Painting Over Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that has been used in construction for centuries. It was prized for its fire-resistant qualities, as well as its durability, making it a popular choice for insulation and other building materials.

However, when asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. Asbestos exposure has been linked to mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other serious medical complications.

In houses in the USA, there may still be traces of asbestos in things like popcorn ceilings, floor tiles, and sidings. This can be a potential health hazard as stated. However, in certain circumstances it is possible to simply cover the surfaces containing asbestos. This can effectively contain the fibres and ensure that they never escape.

One of the best methods is to safely paint over asbestos to ensure your home or premises is safe from this hazardous material. In this article, we will discuss painting over asbestos and the necessary precautions you should take to do so safely.

How to Paint Over Asbestos

If you're planning on painting over asbestos, there are a few things you need to do first in order to ensure a safe and successful job including:

• Asbestos must be properly encapsulated before painting can begin. This involves coating the asbestos with a sealant that will prevent paint from penetrating the surface and releasing asbestos fibers into the air.
• Once the asbestos is properly sealed, you can then proceed with painting as you would with any other surface. Be sure to use quality paint that is designed for covering asbestos.
• After the paint has dried, it's important to inspect the area for any cracks or gaps in the coverage. If any are found, they should be immediately sealed with another layer of sealant or caulking.

By following these simple steps, you can safely paint over asbestos without fear of exposure to harmful asbestos fibers. Before you start any work, however, it is vital that you wear the appropriate PPE.

Even if you are incredibly careful, there is still a chance that you could disturb the fibres and cause yourself harm. As a minimum we advise wearing a filtered mask and a protective cover all. If you buy one of our Asbestos Sampling Kits, you get all the necessary PPE included which could be used for a task like this too.

Tips for Painting Over Asbestos

While asbestos is no longer used in new construction, it may still be present in older homes and buildings. If you're planning on painting over asbestos, it's important to take the proper precautions to protect yourself and your family from exposure. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when painting over asbestos:

• Asbestos fibers can be released into the air when disturbed, so it's important to use a dust mask and eye protection when working with or around asbestos as mentioned above. Even when performing a simple task like painting, PPE is necessary.
• If you're not sure if a material contains asbestos, you can purchase one of our Asbestos Sampling kits. These useful kits can be used by anyone without any qualifications or training. You get all the necessary equipment to take samples including PPE, sample bags, and instructions. With your sample collected, we include a pre-paid envelope to send it off to our testing lab. They will then email you the results typically within 24 hours of receipt.
• Never sand or drill holes into materials that may contain asbestos. Doing so will release harmful fibers into the air. The best-case scenario is that the surfaces are left untouched to minimize the risk of any debris coming loose.
• Once you've finished painting, make sure the area is well-ventilated to allow any residual fumes to dissipate. If you are painting something outdoors like sidings, it could be responsible to cordon the area off if it is accessible by pets or people. As a minimum, you could place a sign stating “wet paint” or “hazardous substances” as a warning.

Our best tip is to seek professional advice if you are unsure of anything, or do not feel 100% confident in what you are doing. It is better to speak to experts in situations like this, where there is potential health hazards.

When Did They Stop Using Asbestos in Floor Tiles?

Asbestos was widely used in construction for many decades – particularly from the 1940s to the mid-1980s. Initially, the potentially dangerous side effects and hazards associated with asbestos fibres were unknown.

It was not until the late 1970s that the dangers were uncovered. Nowadays, we know that if inhaled, asbestos fibres can cause a range of breathing and lung issues including asbestosis and even lung cancer in extreme cases.

Therefore, the use of asbestos was outright banned in 1978. However, manufacturers and stockists were still allowed to sell their existing suppliesof asbestos – just not produce any more. As a result, there was some overlap between the banning of it, and when houses stopped being constructed with materials containing it.

Is it Safe to Paint Over Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral that was once widely used in a variety of construction materials because of its durability and fire resistance. However, we now know that asbestos exposure can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer.

So, is it safe to paint over asbestos? The short answer is no. Even if you paint over asbestos, the fibers can still be released into the air and inhaled. This can lead to health problems down the road. If you paint it in the correct method and use a sealant layer and protective paint, you CAN greatly reduce the risk of exposing the asbestos fibres. However, that is never guaranteed.

If you have asbestos in your home, the best thing to do is to have it removed by a professional. Once it's gone, you can then safely paint without worry and there will never be any potential hazard again.

How do I Know if My Sidings and Ceilings Contain Asbestos?

If you're unsure whether your home contains asbestos, there are a few ways to check. First, take a look at the age of your home. If it was built before the 1990s, there's a good chance it contains asbestos.

You can also check for physical signs of asbestos, such as cracks or holes in the material, or a duller appearance than the surrounding area. Some paintable asbestos products do have tell-tale signs and colors and you can find out more about specific items on our dedicated pages:

Asbestos sidings
Asbestos popcorn ceilings

In most instances, it is impossible to tell with 100% certainty if a paintable surface like sidings contains asbestos without professional assistance or by using our Asbestos Sampling kits. Our kits offer the quickest and most cost-effective method and provided you follow the instructions and wear the PPE, there should be no health hazards.