How healthy is your (future) home?

This is a topic of greater interest as awareness grows about the impact some substances in your home can have on human health. (Thank you HGTV!) Locally, as the speed of the market compels more and more buyers to remove home inspection conditions, its increasingly important for buyers and homeowners to know the risks.

Here’s a few hazards tot be conscious of when touring a potential home. (If you notice any of these items in your own home, its always best to call in the pros to take a look. Most will do an onsite consultation for free. Even if it costs a few bucks, its not worth taking chances with your health. In Hamilton, we’ve used these guys to great success.)

Asbestos. This fibrous material was commonly used in building products, like floor and ceiling tiles, plaster and insulation, between 1920 and 1980. Once popular for its insulating and fireproofing qualities, the negative health effects due to prolonged exposure became evident in the 1990s and governments began heavily regulating its use. The good news? Asbestos is most harmful when agitated or disturbed. We ran into this recently and our project came to a screeching halt while we had an abatement conducted, aka, had our kitchen turned into a Dexter set. Tip: in homes of this age, assume its in the walls and factor that into your budget and timeframe when doing renos. Also, consider getting the plaster tested for asbestos before doing any renovation projects.

Mould. In order for this black fungus to flourish, it needs moisture and material to thrive. The scary part? That’s a lot of places in your house. However, common areas its found are near water sources, like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas and around window sills. Basements are also on this list, given the higher humidity levels usually found below grade. Tip: make sure rooms with water sources have exhaust fans and run a dehumidifier in the basement to help reduce the chance that mould can grow.

Lead Paint. Used in many homes built before 1960 and on home exteriors from 1960 to 1990, lead paint is most serious if its ingested. However, breathing in dust tainted with lead paint can also cause health concerns. When to act? If paint in the interior or exterior of your home is chipped or tearing away from the walls. Tip: if the age of the home falls into this timeframe, you can get the paint tested. In some situations, you can encapsulate the lead paint with a specifically made paint which will safely enclose it.

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