Asbestos is actually a group of minerals naturally present as bundles of fibers that can separate as thin, durable threads. Since the fibers do not conduct electricity and resist chemicals, fire, and heat, asbestos was once widely used in the construction and building industries in items like floor and ceiling tiles. The Environmental Protection Agency and several other organizations have classified asbestos as a substance that causes cancer. For this reason, many homeowners choose to remove asbestos ceiling tiles. Doing so requires a special approach that includes some precautions.
You will need:
Step 1: To prevent asbestos fibers from getting in your hair or lungs or on your skin, you must dress properly for this project. Purchase a lightweight, full-body suit made from a cotton-like material. The suit should feature a hood and you will also need to wear protective glasses, gloves, and a respirator designed for asbestos removal.
Step 2: Remove all furnishings, plants, and other items from the work area. Cover the floor with drop cloths made from a material other than plastic. Asbestos fibers will stick to cloth but when plastic is used, the fibers can float back into the air. Purchase asbestos bags to hold the removed ceiling tiles for disposal.
Step 3: Turn off heating and air conditioning to prevent asbestos fibers from blowing into other areas. If the ductwork is exposed, close the vents. Otherwise, asbestos fibers could travel into the ducts and then be distributed when the heating or cooling system is in use.
Step 4: Use water to soak the ceiling tiles to prevent them from powdering. Fine asbestos powder covers fibers and is pressurized to make the tiles. When tiles are pried off the ceiling, the powder will permeate the air. Soaking the tiles with water prevents this.
Step 5: Remove the tiles carefully, working slowly and removing one tile at a time. Do not break a tile or fibers will be created that can travel through the air. As each tile is removed, carefully place it into the asbestos bag. Contact your municipality for disposal instructions.