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Asbestos-suspect ceiling cover-up: a reader describes a simple, inexpensive, but labor intensive approach to coating or cover-over of asbestos-suspect ceiling tiles or panels that are securely fastened and in good condition. Covering asbestos or asbestos suspect materials in some locations is permitted and makes economic sense as a method of reducing the asbestos hazard in buildings. In fact generally it's better, cheaper, and safer to leave non-friable, un-damaged asbestos materials in place than to try a demolition and removal project.
Do-It-Yourself in-Place Seal-Over for Asbestos-Suspect Acoutstic Ceiling Tiles
Reader Question: do you think these are asbestos-containing ceiling tiles and how can I take care of them?
Thanks for such a great and informative site. I’ve learned so much and I am still navigating the various sections.
[Click to enlarge any image]
It appears that you provide first-pass opinions on potential asbestos-bearing ceiling tiles if pictures are provided.
See attached. I cannot find anything similar to these that you’ve posted yet – and fingers-crossed – these are asbestos free.
Initial thoughts would be appreciated – I will get them tested too but your help may determine if I do this sooner versus later. Home was built in 1972. Thanks for any help.
- S.F., South Lyon MI 4/13/2013
In our earliler correspondence I suggested treating the ceiling as presumed-asbestos-containing based on age and appearance; you were going to have a sample tested. Can you tell me what you found?
I ended up changing my design to not disrupt the tile. I have painted it … actually, I am still painting it. LOL. I
did have a 30-year veteran electrician install one light. He was confident they were asbestos free and drilled one hole for a fixture. He wasn’t concerned at all.
At some point, years down the road .
If I change the ceiling …. I will have them tested. I have learned also, that all Building Materials in my Home Owner’s Association Ordinances required asbestos-free material.
That is no iron-clad insurance but gave me some confidence. Thanks for the follow-up
I did the a similar thing with asphalt asbestos floor tiles in a kitchen - we painted the vinyl asbestos floor tiles with an epoxy floor paint, then applied a clear sealer over that; it has worked very well for 15+ years with just an occasional renewal of the clear coat.
Asbestos ceiling cover-up tip: an alternative for covering over a ceiling in poor condition for any reason is the installation of a metal ceiling or suspended metal ceiling - see METAL CEILINGS ALUMINUM & TIN. Metal ceilings have been installed over older, poor-condition surfaces in North America for more than 100 years.
A photo of your project might help others.
Sure, DIYers love to share their projects. Three photos attached (and shown above and at left - Ed).
#1 Before (thickness and type of tiles).
#3 After. Acoustic tiles are very, very porous.
It was like painting cardboard. I primed the edges around the mouldings first then I caulked the tile edges-to-the- mouldings liberally so I didn’t have holes/crevices along the moulding line.
Primed the interior ceiling with a 2” nappy roller (let dry for 2 days).
1 Coat of the new color (let dry for 2 days). Then … the hard part
I mixed vinyl spackling with paint and used a thick/cheap brush and jabbed the spackle/paint mixture into every seam (closing up gaps and any unevenness).
Let dry for 2 days. Final top coat to blend all seams with a 2” nappy roller.
Looks great. Folks can skip the seam fill part if they like the look after 1 coat of color; probably could skip the second coat of paint too.
Patching that hole wasn’t easy and I’m still working on that. Matching the ceiling pattern is hard but I’ll get it.
Watch out: dust from demolition of many building products can be irritating and even harmful regardless of whether or not the material contains asbestos fibers or particles. Good dust control measures can avoid spreading dust throughout the building during material removal or remodeling, and proper personal protection can protect workers as well.
