Renovating houses can be super satisfying.
Yes, there are often setbacks. Things take longer than you expect them to. You never know quite what you might find once you start opening up the walls and it can be hard to coordinate professionals if you aren’t able to do it all yourself.
But, in the end, it’s quite an amazing accomplishment to take an old, dated property and bring it into the current century. Or even into the current decade.
We’ve had experience renovating three older homes and updating two more modern homes. And in each of the older homes that we renovated, there was a big issue of concern that I wish we had known more about – Asbestos.
When you first start renovating older properties, you might or might not realize the extent of asbestos that could exist within older building materials and as a DIYer, you can often expose yourself to it without even fully realizing.
After learning more about asbestos and the harmful impact it has on a person’s long term health, I sometimes worry about whether we came into contact with asbestos during our renovations without being aware.
I lay awake at night and wonder… was it in that tile that we pulled up? Was it in the insulation that dropped on our heads? Eek!
It’s a very scary thought to wonder if we might have unwittingly come into contact with asbestos during any of our renovations; and even scarier to worry about the long term effects it could have caused for us, or anyone else working in our home. Being exposed to free floating asbestos fibers can lead to major health issues in the long run and is the primary cause of some forms of lung disease and terminal cancer.
As home-owners, it is important to be aware of the possible presence of asbestos- not only for our own health, but for the health of those we employ to renovate, update and build for us. Asbestos-related disease is actually the leading cause of workplace death in B.C. Of the 584 Asbestos-related worker deaths between 2006-2015, about 30% of them were from people working in the construction industry. Prior to 1990, asbestos was widely used in building materials, so before you begin renovations on any home built before 1990, you need to take asbestos exposure seriously. It’s crucial that trained and qualified professionals properly remove all asbestos that might be exposed before work on a home construction project begins.
If you are wondering where Asbestos might be, Worksafe BC has a great infographic and information on what to do:
This is definitely a topic that I wish I had known more about before we jumped head first into the renovations that we tackled. Read more at Worksafe BC and before starting any renovation or demo project, inform yourself of the risks and become aware of where asbestos may be hiding to protect everyone who may be working on your project.
Disclaimer: This post has been generously sponsored by WorkSafeBC but the opinions and language are 100% my own.