Asbestos inspection - identity help

Can anyone tell me what asbestos insulation or wiring actually looks like? I would guess it looks different than your every day pink fiberglass, but what about that old coated wiring?
Isn’t there a time frame when it was more commonly used?

Asbestos insulation was used more in industrial applications and the stuff that I have seen looks kinda like fiberglass tape that had sheetrock mud put over it. It was used to insulate pipes (like steam pipes)…some of the old forced hot water/steam systems have it, too. I have never heard of it used as a general housing insulation (but I suppose it could have been)…asbestos is more of a heat-protective insulation (gloves, steam/hot water pipes/etc.). It was also used in concrete board siding shingles, brake linings, acoustic ceiling tiles, and in some ‘popcorn’ ceilings as a binding agent.


keith’s right on the money; mostly used in residential on old steam pipes. can be in floor old tiles as well. never heard of it in wiring, but wiring is all behind the walls (or should be) so there is no real hazard there.

asbestos is danagerous if becomes airborne; that’s it. its is not poison gas and it will just sit there like a bump on a pickle (until you mess with it).

Im working in the midwest right now and am finding a lot of homes with asbestos siding.

From what I have read the Asbestos siding is easy to get rid of…(Read you tech manuales, I am not certified). You are supposed to wet it with a garden hose and try not to break it when you are taking it down. DO NOT go over it with Vinyle or steel!

Another problem is the Vermiculite (pour in from the attic) It is a granular and in our area it has come from a Mine in Libby MT. Very hazordous stuff. I avoid houses with this stuff, but I will not hire an asbestos inspector for any of my houses. If you know you have to disclose if you don’t know you are not lieing.

I talked to a city inspector on my last remodel and it had a steam boiler that was wrapped in insulation and what he called ‘Hard Cast’ his experience was that it was not asbestos because of the time frame. This house was built in the early 1900’s and he said that asbestos was used mostly from the 1950’w to the late 1970’s.

Do the inspection before you buy.

Best of Luck!

Thank you all, I’ve been looking at numerous fixer uppers in Wisconsin, mostly early 1900’s sort, and didn’t want any big dollar surprises if I could just know ahead of time what to look for. Again thanks.