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Old 03-02-2011, 04:52 AM   #21
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I bought my present SFH new in 2004 from a custom builder who was building on a vacant lot in an established neighborhood on speculation. While certain aspects of my home do not seem at all "custom" to me, more builder's grade, I think over all I am satisfied with my purchase. I wanted something new, as I did not feel that I could keep up with the maintenance on an older home after my husband passed away. By the time this place starts falling apart, it will be time to move again.

I have not needed a plumber or electrician or handyman of any sort since I moved in, so it must be pretty sound. I have not seen any cracks in the foundation or garage due to settling either. I have noticed a few things like my master bath vanity has a small gap now between the counter and the wall and there is some caulking that is needed on the baseboard running up the staircase. Some things I would alter after having lived in the space for awhile, mostly layout mudroom is too small (door hits my dryer), I have a stupidly located downstairs powder room that is practically in the dining room, I would have placed some electrical outlets differently. I would have designed the front entrance so that there isn't a long narrow window next to the door. Oh, and I don't like that my upstairs does not have a separate thermostat. I find that my air conditioning is sort of scant in the summer up there while the downstairs is freezing. I overlooked a lot of these things in my haste to close and move in as my previous home was sold. But all in all a fairly well built house. Factors that figured heavily in my selection of this home were location close to work, nearby shopping, no neighbors across the street or behind me, a nice level lot, established neighborhood with trees, and lower price compared to similar new construction that I saw (almost all of the others were in new housing tracts which I wasn't crazy about).

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Old 03-02-2011, 09:14 AM   #22
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I asked my husband about asbestos in drywall mud. He is 73, formerly active in Construction Specification Institute, a registered Architect for 45 +/- years, worked for architectural and engineering firms even in high school. He never heard of asbestos in drywall mud.

Based on that I wouldn't be concerned about asbestos when disturbing drywall seams. That doesn't mean that one should not wear a face mask and safety goggles when removing drywall. Fine particulates are still a health hazard. I vote for a disposable bunny suit too because all that grit can cause laundry grief.

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Old 03-02-2011, 09:38 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
It is simply a concern that is a very real one that someone buying an older home should consider.

This definitely made me curious. My house was built in 1963. Seems asbestos was used as a binding agent from 1963 to 1977. Here's an article on it:

Drywall Tapers and Asbestos Exposure | Asbestos Exposure | Mesothelioma Lawyer & Asbestos Cancer Resource | Sokolove Law

Then this one from a supplier in Canada as recently as 2008 selling to the US, alluding they didn't even list it as an ingredient on the label

Asbestos drywall mud still coming into the US - JLC-Online Forums

Makes me a bit concerned, I'm doing small remodelling jobs that involve light sanding of the drywall compound, all I did was remove wood paneling. I can see having to do this removing old wallpaper too. All you need is a little sanding and the stuff is airborne.

I held a summer job while in college removing asbestos from city schools, a very nasty job, had to wear tyvek suits, booties, gloves, gas mask and everything was sprayed down. We used sledgehammers to remove the popcorn ceilings because scraping wouldn't remove it in a timely manner.
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:33 AM   #24
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Interesting. Years ago I remember my husband complaining about the fire marshals requiring asbestos around boilers in schools, a practice he objected to but they would not approve other approaches.

I doubt that many in the trade were aware of asbestos used as a binder in drywall mud, it would have been easy to prohibit that in the specifications even if it were not prohibited by statute. The risk would exist in the sanding portion of the finishing process.

In remodeling airborne particulates are always a risk. Fiberglass insulation that becomes airborne is very nasty stuff. Demolition workers should always wear respirators.

In the 80s an acquaintance of mine who worked at the San Francisco Federal Building died from asbestosis. She was in her mid 50s and to the best of my knowledge she worked for the USDOL from her early 20. We all wondered where she was exposed.

Maybe its just me but attorney advertising for clients make me suspicious about their claims. Like the DOL employee exposure can happen almost anywhere.

Oh, asbestos was used in the 40-50s for model building so if you had a model train layout and built scenery you were exposed.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:25 PM   #25
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A few governmental articles talking about asbestos in joint compound (the Massachusetts one is the most interesting):

MassDEP: Discussion Document: Asbestos-Containing Joint Compound (ACJC)

05/14/1998 - Asbestos standard: Joint compound is not a surfacing material.

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