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Celotex ceiling products division was purchased by Ceiling Products & Gypsum Wallboard (BPB) of the U.K. beginning in 1999
Celotex roofing products division was purchased by Certainteed Corporation (Valley Forge PA) beginning in 1999
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 Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC, "Carpenters and Mesothelioma", Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC, 135 Delaware Ave, 5th Floor, Buffalo, NY 14202-2415 (716) 849-0701. Web search 6/22/12, original source: http://www.mesotheliomacarpenter.com/carpenters-asbestos-exposure/ceiling-tile/ [Copy on file as LiIpsitz_Asbestos.pdf]
 INACHI forum discussion about asbestos ceiling tiles, web search 6/22/12, original source: http://www.nachi.org/forum/f18/asbestos-ceiling-tiles-14709/ [Copy on file as Inach_Ceil_Asbestos.pdf]
 Celotex [UK] History, Celotex Insulation Specialists, web search 6/30/12, original source: http://www.celotex.co.uk/celotex-history [Copy on file as Celotex_History_UK.pdf ]
 Wikipedia provided background information about some topics discussed at this website provided this citation is also found in the same article along with a " retrieved on" date. NOTE: because Wikipedia entries are fluid and can be amended in real time, we cite the retrieval date of Wikipedia citations and we do not assert that the information found there is necessarily authoritative. Web search 6/30/12: "Ceiling Tiles"
 Brian Greer, "History of Tin Ceilings", Brian Greer's Tin Ceilings, web search 6/30/12, original source: http://www.tinceiling.com/company/historytin.php
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 "Ceilings Pressed in Time", Old House Journal, web search 6/30/12, original source: http://www.oldhousejournal.com/ceillings_pressed_in_time/magazine/1070
 Steven Mlynarek, Morton Corn, Charles Blake, "Asbestos Exposure of Building Maintenance Personnel", Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 23, 213–224 (1996) ARTICLE NO. 0045, http://library.certh.gr/libfiles/PDF/GEN-PAPYR-4810-ASBESTOS-by-MLYNAREK
 National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (1989). In NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (P. M. Eller, Ed.),
Method 7400. NIOSH, Washington, DC.
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 U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (USDOL) (1994). In Occupational Exposure to Asbestos:
Final Rule, FR Vol. 59, No. 153:40964–41162. Materials, Report 2OT-2003. USEPA, Washington, DC.
 U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(USDOL) (1986). In Occupational Exposure to Asbestos: Tremolite,
Anthophyllite, and Actinolite: Final Rule, FR Vol. 51,
 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (1990). In Environmental Asbestos Assessment Manual, Superfund Method for the Determination of Asbestos in Ambient Air, Part 2, Technical Background Document, Report EPA/540/2-90/005 b. USEPA, Washington, DC
 Ceiling - Frequently Asked Questions, Armstrong Corporation, web search 6/30/12, original source: http://www.armstrong.com/resclgam/na/ceilings/en/us/article17697.html
 BPB America Inc.,
5301 West Cypress St., Suite 300,
Tampa, FL 33607,
Web: www.bpb-na.com. Acoustic ceiling tile & accessories.
 Affa Tile Company
No. 1116/8, Poonamalee High Road, Opposite Hotel Shan Royal, Koyambedu
Chennai, Tamil Nadu - 600 107, India, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: http://www.affatiles.com Tel:044-24757498, 044 - 24757497
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 D. Auribault, "Note sur l'Hygiène et la Sécurité des Ouvriers dans les Filatures et Tissages d'Amianté (On hygiene and security of the workers in the spinning and weaving of asbestos)" in Le Bulletin de l'Inspection du Travail, 1906, pp 120–132.
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Asbestos Identification and Testing References
Asbestos Identification, Walter C.McCrone, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, IL.1987 ISBN 0-904962-11-3. Dr. McCrone literally "wrote the book" on asbestos identification procedures which formed
the basis for current work by asbestos identification laboratories.
Stanton, .F., et al., National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 506: 143-151
Pott, F., Staub-Reinhalf Luft 38, 486-490 (1978) cited by McCrone
Asbestos NESHAP Adequately Wet Guidance, EPA340/1-90-019, December 1990, U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Stationary Source Compliance Division, Washington, DC 20460,original web source: http://www.epa.gov/region04/air/asbestos/awet.htm
Asbestos products and their history and use in various building materials such as asphalt and vinyl flooring includes discussion which draws on Asbestos, Its Industrial Applications, D.V. Rosato, engineering consultant, Newton, MA, Reinhold Publishing, 1959 Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 59-12535 (out of print, text and images available at InspectAPedia.com).
"Handling Asbestos-Containing roofing material - an update", Carl Good, NRCA Associate Executive Director, Professional Roofing, February 1992, p. 38-43
EPA Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-Containing Materials in buildings, NIAST, National Institute on Abatement Sciences & Technology, [republishing EPA public documents] 1985 ed., Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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