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Real Estate (residential) quickie FAQ's

Asbestos: Current Issues for Real Estate Transactions

PACM means "presumed asbestos-containing material". This means that buildings constructed before 1/1/81 are assumed to be constructed with asbestos containing surfacing and thermal system materials (ACM) unless the materials are proven not to contain asbestos.
There are certain inspections required in California, such as pest control, however no inspection is required for asbestos for a home purchase. (Unless, of course, you're planning on opening it as a school.) There are, however, requirements for disclosure.

A word of caution: Is the buyer planning on remodeling? 
Asbestos inspections *are* required prior to demolition/renovation. Here in the San Francisco area it comes under Bay Area Air Quality Management District Regulation 11, Rule 2 , Section 303.8.
The general home inspection does not cover asbestos and nearly all general home inspection
reports have disclaimers that exclude hazardous materials. 
A buyer is spending major dollars for this home purchase and making a tremendous investment. Many people want to know that they're not also buying a very expensive problem. .......and certainly want to know ahead of time what kind of cost impact might be expected.
In past years, contractors were allowed to inspect and give free estimates. California recognized the potential for conflict of interest when they formulated the regulations which require inspections and assessments to be done by Certified Asbestos Consultant's. 

Asbestos in the Home

Common places we find asbestos in residential homes include (but are not limited to):

  • Exterior composition roofing shingles

  • Tar paper or roofing felt beneath shingles

  • Tar & gravel roofing components

  • Exterior transite siding (cement-like shingles)

  • Exterior stucco

  • Exterior paints and/or waterproofing

  • Window putty

  • Interior walls, both plaster and sheetrock with joint compound

  • Sprayed acoustical ceilings

  • Acoustic ceiling tiles (or used as wall tiles)

  • Acoustical tile glue

  • Wallboard around wood-burning stoves

  • Baseboards and baseboard glue

  • Flooring: 9 inch, 12 inch tiles

  • Flooring: vinyl sheet, and vinyl sheet backing

  • Flooring: mastic or glue used to secure floor tile and/or vinyl

  • Flooring: linoleum

  • Flooring: leveling compound

  • Flooring: carpet glue (unusual, but possible)

  • Heating system: includes duct insulation, heater insulation, heat register insulation, etc.

  • Piping Insulation: includes pipe, elbow, valve, boiler insulation

  • Heater and/or Hot Water Heater flues: either transite or tape on sheet metal joints

  • Electrical: knob & tube wiring insulation, fuse box insulating pads

  • Fireplace: asbestos-cement logs and/or ashes

  • Oven: gaskets

[Please note that this list is not complete, merely representative]

Chrysotile asbestos rock
serpentine fiber

Crocidolite under microscope
amphibole fiber


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