Asbestos Ceiling Tiles Guide

By PropertyClub Team
Jun 10th 2023
Ceiling tiles are one of the places where asbestos is commonly found in older homes. While it brings some undeniable benefits to the table regarding fire protection and insulation, it also poses a severe health hazard to people unfamiliar with asbestos and its health effects.

If you live in an older house that’s never been renovated, you might still have asbestos in various places of the structure, including the ceiling tile. The material can be difficult to detect without experience in the field and knowledge about specific applications. If you’re unsure whether your home may contain asbestos, it’s essential to get it professionally evaluated by someone who knows what they’re doing.

hash-markWhen Was Asbestos Used in Ceiling Tiles?

Asbestos was commonly used in ceiling tiles throughout the 20th century. While a ban was eventually enacted on the material towards the end of the century, it did not apply retroactively. As a result, many homes constructed with asbestos – including in their ceiling tiles – have remained unchanged. 

This can be a serious issue for homebuyers looking to save money on their purchase. On the one hand, homes with asbestos ceiling tiles are more likely to be listed below market value. On the other, buyers might be reluctant to order additional inspections because they don’t want to spend anything extra on their purchase.

If your home was constructed before 1980, there’s a good chance its ceiling tiles contain asbestos. Not only that, but the material could be used in various other parts of the home, including pipe lining and garage insulation.

hash-markWhat Do Old Asbestos Ceiling Tiles Look Like?

Unfortunately, asbestos ceiling tiles look no different than regular ones that don’t contain the material. Unfortunately, size is not a good indicator – while asbestos was prevalent in standard-sized tiles, it was also often used in more unusual designs, including custom-shaped tiles cut for specific home layouts.

The most reliable way to identify asbestos in your ceiling tiles is by getting a professional evaluation. Of course, this will cost you, but it’s the only way to ensure you know what you’re dealing with.

You don’t have to get someone to inspect your home on-site, but it will be helpful because the other option is to cut out a piece of ceiling tile and submit it to a laboratory for testing. The problem with this approach is that if the tile does contain asbestos, you risk releasing it into the air and inhaling it once you remove that piece.

hash-markIs Asbestos in Ceiling Tiles Dangerous?

By default, asbestos is not dangerous. It’s tightly compacted and poses no real health hazard in this form. It’s only when the material is disturbed that it becomes a hazard. Unfortunately, this can very easily happen by accident. For example, hitting your ceiling with a hard object while relocating things around the house or damaging a ceiling tile that you’ve removed for cleaning could release dangerous asbestos fibers. There is no shortage of scenarios where asbestos in your ceiling can be disturbed, spreading its harmful fibers through the air.

hash-markCan Asbestos Ceiling Tiles Be Covered?

Covering asbestos ceiling tiles is one option to alleviate the situation, but it’s not a complete solution. It’s still possible that the material may get disturbed after you’ve covered it up. Worse, you may not even be aware of the situation due to the additional cover.

This means that the safest way to deal with asbestos in your ceiling is to remove it altogether. This will be costly if you have a large area to cover, but it’s the only way to stay safe in the long run.

hash-markAsbestos in Ceiling Tiles Bottom Line

The threat of asbestos still lurks in many homes and takes various forms. You may have lived in a house containing asbestos for a long time without even realizing it. Your ceiling tiles are one of the most likely places where you might find asbestos.

And if you do, removing it is the best way to approach the situation, rather than attempting to cover it or temporarily push the situation back. So make sure to prioritize removing asbestos from your home as soon as you’ve discovered its presence, especially if you plan on selling the house soon.