Tag Archives: asbestos


Although its manufacture was banned in the U.S. by the EPA in 1973, asbestos cement siding is still around, and inspectors are likely to encounter it on their inspections of exterior cladding.  While its hazards are limited if this material is undamaged, proper maintenance is key for avoiding structural issues related to water intrusion, as well as the health risks associated with damage to this type of building product. 


On this month’s podcast, Tim and Liz sit down with Dan Dunne with CAZ Environmental to address commonly posed questions regarding asbestos removal, including:

  • What is asbestos?
  • Can you detect asbestos without testing?
  • Is asbestos only pertinent to older homes?
  • Do popcorn textured ceilings typically have asbestos?
  • What are common home elements that may have asbestos? 
  • Are there materials that never contain asbestos?
  • How dangerous is asbestos? 
  • What advice do you have for home DIYers? 
  • How much does asbestos testing cost?


About CAZ Environmental

CAZ Environmental was founded in 2013 with a mission to protect the health and safety of its clients, employees, and public throughout Northwest Washington. The company works with 13 employees to sample and remove asbestos, lead, and mold in residential, commercial, and industrial settings that range from mobile homes to mansions. 

If there is one thing Dan Dunne recommends, it’s this: When in doubt, get it tested.

For more, subscribe to our newsletter at https://allislandsinspections.com/category/newsletters. If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).


While asbestos may sound scary when cited in a home inspection report, it doesn’t have to be.

During my inspections (including one I recently did in Oak Harbor), I encounter textured “popcorn” ceilings that may contain asbestos on a relatively routine basis. This scenario is particularly true for homes with popcorn ceilings installed before 1978 (and sometimes in the early 1980s). 

However, I have good news: this is typically not a concern, provided the ceilings are painted/sealed, and the product does not become airborne or “friable.” As I cite in my reports, if you intend to remodel and remove this ceiling texture, appropriate precautions and testing should be taken by a qualified contractor for safety reasons.  Testing for asbestos can only be done by a qualified laboratory and is beyond the scope of a home inspection. 

The Environmental Protection Agency web site also features additional information at

If you have questions or comments about interior issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).


Asbestos is an issue that often comes up when inspecting older homes, even homes that have been “completely renovated.”  Textured “popcorn” ceilings, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, vinyl flooring, roofing materials, insulation, and white tape wrap on pipes and furnace ducting commonly contain asbestos.  

In fact (news flash!), did you know that even modern homes could contain asbestos? Asbestos isn’t typically a health concern unless it becomes disturbed or starts falling apart. In the industry, the term “friable” is often employed, which means “easily crumbled.” 

If you suspect asbestos in your home—and it appears “friable” or could in any way become compromised—it could very well be a safety issue worth investigating for safety and liability reasons.  

If you’re planning to renovate a home- even a newer home- testing materials to be disturbed or removed for asbestos is advised by professionals.  Confirming asbestos requires laboratory analysis, which is not very expensive. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency website to learn more about asbestos in homes.

If you have questions or comments about asbestos issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).


Did you know that ceiling tiles installed prior to 1980 may have asbestos in them?  These tiles for ceiling structural purposes reached their height in popularity from 1950-1980.  If these tiles are “friable” (i.e. become disturbed or airborne), they can create an environment that is unsafe for breathing.  If your ceiling tiles are cracked, it is recommended that you get them tested for asbestos and, if present, paint or otherwise seal them as soon as possible.  

Older homes semi-commonly have asbestos ceiling tiles installed which can potentially be a health risk.  Asbestos is a natural yet dangerous mineral that, if disturbed and inhaled over long periods of time, can cause serious and/or deadly illnesses.  

This material for building purposes, including floors, ceilings and walls is now regulated by the OSHA and EPA.  If you have concerns about your ceiling (or other) tiles please check out this link for further information: How do I know if I have asbestos in my home (in floor tile, ceiling tile, shingles, siding, etc.)? | Asbestos | US EPA


Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we talk asbestos with Dan Dunne, Manager at CAZ Environmental in Bellingham.

Q1: In your experience how common is asbestos in our area? 

“Because of its unique properties of being fireproof, chemically resistant, waterproof, and durable, asbestos was deliberately mixed into thousands of different building materials.  We commonly see asbestos in popcorn ceiling, vinyl floors, drywall and drywall mud, roofing, fire blocking, mastics, attic insulation, siding, stucco, window caulking, heating ducts, and water pipes.”

Q2: Even though 1978 was the cutoff year for asbestos, do you recommend testing homes with “popcorn” textured ceilings constructed in the 1980s tested, too? 

“A common misconception is that asbestos is banned in the United States.  A wide variety of products are allowed to contain asbestos and be manufactured, imported, processed, or sold in the U.S., including cement corrugated sheet, cement flat sheet, clothing, pipeline wrap, roofing felt, vinyl floor tile, cement shingle, millboard, cement pipe, gaskets, and roof coatings. 

“Many manufacturers have stopped adding asbestos to their products, even if allowed, due to the clear link between asbestos and lung disease.  However, asbestos mines in Asbest (Russia) and Gansu Province (China), continue to produce more than a million metric tons of chrysotile per year.

“The continued use of asbestos is part of the reason why any building material that is disturbed or demolished is required to be tested for asbestos and, if positive, to be removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor.”

Q3: What is the typical cost for an asbestos test and how long does it take to get results? 

“Asbestos tests cost $500-$1500 per home, depending on the number of materials in the home that need to be sampled.  We also process samples that are dropped off at our office for $50 per sample.  Results are generally available the next business day.  Asbestos removal in a home can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000, depending on the type and amount of material being removed, and how easy it is to access.”

About CAZ Environmental

CAZ Environmental was founded in 2013 with a mission to protect the health and safety of its clients, employees, and public throughout Northwest Washington. The company works with 13 employees to sample and remove asbestos, lead, and mold in residential, commercial and industrial settings that range from mobile homes to mansions. 

If there is one thing Dan Dunne recommends, it’s this: When in doubt, get it tested.

“Whether you are a property owner, contractor, or handyman, the fines, lawsuits, and medical issues that result from improperly removing or disposing of asbestos can quickly ruin your day,” he said. A big “thanks” to Dan and CAZ Environmental for their responses!

Questions or comments about asbestos or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

Textured “popcorn” ceilings and asbestos

Textured “popcorn” ceilings, like that pictured here, could contain asbestos, especially in homes constructed prior to 1978.  Because some sheetrock and painting contractors kept stores of this material into the early 1980s, it’s possible that textured “popcorn” ceilings in the 1980s could contain asbestos as well.  Provided the material is in good condition and not delaminating from the ceiling, this isn’t a health concern because it’s not considered “friable,” e.g., you can’t breathe it.  But if you intend to remodel (or scrape) “popcorn” ceilings, or it they’re in poor condition, testing is advised.  Asbestos can only be confirmed by laboratory testing.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island.

Your vermiculite insulation could contain asbestos

If you have insulation in your attic that looks like this picture, it may be vermiculite insulation. This type of insulation could contain asbestos.  Testing for asbestos is outside the scope of the home inspection and requires laboratory sampling.  Here’s a link (click HERE) to the EPA brochure with more information about vermiculite insulation.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.