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Sheetrock Asbestos Removal: What to Know

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

We’re much more aware of what we use to make common building materials now than in decades past. Many of the buildings that we live and work in were constructed using sheetrock (a specific brand of drywall sheet) containing asbestos, a substance we now know to be toxic. If you are planning any remodeling—DIY or otherwise—you want to ensure that you are not exposing your family or employees to asbestos. When removing asbestos, you can’t afford to get it wrong. That’s why you should call in the professionals: Atlantic Bay Contracting.

Asbestos in Drywall

Here’s a quick guide to asbestos and how to remove it from your property.

What is asbestos?

Most of us know that asbestos is a toxic substance in old buildings. But what is it exactly? Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous silicate mineral. Each fiber is made up of microscopic “fibrils.” Abrasion and other processes can quickly release these fibrils into the atmosphere. Large-scale asbestos mining began in the late 1800s after it was discovered that it is an excellent electrical insulator and highly fire-resistant. It wasn’t until the 1970s that we recognized its adverse effects on human health.

Where can you find asbestos?

Asbestos was often used in joint drywall compounds, the material used to fill the seams between drywall panels. As a result, it may be present in the joint compound used in your home’s drywall. However, it’s important to note that not all drywall joint compounds contain asbestos. That’s why we recommend you contact an expert inspection company to help you determine if an asbestos abatement job is needed for your property.

What buildings have asbestos?

We think of asbestos as being in old buildings, but how old? The truth is that buildings needing sheetrock asbestos removal may not be that old. Sheetrock containing asbestos was a common building material in the United States between 1930 and 1980. If your home or office building dates back then, it probably has asbestos. Asbestos bans did not begin to go into effect until 1977. Because of that timeline, manufacturers used asbestos in sheetrock into the early 1908s. Even if the sheetrock did not contain asbestos, it was even more common in the joint compound that holds the panels together.

Is there a way around it?

Not really. You might think that because you’re more likely to find asbestos in the joint compound rather than the sheetrock, you can avoid the edges of the panels, right? If only it were that simple. The joint compound goes in more places than just the joints. Builders also use it to patch holes and reinforce weak spots. Sometimes, there may even be a thin skim layer of joint compound spread across the entire drywall sheet. It is almost impossible to avoid hitting asbestos in some form when cutting or sanding sheetrock.

Is joint compound hazardous?

The joint compound is not inherently toxic, but certain types may contain harmful substances, such as crystalline silica, which can cause lung damage when inhaled. Prolonged exposure to joint compound dust can also lead to long-term health problems. If you have concerns about the compound's safety, it’s recommended to check the manufacturer’s safety data sheet for specific information on potential hazards and recommended protective measures.

Is drywall dust harmful?

Asbestos in drywall can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities, as it can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. It was banned from construction materials due to its association with lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other respiratory diseases.

If the drywall material is disturbed or damaged, such as during renovations or demolition, asbestos fibers can become airborne and pose a severe health hazard. Therefore, taking precautions when working with drywall in older buildings is essential, and testing the material for asbestos before any renovation or demolition activities are necessary.

Asbestos in Sheetrock

Do I need sheetrock asbestos removal?

Even if you’re not planning a remodel any time soon, removing any asbestos from your property is a good idea. The builders likely used asbestos materials if the building was constructed between 1930 and 1980. The safest and most effective method of sheetrock asbestos removal is asbestos abatement. Asbestos abatement is a set of procedures that controls the release of asbestos fibers from materials containing asbestos.

Safe and Professional Sheetrock Asbestos Removal

Atlantic Bay Contracting has 25 years of experience improving the quality of residential and commercial properties. For safe and professional

asbestos removal, contact us to consult with our trained and certified team.


Does Chinese drywall contain asbestos?

Some Chinese drywall manufactured between 2001 and 2009 has been found to contain high levels of sulfur and other chemicals that can emit strong, unpleasant odors and cause damage to electrical wiring and other metal components. However, modern Chinese drywall should not contain asbestos at this point.

Did Gyproc contain asbestos?

How can you tell if plaster has asbestos?


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