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11/15 - Renovation

What is Asbestos?

What is Asbestos? | Fox Marin Blog

Asbestos and the Resale of Older Homes

The Toronto real estate market has a lot of older homes that are bought and sold every day. For new home buyers or those purchasing fairly recent builds, asbestos is not the first thing to come to mind. You can purchase a new build with confidence, knowing that the design and build are up to code. The home has also likely been through an inspection by the proper authorities and given approval to live in.

However, when looking at the resale of older homes that haven’t had a refresh, you’ll need to think twice. You’ll want to know about the material of the build. Some materials in an older property that were once commonplace, are now considered to be dangerous or have risks. Not only do we not use such materials anymore, but for safe enjoyment of a property, they need to be removed.

One such material is asbestos.


What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a tough fibrous mineral found in homes and other applications for over 100 years. Because it’s inexpensive, good for sound absorption, and resistant to fire and heat, the material was versatile. It’s been used as a plaster to wrap rad pipes and ducts, vinyl floor tiles, insulation, and even some wall plasters.

When the fibres are not airborne but trapped in a material like a tile or a hunk of plaster, they are less dangerous because you can’t inhale it. But, when that material gets cut or broken or starts to fall apart, the loose microscopic airborne particles can be inhaled. This can potentially cause serious respiratory illness decades later, referred to as asbestosis.

Now the good news is, we are aware of the dangers. For the most part, asbestos is not in use across all applications in homes. However, the bad news is, those older homes you might be looking at may contain materials that still hold the dangerous asbestos fibres. Because of this, you may wish to make some changes to the house once you own it. This may involve moving, cutting, or removing something with asbestos in it that you don’t even know about. Yikes!


How do you spot asbestos?

If you are not locked into the purchase yet, hire a home inspector to review the property for you. They are often a great first resource for identifying the age of the house. An inspector will be able to point out the potential places where asbestos may still live. With this in mind, if you have concerns about asbestos in a house you’ve already purchased or currently live in, don’t fear. There are companies that deal specifically with the asbestos identification and proper removal.

Further, if you find out that you’ve got asbestos in your home, don’t panic. We have solutions. But, also keep in mind, this is a job that should always be left to the professionals. This is someone who has a license and knows what they are doing. They will properly protect not only themselves, but also you and your family during the material removal and disposal. Asbestos is not for the do-it-yourselfer or the weekend-warrior home-handyman. Call a professional for a consultation, opinion, and quote.


Why am I telling you this?

Beyond your real estate needs, we’re talking about asbestos because we care about you and your family’s health and well-being. In addition, some insurance companies may insist you remove asbestos found in your property before insuring. This can get pricy. Like knob and tube wiring or a number of other old home features, having to repair or replace these things immediately after possession can be a financial gut-punch. You might be putting your life savings into the down payment and not have the liquidity for surprising, immediate, and expensive upgrades.

We want you to know what you are buying and the potential health risks and financial trappings of a property, if any. While viewing properties we will always be looking to try and spot these things for you. And, if we suspect we need to bring in a home inspector for you, we will.

If the home of your dreams has some asbestos, it isn’t cause to not move forward on purchasing it. Rather, it’s just another thing you should be aware of. We want you to be the most informed buyer you can be (and to stay healthy!).


This article is written by Fox Marin Sales Representative, Ian Busher. With an extensive background in carpentry and contracting, Ian is our resident “Renovations Expert”! He takes pride in his ability to assess the quality and condition of a house. This, in tandem with his talent for speaking to the feasibility and cost of potential renovations, and his eye for the aesthetic details of a property, makes him a powerful partner for anyone looking to buy a home in the Toronto real estate market.