Some old ceiling tiles will still contain Asbestos. What is Asbestos and is this a good thing? Asbestos was a material used in building materials in the 1930’s – 1950s. However, it was not banned from most use until 2003. This is a hazardous material if it gets airborne. The molecules in asbestos are like stand burs, and they will get into the lungs and “stick” which causes all kinds of lung and health issues. For that reason, you want to avoid removing another that has Asbestos in it without the proper safety equipment. This, of course, should only be done by a licensed professional. All people and pets should leave the area until the contractor tells you that everything is clear. There are regulations regarding the removal of products that contain asbestos. These regulations are in place as precautions to ensure everyone does this safely.
Some clues to if your ceiling tiles contain asbestos is the age of the tiles. Most tiles that are older such as the 30s -50s most likely had it in it. Asbestos was a great building material and used in all kinds of products before we knew of its hazards. For this reason, it was used literally in everything. It contained strong building properties and longevity to the material it was used in. It had great insulation properties as well.
You Cannot See Asbestos
Don’t let the appearance fool you. Asbestos can be found in materials that you wouldn’t think would ever contain it as well. Popcorn ceilings most of the time contain asbestos as that was a popular finish until the 1990’s when people decided that those types of ceiling no longer had a beautiful finish. It can be found in all kinds of things in the ceiling as well from pain, to the popcorn texture to even the tile ceilings. Anything that you are removing during a remodel should be tested for Asbestos. This is the only sure way of knowing if you have an Asbestos problem. There is no way with the naked eye to tell. As asbestos is a small molecular component.
Asbestos and your Health
As we have talked about before, asbestos is dangerous to your health. And, you should have your products tested. This testing is not expensive at all, but some builders want to get the work done and do not want to wait. This is not a good idea as Asbestos is truly dangerous and you should not be working it in unprotected. However, you could treat the area as if it contained it, without testing and be fine.
Many homeowners jump into projects without thinking of the consequences as well. They are just wanting to get the project started so it can be completed. This makes them jump into potentially risky situations.
Asbestos exposure usually doesn’t cause disease right away. This is something that happens over time. Remember, there is no going back. You only have one life and protecting yourself is important. Because the symptoms do not show up for years to come, it is hard for some to believe how serious it is to be exposed.
The most common disease that is caused by Asbestos is the shutting down of the respiratory system. It is not cancerous, but it is chronic and there is no cure. This is caused by scar tissue on the lungs and is the first step in developing mesothelioma. This can occur even with just a few breaths of asbestos. Eventually, this disease will cause a slow and painful death.
Mesothelioma and Asbestos
Mesothelioma is a lung cancer. It is a rare form of lung cancer and there is no cure for it currently. The cause of it is directly related to asbestos exposure. It is very aggressive and attacks the membrane that protects the vital organs in the chest and abdomen.
There are some manufacturers, however, for whatever reason did not ever use Asbestos in the making of their building materials. These are few and far between, but good to know when trying to determine if your suspended ceiling grid contains asbestos or not. If you can determine this, you can do the ceiling removal yourself safely with a respirator and protective clothing.
Armstrong ceiling tiles were one of these very companies. They never used asbestos in the manufacturing of their drop ceiling tiles, ever. This means that if you can identify that your ceiling tiles were made by Armstrong you can rest assured that there is not any asbestos in their tiles.
Commercial Building Ceilings
What is the best type of ceiling to use for Commercial Buildings? Most office buildings, schools, and commercial buildings use drop ceiling solutions like what you find from Armstrong. What are fibre tiles made from? We go into this question in more detail in another post. We also talk about “How to help insulate a room using soft ceiling tiles” as well. These are easy to install and easy to repair and replace should there be a leak down the road. They are great for noise reduction and brighten up the room.
How to install ceiling grid? The ceiling grid is the grid that holds the tiles up for a drop ceiling. This is a very common type of ceiling found in most commercial applications. This grid needs to be installed properly for the entire ceiling to work properly. This should be done by a professional as this is the most important part of the ceiling installation.
Asbestos and Commercial Ceilings
Asbestos was used in commercial ceiling tiles during those time frames but today you will not find any asbestos in any ceiling tiles. This is a material that is no longer in use in most products today. There are still about 1% of products that can continue to use it under strict regulations.
As we learned more and more about it, we discovered that it’s added benefits to the products did not outweigh the health risks. Asbestos is a carcinogen that needs to be properly handled. This is very important, and it should only be removed by licensed professionals. Even if the product only contains 1% asbestos, it is considered very dangerous. Call a professional and do not attempt on your own.