Common Asbestos-Containing Materials Found In Your Home

Asbestos was put into thousands of common building products. The most problematic are those that can easily be disturbed resulting in airborne asbestos fibers that can get into your lungs resulting in asbestosis, and lung cancers. The most common materials in you home that may contain asbestos are listed below:

  • Pipe & Boiler Insulations
  • Duct Insulation
  • Wall and Ceiling Plasters
  • Exterior Roofing & Siding
  • Floor Tiles, Sheet Flooring (Linoleum) & Their Glues or Mastics
  • Caulks & Sealants

There is only one definitive way to determine if a material contains asbestos and that is to have it analyzed under a special microscope. Therefore a sample must be collected and submitted to an analytical laboratory. When sampling these materials a small piece should be removed from the material of concern and submitted to the laboratory.


Pipe insulation that is asbestos-containing may be found on heating and water pipes in your basement, and inside your walls.  Typically different materials can be found on the pipe fittings, tees and elbows.

Old boilers in your home often contain an outer insulation jacket that may be asbestos-containing.

The paper backing to sheet floorings such as linoleum often are asbestos-containing.

These materials are not normally a hazard when in-tact but when removing them they can generate airborne fibers potentially contaminating your home.

Asbestos is found in various types of floor tiles and their mastics

The lining inside you air handling ducts could be asbestos-containing thus contaminating your homes air

Plaster walls and ceilings are typically a 2-coat system (a base or brown coat, with a smooth top or white finish coat). Each system, base or top coat, can be asbestos-containing.  Each layer must be analyzed separately.

Exterior siding commonly contained asbestos.

Sidings such as this asphalt faux brick siding can be asbestos-containing and hidden beneath vinyl or aluminum sidings.

Asbestos siding can be hidden beneath a newer covering such as aluminum or vinyl siding on your homes exterior

Asbestos Removal

The removal of asbestos-containing materials should be left up to a licensed asbestos removal contractor.

Asbestos Containment

Asbestos removal work areas can be elaborate in their configuration or they can be simple depending on the type and amount of material. This is an example of a contained area with plastic isolation barriers in place and a HEPA filtration unit installed to filter the air.

Asbestos Mastic Removal

Asbestos floor tile mastic is the glue that holds down floor tiles. When this material is removed fibers can become airborne causing a hazard. The mastic must be removed by physical scraping it up or using some sort of solvent. These abatements can become very messy and therefore caution must be taken not cause damage to other areas.  Solvents themselves can also cause other hazards so be cautious in allowing these products in your home.

Asbestos Abatement Strategies

There are four (4) asbestos abatement strategies that can be utilized to safely deal with asbestos-containing materials. The appropriate strategy is dependent upon various factors such as the current condition of the material, renovations or construction plans, and cost etc. Whichever method is chosen it should always be conducted by a licensed professional. The 4 abatement methods have been listed below:

  1. Repair
  2. Removal
  3. Enclosure
  4. Encapsulation

However only Removal permanently eliminates the hazard or potential hazard from your home.