Safety

Dealing with Asbestos During Home Renovations

Have you ever wondered what to do if you encounter asbestos in your home?

More and more people have been tackling home renovation projects during the pandemic and we would like to share what you need to do if you find asbestos. Our latest segment with CTV Vancouver details how to keep homeowners and workers safe during this complex procedure.

Do homeowners need to take an asbestos test before starting home renovations?

For starters, if you think you might have asbestos in your home, don’t worry.  As long as it has not been disturbed, it can remain in place and you can be safe. What is key is that workers know what they are cutting into before they start the project. This requires homes that are older than 1990 to be assessed for asbestos prior to any work that involves cutting into the asbestos. This is because asbestos is a very fine particle. When it is inhaled, the particles get trapped in your lungs and over time can cause serious medical conditions. It is important for workers who are exposed to this compound every day that they know what they are cutting into and if it contains asbestos, are protected and maintain safety. 

Can a homeowner remove the asbestos on their own prior to a Window Company arriving to save costs?

The regulations do permit a homeowner to complete their own removal. With that being said, it is very important that they do the necessary research into this as there are very strict disposal protocols that ensure workers downstream are not exposed.  You simply can’t put this material in your garbage can or drop it off at a regular transfer station. 

When asbestos particles become airborne, they will float in the air for an extended period of time and your average home vacuum cleaner is not capable of filtering out these particles.  If a homeowner removed the asbestos themselves, we would perform an air sample test prior to the window replacement to determine if it is safe to enter the home.  In most cases, we will find the air contaminated. This is the case if the cleanup and disposal are not completed by a qualified person using qualified equipment such as a specifically rated asbestos removal vacuum. Having an inexperienced crew deal with the material can leave remnants of the product scattered around the area, only to be disturbed for years.

Why is it important to wear the gear during asbestos removal?

Keeping workers and homeowners safe during a window replacement such as this is critical. Prior to the window removal, the interior was sealed off so when the drywall with asbestos is cut, the interior of the home is isolated and safe. The workers on the other hand are exposed so it is integral that they are wearing appropriate gear. The Hazmat suit is air-tight and with the use of special respirators rated for asbestos, they will not breathe in the fibres. 

The workers will wet down the area prior to cutting to reduce air-borne fibres and vacuum up the particles with the asbestos-rated vacuum. 

What's the #1 thing you can recommend for Homeowners when they found out they have asbestos?

Don’t panic.

Is the company going to send subcontractors to your home? This makes you the prime contractor unless otherwise stated in writing. You as an owner are now responsible for the subcontractor’s safety, as well as any contamination that may travel to neighbours or the public. We never use subcontractors. Centra’s Employee Owned approach ensures that our trained installers take the time required to achieve the highest standards. Work with renovation companies that have invested in training for its people. The installers need to understand and manage the potential risks. An experienced company will keep both the homeowner safe as well as the employees doing the work. 

Exposure to asbestos can cause serious long-term health issues and potentially death. You should only contact a trained professional to deal with asbestos testing and proper removal. Centra has been dealing with asbestos removal since it was brought to the industry’s attention over a decade ago. We are BC's safest Window Company

We are your certified Window Geeks

Centra Windows is not only the manufacturer but also the installer of its product, which enables us to offer a full warranty, eliminating any confusion between product performance and installation. We view the house as a system and understand how each of the elements must work correctly to maximize the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. Contact our local Employee Owners at 1-888-534-3333 or send us an email at info@centra.ca for more information about this topic and many more. You can also sign up for our biweekly newsletter for all the tips and tricks about the window industry.

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