Professional Asbestos Testing And Sampling Services
Do you suspect your home or property to have asbestos? The only way to determine if your property has asbestos is by testing and sample analysis from licensed professionals, like Banner Environmental. Asbestos testing and sampling is necessary to determine whether a building will need asbestos remediation. Asbestos testing and sampling should be conducted prior to demolition or renovation.
Professional Asbestos Testing & Services in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
How To Test For Asbestos
On-site asbestos testing
On-site asbestos testing entails a careful inspection and testing of the materials in your house by our team of specialists. We first perform a visual inspection of the area first for any potential hazards. We then remove pieces of the questionable material and have lab technicians analyze the samples to determine asbestos content. If the existence of asbestos is indeed confirmed, a more detailed inspection will follow.
Asbestos Air Testing
Air can also be monitored on-site in order to detect whether asbestos particles are present in the atmosphere of your house.
There are two types of asbestos air tests currently available:
- Phase contrast microscopy (PCM)
- Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
While both are reliable, TEM is more accurate due to the size of fibers it is capable of detecting.
With PCM, we use a pump to draw an air sample through a filter, then we take a slice of the filter and examine it under a microscope for evidence of fibers. The process is quick and inexpensive, and will identify fibers in the air, but may miss the presence of very small fibers. In addition, PCM cannot distinguish between asbestos fibers and other fibers, such as fiberglass.
With TEM, we send air samples to a lab where the air sample is bombarded with electrons inside a giant electron microscope. This allows the microscopist to distinguish between asbestos and non-asbestos fibers at a very fine level of detail. It detects the presence of even minuscule fibers, but it is more expensive and takes longer than PCM.
On many asbestos removal projects, PCM is often selected for its speed and cost-effectiveness, while TEM is best when a high degree of confidence in the results is desired. We typically recommend using TEM at the end of an asbestos removal project prior to re-occupancy of the area.
Popcorn Ceiling Asbestos Test
Popcorn ceilings generally contain between 1 and 10 percent asbestos. While 1 percent may seem insignificant, it’s important to note that any percentage of asbestos in a popcorn ceiling is cause for concern and should be addressed.
Popcorn ceilings are constructed from highly friable (crumbly) materials, and even the slightest disturbance can release toxic asbestos dust into the air. If inhaled, asbestos dust can lead to serious health issues, such as chronic coughing, shortness of breath, asbestosis, mesothelioma, and even lung cancer.
Because of the serious risk it poses to your health, it’s a good idea to have your popcorn ceiling professionally tested, especially if you notice any crumbling or if you plan to remodel your home.
When testing a popcorn ceiling we dampen the area to collect during the sampling process. This mitigates asbestos particles from becoming airborne. We also lay plastic sheets down to catch the dust.
To ensure test results are accurate, we collect at least a couple of teaspoons of the ceiling material and sample from at least two different areas of the ceiling. All samples are securely sealed.
Asbestos Tile Testing
Next to insulation, floor tiles were some of the most popular asbestos-containing materials manufactured a few decades ago. There are some key indicators of asbestos floor tiles which might help us initially suspect if asbestos is present:
- Age Of Floor Tiles - If the building you live in or the one in which you work was constructed before the 1980s, and particularly in the period between 1950 and the 1980s, there's a high probability that your flooring contains asbestos, as the interval matches the times of intense use of the mineral in building materials.
- Tile Size - Asphalt asbestos, plastic asbestos, and vinyl asbestos floor tiles during this period were sold in 9"x9", 12" x 12" and in some years 18" x 18" sizes and were quite a bit thicker than most of the modern tiles.
- Discoloration - An oily discoloration of the tiles in your home might indicate that they contain asbestos. Asphalt is one of the main materials used for the manufacturing of asbestos floor tiles and leakages of the oil incorporated in it can occur, causing the color of the tiles to fade.
- Black Adhesive - Some of the flooring tiles have come off and you see thick black adhesive underneath. Black mastic, also known as cutback adhesive, was commonly used to glue the flooring tiles down. This type of adhesive was asphalt-based and most likely contains asbestos, whether or not the tiles themselves contain asbestos.
If we see this, our team carefully cuts samples and secures them for lab testing.
Asbestos Insulation Testing
Insulation was the most common building material where asbestos was used and can be found in a home or building. The key to safely collecting a sample of insulation is to work deliberately and methodically to avoid stirring up asbestos fibers and releasing them into the air.
Our testing process prepares the area first. We try to eliminate any air flow to prevent possible circulation of asbestos fibers in the air. We spread plastic sheeting when and where possible to block and capture any asbestos particles that do end up getting airborne. We wear disposable coverall suits and thoroughly mist the area where we work to ensure that no stray fibers will become airborne. All collected materials are stored securely in airtight receptacles for removal and transport to the testing lab.
Clean up after testing is performed carefully and methodically. All testing materials used are put in plastic trash bags that are sealed shut and taped shut. We vacuum the area as well, using every precaution necessary to make sure any asbestos particles captured remain that way.
Professional Asbestos Testing & Services in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
DIY Asbestos Testing Kit VS Asbestos Testing Pros
Asbestos testing kits may seem like a quick and easy-to-do solution to testing your property for asbestos. This convenience and ease of use though comes with some drawbacks:
First: Though a DIY asbestos testing kit may seem like the most inexpensive option, it’s often the case that the added lab testing fees cost significantly more than you’d expect. Occasionally, this added fee elevates the cost to about what you’d spend on a home inspection by an asbestos professional.
Second: Many products that contain asbestos aren’t dangerous unless they’re damaged or disturbed, but once they are compromised, asbestos can very easily circulate and pose a significant risk. For an untrained specialist, disturbing asbestos particles can easily happen inadvertently without proper training, experience and precautions that a professional brings.
Third: Knowing what building materials to test. You may think your property has asbestos tiles, but it may also have asbestos insulation and popcorn ceilings that should also be tested. An asbestos abatement professional, like Banner Environmental, can quickly look at the entire property and determine which areas need to be tested. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also requires all workers who deal with asbestos in existing buildings to be properly trained.
Commercial Asbestos Testing And Sampling Services
We also offer asbestos testing and sampling services for commercial, industrial and municipal buildings. View our commercial asbestos abatement services to learn more.
Hire The Right Asbestos Testing and Sampling Company
Banner Environmental Services possesses a trained, professional team of technicians who are licensed, insured, and equipped for safe, thorough asbestos testing and sampling. Serving all of Rhode Island and Massachusetts including Greater Boston, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.
- Free Estimates - Our trained and licensed technicians assess the damage and provide a free in-person estimate.
- 24-Hour Emergency Service - With our 24-hour emergency response, we will start working as soon as possible.
- Licensed and Insured - Our team is licensed and insured to protect you throughout your project..
- Professional Equipment and Techniques - We use professional-grade equipment and advanced techniques.
- Local Professionals - Our entire team is local to Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and trained and certified to safely restore your home.
- We Work With Your Insurance Company - We accept all insurance companies and can even work with them directly.
- Over 25 Years Experience - We’ve been in business for a while and have a stellar reputation of helping homeowners safely and effectively restore their home.