March 2017

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Hazardous Materials and Remodeling Older Buildings

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Hazardous Materials and Remodeling Older Buildings | Orange County Clean Up

Remodeling and renovating an older building is a great way of preserving history while creating usable space built to the modern standards of safety and convenience. Older buildings also often contain interesting and attractive reusable materials like doors, windows, fixtures, and even lumber, but many older buildings also contain a variety of hazardous materials.

It is important to know which building materials can be safely recycled and which need special hazardous material disposal when you are renovating an older building. A hazardous material specialist like Tri Span Environmental can assist you in identifying and properly disposing of hazardous building materials before you start a renovation project in an older building.

Common Hazardous Materials in Older Buildings

Buildings that were constructed before 1978 commonly used several materials which are now considered hazardous and which are now banned from use in the construction trades. The most common of these materials are asbestos and lead.

Lead was frequently added to paints until the late 1970s because it made the paint last longer, look fresher, and it made the paint moisture resistant. However, dust and peeling flakes of lead paint can be ingested by children leading to neurological and other disorders, and the unquestionable health problems created by lead paint finally resulted in lead being banned as a paint additive in the U.S. by 1978.

While most buildings have received new paint since then, there are still many older buildings with layers of lead paint hidden underneath newer coats of paint. This buried lead paint becomes a hazard during remodeling when walls are removed or opened-up when doors and cabinets are stripped of old paint for refinishing, and during other construction activity.

Asbestos is a natural mineral which is resistant to fire. This made it a common choice as an insulation material for walls and ceilings in building constructed before 1978 when negative health effects resulted in it being banned. It was also used as an insulating wrap for heating ducts and as an additive and backing material in flooring. Old asbestos, like lead paint, can be disrupted during the renovation of older buildings.

Removing Hazardous Building Materials

Identifying asbestos, lead, dangerous molds, and other hazardous materials in buildings are not always easy. Special training, equipment, and tests are often needed to determine if these substances are present. Removing them also requires special permits, notifications, and disposal procedures.

An experienced and licensed hazardous material abatement specialist like Tri Span Environmental makes this part of remodeling safe and efficient and gets the job done in compliance with all laws and regulations.