From the late 1800s to 1980s asbestos was used in a huge range of different building, interior design, and construction products. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the potential dangers of asbestos fibres was realized and the substance was banned.
Therefore, many homes in the USA that were built between these periods still have asbestos products. It’s important to check for the presence of asbestos and remove it if you feel it poses a real health hazard. One type of product that is often overlooked is asbestos glue or adhesives. We take a look at what these items were, what they look like, and what to do with them below.
What is Asbestos Glue?
Asbestos was seen as a miracle substance before we knew about the health hazards. Therefore, before the 1970s it was added to virtually every type of construction product. One of the main things it was added to was adhesive or glue. This included bonding, mastics, glue, and heavy-duty adhesives.
It was added to these adhesives because it is incredibly strong and able to withstand high temperatures. Therefore, when added to glue, the substance would last much longer, and be less likely to melt from extreme heat. Asbestos glue was commonly used for bonding the following items:
• Wood floors
• Vinyl tiles
• Wall panels
• Interior fixtures
• Ceilings Roofs
• Air Ducts
Many of these items themselves may have contained asbestos too which doubles the problem! For example, there was asbestos floor tiles and asbestos popcorn ceilings. Aside from fitted interior design panels, asbestos glue was widely used to secure pipes, boilers, and insulation to these items.
What Does Asbestos Glue Look Like?
Many items containing asbestos are incredibly difficult to identify. For example, there were hundreds of different styles of asbestos floor tiles. However, asbestos glue is much easier to identify. There are three key things to look for including:
• Thick black substance
• Applied surfaces have discoloration
• They may also have an oily texture
Firstly, the substance was typically thick and black which is radically different from most modern adhesives. Secondly, the surfaces the adhesive was applied to like floor tiles will usually have some dark discolouration. This is from the asbestos glue seeping through. Thirdly, the surfaces may also have an oily texture.
The difficult part is actually removing items to see if they have been joined using asbestos glue. For example, if you suspect asbestos glue was used in your wall panels, there is no true way of knowing without removing one of them and checking the back! This is why it is important to know how to deal with asbestos products as we discuss below.
When Did They Stop Using Asbestos in Glue?
Today asbestos is banned. We know it is dangerous and we know the potential health hazards like lung cancer and asbestosis. However, it took until 1978 for it to be properly banned in the USA.
That doesn’t mean that if your house was built after 1978 that it won’t have any asbestos glue either. Once the substance was banned, manufacturers and suppliers were still allowed to sell their existing stocks – just not produce anymore.
As a result, there was a delayed period until the mid-1980s where houses were still constructed using asbestos products. Therefore, you can only really rule out the presence of asbestos in your home if it was built after 1990.
How to Deal With Asbestos Glue?
If your property was constructed before 1990, it may contain asbestos glue! As a result, you need to know how to deal with it. Below, we look at three steps involved that you could do to make sure you deal with asbestos glue properly.
Use a home testing kit to confirm the presence of asbestos
Before you take any action, you must confirm if it is indeed asbestos glue or something else. Don’t worry – this is something you can do without professional assistance. We have asbestos testing kits that can be delivered to your home.
They are easy to use and anyone can work them. Included you get PPE equipment including a FFP3 mask, and all the relevant testing items such as sample bags & return packaging to send the sample off to the lab. The kit includes details of how to take a sample and You can typically expect to get results back within 72-hours on receipt of the sample at the laboratory.
Once you have confirmation, you can then decide what steps to take next.
Monitor the surfaces and check for damage
If you do find asbestos glue, it doesn’t have to be remove. It is probably the safest thing to do, but you can live safely with asbestos in your house.
The key is monitoring and to check regularly on the condition of the items containing asbestos glue. Asbestos is safe until the fibres are disturbed and released into the air. These are what get stuck in your lung and cause damage.
Therefore, if you have something like asbestos glue underneath your vinyl kitchen tiles it is only a problem if the tiles are loose, cracked, or chipped, and the adhesive is exposed. As a result, you can keep the materials providing they are well maintained and there is no danger of the asbestos glue getting airborne.
If you do notice any damage or exposed glue, we advise cordoning off the room and not allowing entry until professionals have assessed it.
Seek professional help to get the products removed
If you feel that the asbestos glue poses a serious health risk, it is best to have the items removed. However, do not try to do this yourself. Any type of asbestos removal should always be carried out by qualified professionals.
There is simply too much at risk if you try and do it yourself. You will not have the correct PPE or waste packaging, and you will not know how to seal the offending room off properly to avoid contaminating the rest of your house. Don’t take the risk – seek professional assistance instead.
We hope you have found this guide on asbestos glue useful. If your home was built before 1990, it is vital that you check for asbestos for peace of mind, and to improve your home safety. Hopefully, you will not find anything. However, if you do find surfaces with asbestos glue, we advise seeking professional help for an assessment and removal if necessary.