply scrape away the problem without posing a health risk.
There's not much you can do to cover over the old textured paint without having asbestos removal. Another layer of paint risks flaking that can release asbestos fibers. Affixing wallpaper might be a safer route but isn't going to look so hot over a bumpy wall texture. Plus, even wallpaper poses a risk of disturbing the integrity of the asbestos in the paint.
Replacing Old Pipes
Asbestos was also used to insulate hot water pipes in older homes. Normally, if a section of hot water pipe begins leaking or becomes horribly clogged, you could simply remove that section, clean out the problem and replace where necessary.
Adding asbestos to the mix means that it's a risk to take apart the pipe at all. And water leaking out through that asbestos coating can also pose its own health risk.