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Does Plaster contain Asbestos or not?

cocteau3's picture

Questions about older homes, specifically from 1900 on.

1. Does old plaster contain asbestos?

2. What is the difference in plaster/lathe and "blueboard"?

3. I'm looking at houses built in the 1920's, so what is the common wall material in that decade, blueboard or plaster/lathe?

4. And is asbestos common in the '20's structures?

I live in Kentucky.

Thanks!

(post #55160, reply #1 of 9)

from memory.. original plaster jobs would be wood lath & horsehair plaster for the brown coat.. then hard white for the finish..


this gave way to "rock lath" in the '20's which looked like small pieces of drywall, about 16x48 x 3/8 . with a brown coat & a white coat finish.. also used metal lath, both wire & expanded metal.. in lieu of the rocklath.. and for curves..


then skimcoat came along with a blueboard base. which has the same core as drywall, but the blue finish doesn't absorb water ( suck water out of the plaster ) at the same rate as regular drywall.. you can use regular drywall as a plaster base if you  coat it with a retarder..


none of these products normally had asbestos in it.. but there may be exceptions that i am not aware of..


asbestos was normally used before the early '70's in drywall joint compound to "fiber it"when asbestos disappeared from the manufacturing scene, they also took it out of joint compound...but any drywall joint compound installed before the early '70's had a lot of asbestos in it.. and the sanding dust  was everywhere..


since i got started in the '60's , working in the trades, i probably inhaled about as much asbestos as a shipbuilder from the '40's


Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #55160, reply #2 of 9)

Cough, cough, cough.

And it doesn't cough, bother us at all.

I've been told that asbestos is everywhere. It is a mineral in certain kinds of rock naturally and that most places have some small amt of it in their soil.

They didn't purposely put asbestos in plaster, for the most part, but all plaster is likely to have minimal bits of it included, accidentally.

The only way to be cetain is to get it tested, but then once you get a positive, expect to spend money on men in white suits.

Or take the best precautions you can as with any nasty dust or with lead and wear N100 dust masks if doing demo work. You have to do that for assumed lead anyway for a house from before 1970

.

Excellence is its own reward!

"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.

The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

--Marcus Aurelius

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #55160, reply #3 of 9)

You have to do that for assumed lead anyway for a house from before 1970


I think 1978 is the magic year.


________________________________________________


"I may have said the same thing before... But my explanation, I am sure, will always be different."  Oscar Wilde

======================================== "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Reinhold Niebuhr: 'The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness' http://rjw-progressive.blogspot.com/ ========================================

(post #55160, reply #4 of 9)

Right!

.

Excellence is its own reward!

"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.

The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

--Marcus Aurelius

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #55160, reply #5 of 9)

How about possible asbestos content for plaster ceilings and walls which were textured? I don't mean the swirly type done with a stick in the '70's, but this '20's house has spikey, quarter to half inch thick extrusions, described by an inspector as an early attempt at texturing. It looks awful, even if it would be a good back scratcher, and I wonder what additives were put in the plaster to achieve this rough effect.

Also, there is evidence of some settling in the center load bearing walls of the house, which caused some plaster to slightly curve out from the wall where it meets the ceilings. Inspected as a structural "settling that caused a cosmetic buckling". I've never seen buckling in a house. Would "settling" cause the lathe to bow out, or the studs, or just the plaster?

Working on finding an asbestos testing facility.

Thanks

(post #55160, reply #9 of 9)

I don't have the time and energy now to write you a treatise on it all so try the search button here. The topic comes up every month or two. Asbestos is far less hazardes than some make it out to be, unless you smoke cigarettes AND spend your life working or living in lots of dust from it. Odds are that you are fine and you don't need to bother looking for a testing facility. Just go careful and control free airborne dust with vacumns and wet cleaning. I still don't even know if you are planning major remodeling or are just paranoid about it.

Buckling plaster might need repair or might be only cosmetic.

The ugly ceilings can be knocked down, skim coated or covered over with sheet rock or other materials without disturbing the dust.

.

Excellence is its own reward!

"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.

The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

--Marcus Aurelius

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #55160, reply #6 of 9)

To amplify Piffin's input, a few years ago I was working with the state agency here in Oregon to certify an asbestos site on my employer's property for asbestos we were removing from our plant. 


 Lo and behold, chrysotile asbestos showed up in native soil!


  The quantity was small and dispersed but there was cynical apprehension that our logging crews might have to start wearing moonsuits and booties over their caulked boots.


 

 

(post #55160, reply #7 of 9)

Of course, the rain in Oregon would just wash away the fibers, right?

"Oregon, home of the 100 day continual rain shower"

-anonymous ex-Oregonian turned sunshine freak

(post #55160, reply #8 of 9)

Ohmigosh! That means ther must be asbestos in wood, taken up through the roots. We've got to bury every tree in America, before it cough, cough, gets us all!

.

Excellence is its own reward!

"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.

The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

--Marcus Aurelius

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...