Guess Who’s Having the asBESTos Week Ever

As a regular reader of this blog might already know, our house was built sometime in the 1950’s and had additions built in the following few decades. This would put us at risk for asbestos being in the house. When we bought the house, we had the attic insulation tested but nothing else. The test came back negative, but we were still curious about the rest of the house. In all of our renovations we haven’t come back with anything that would lead us to believe there was asbestos. Except for our ceiling tiles.

12 x 12 Acoustical Ceiling Tile

The ceilings in the main story of our house are all covered with 12 x 12 acoustical tiles. As we’ve redone each of the rooms, we’ve painted the ceiling tiles and even painted in the gaps between the tiles. This solved one problem, but now we’ve decided to replace our existing ceiling lights and fans. Before anyone goes and starts messing around up there I figured we should probably get the fibrous portion of the tiles checked out.

12 x 12 Ceiling Tile Fan Opening Detail

You can see in the photo where I took out a small chunk of the tile. Before cutting I consulted an environmental company that does asbestos testing, and they suggested wetting the portion of the tile I was going to cut and taking a quarter sized sample. Although I minimized the amount of dust released by wetting the tile, I still wore a mask and gloves. Despite my best efforts using a drywall blade, the cut was not perfect, so its a good thing I had prepped for disaster.

Cellulose Percentage

For the lab test, we used a local company called Environmental Tactics. They had a pretty quick turn around time and the cost was reasonable. ($25 per sample) We had the results of the test back within a few days.

The test came back negative. A huge sigh of relief for us, considering an asbestos problem could stop us from doing any work that involves the ceiling or electrical, or worse, a costly abatement procedure.

Asbestos: None Detected

We had 2 samples tested, one from the office and one from the bedroom. The living room is the same as the office, and the dining room is a much newer ceiling tile. So new, in fact, that they still sell it at Lowes.

To me, this feels like we’ve avoided another potential disaster associated with owning our first home. That’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but its good to know we can now proceed with the next project.

8 thoughts on “Guess Who’s Having the asBESTos Week Ever”

  1. Good job!
    Some of the local DiY’ers never go out of the way to check for asbestos.
    I was curious, since I’m knew to your blog where does most of your knowledge come from? I’m been in the remodeling field for 10 years, but I’m always looking to strengthen my skills.

    1. Hey Doug! Thanks for the comment and thanks for thinking we have a lot of knowledge on this stuff! 🙂

      We don’t really know where it comes from…trial and error, friends and family, and a lot of Google. We like to do things right the first time and since we are into DIY, we don’t want to come across any harmful asbestos while attempting to look at anything up in the ceiling; better safe than sorry and now we have the paperwork to prove it!

      Thanks again for reading!

    1. Hi Cathy,

      Unfortunately, we aren’t sure where you would purchase them. These were in our house when we bought it and we never had to replace any. We have heard though, that these older school type of tiles are not even the same size as modern ones, so sizing could be a challenge. I would recommend starting with a search on Lowes or Home Depot since I would guess they may only carry something like this online.

      Hope this helps!

  2. These look exactly like the ones in the 1950s house we are about to close on it! In fact I googled “asbestos ceiling tiles” in google images and this image came up, that’s why I clicked on it. Good to know, although I will probably still get them tested just to be sure.

    1. Hi Samantha, Good to know that people are finding our blog, and finding it helpful!

      This was one of the easiest things we’ve ever done around the house and the piece of mind was well worth the $50 we paid!

  3. Im so so glad to read this, I was searching about asbestos ceiling tiles and was really really worried. Mine was built in 1945 and its the same tile you are showing in your picture, well Im really hoping its the same!!!! My house needs some repairs in the ceiling tiles as some of them are sagging.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Rosseline, glad to provide some info! Hopefully you’ll luck out like us. We’ve found that these tiles are easy enough to find in stores, but are hard to match. Also, if they are tongue and groove they can be tricky to replace. Be prepared and always get more tiles than you need. They can be fragile and break easily!

      Good luck!

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