Asbestos Testing – Certified Laboratory Testing

Asbestos testing is the only way to determine if your vermiculite insulation contains asbestos.  Only under a special microscope can the presence of asbestos be determined. Asbestos was freely used in the construction of residential homes during the 1950s, 60’s and 70s. Asbestos was often used as an insulator because it is heat resistant and has a high tensile strength. It was used in products such as pipe and duct insulation on heating systems, sealers on heating boilers, roofing materials, siding, stucco, plaster, drywall compound, paneling, cement, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, and wall and attic insulation.


Asbestos Testing – What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber. It can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.  Bulk samples are examined under a special microscope, this is the only method to determine if any asbestos is present. Asbestos is a term used to refer to six naturally occurring silicate minerals. All are composed of long and thin fibrous crystals, each fiber being composed of many microscopic ‘fibrils’ that can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion and other processes.

Asbestos Testing – Barrie, Alliston and Orillia

Many Century Homes have asbestos used in many products during construction.  Depending on the degree of renovation and expertise of contractors, the asbestos may of may not have been removed.  Many times asbestos has been removed in easy to access places but left in place around items as plumbing, heating pipes and heat ducts.  The Orillia Home Inspection Service has been inspecting Century Homes for over 18 years and can help you decide whether you should invest in buying one of these complicated properties.

Your Ontario Real Estate Association Agreement of Purchase and Sale form does not contain any warranties with respect to asbestos.  Sellers of residential properties are not required to disclose the existence of asbestos in the home to potential buyers. If the buyer does not inform him/herself, then he/she is risking the purchase of a home that may contain asbestos.  Having your home tested for Asbestos is your only protection.


  •  Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
  • Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos and vermiculite as insulation.
  • Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
  • Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
  • Older products, such as stove-top pads, may have some asbestos compounds.
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard or cement sheets.
  • Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
  • Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.

Asbestos Testing – Health risks of Asbestos

Although concerns about the health risks of exposure to asbestos were recognized from the late 1800’s, public awareness catapulted in the 1960’s when it was found that heavy, prolonged exposure to asbestos led to an increased incidence of lung disease in workers. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they stay lodged in the lungs for years, predisposing a person to the following diseases:

  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis — scarring of the lungs with fibrous tissue
  • Mesothelioma — cancer of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity

Asbestos has been largely banned from commercial and residential construction in most of the developed world. Tragically though, it is still being mined in a small number of countries, including Canada until late in 2011, and exported to developing nations such as India and China, where it continues to ravage vulnerable workers. The World Health Organization reports that about 125 million workers worldwide are exposed to asbestos and at least 90,000 die each year from asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos Testing – Century Homes

Asbestos Testing is the process of looking for Asbestos; testing areas where it may reside in both homes and buildings including: Many contractors will not start work on older homes until materials have been tested for asbestos. Many Century Homes have been renovated many times over the life span of the building,  typically any visible asbestos is removed but some homes will still have heating ducts etc still incased in asbestos insulation.  As these heat ducts pass through one of more floors it can be a very expensive process to remove the asbestos. Having a Pre-listing Inspection can reassure home buyers of the condition of your home and typically will result in higher sale price.


  •  Heating duct work & Furnaces – Ducts may be largely made of Asbestos. As it starts to break down, Asbestos fibers are blown into the home and can be inhaled. Also, your furnace may be lined with Asbestos, or sit on Asbestos padding.
  • Plumbing – Pipes may be wrapped with Asbestos, especially if connected to radiators or other steam-producing elements
  • Electrical Wiring – Older tube wires may be covered with Asbestos. We also check for aluminum wiring.
  • Fireplaces – Prior to 1978, artificial logs were manufactured using Asbestos
  • Crawlspaces or Basement Floors – Asbestos fibers can collect on the ground, or floor below duct work or piping
  • Walls & Ceilings – May contain blown-in insulation that contains Asbestos, especially those built prior to 1981
  • Flooring – Vinyl floor tiles may contain asbestos
  • Roofing & Siding – Older roof shingles may be made from asbestos mixed with cement or asphalt

The Orillia Home Inspection Services will collect samples of vermiculite insulation, have them tested by Pro-Lab and provide you with a Certified Copy of results.  We also provide Air Quality Testing for Mould and Asbestos.

Roger is also a Certified Master Inspector and Certified Building Code Official


Call Roger at 705-795-8255

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Phone : 705.795.8255
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