Identifying asbestos ceiling tiles

Identifying asbestos ceiling tiles

Before getting into the details about asbestos, it's important to point out one thing. We can guarantee that if your ceiling tile is an Armstrong ceiling, it does not have asbestos. Our ceiling tiles have never contained asbestos.


What is asbestos?

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), asbestos is defined as the following:

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. Asbestos has been used in products, such as insulation for pipes, floor tiles, building materials, and in vehicle brakes and clutches. Asbestos includes the mineral fibers chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and any of these materials that have been chemically treated or altered. Heavy exposures tend to occur in the construction industry and in ship repair, particularly during the removal of asbestos materials due to renovation, repairs, or demolition.


Asbestos: common myths

Nearly everyone has heard about asbestos and the dangers of asbestos. This is important when trying to identify it and to know about the potential dangers of it, but this also means there is a lot of misinformation about it. Asbestos is not discussed often enough and to help with the education of it, here are some myths:

You can safely remove asbestos on your own.
• There is a lot of false information about asbestos removal, and it's been a common myth that doing it yourself is safe as long as you wear a dust mask.
• Asbestos is most dangerous during removal if it has been disturbed or damaged, which offers a significant risk and could even be fatal. Only qualified specialists should remove asbestos because of the hazard involved.

All asbestos products look the same.
• Often, it is assumed that all asbestos looks like fluffy insulation, so it can be identified just by looking at it. However, asbestos was so widely used that it could be present in any building material - from ceiling tiles to paint. Because there is the potential to find asbestos anywhere, you should not assume that it can be identified just by looking - to find out if asbestos is present in a product, samples need to be taken and thoroughly tested in a lab.

White asbestos is not dangerous.
• Amosite (brown asbestos) and Crocidolite (blue asbestos) are considered the most hazardous forms of asbestos. Chrysotile (white asbestos) can still cause serious health issues and should be treated just as seriously.

Since asbestos was banned there's no need to worry about it anymore.
• In July 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out Rule, which would have imposed a full ban on the manufacturing, importation, processing and sale of asbestos-containing products. Most of the original ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce for most of the asbestos-containing product categories originally covered in this rule was overturned. And although most asbestos containing products can still legally be manufactured, imported, processed and distributed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the production and use of asbestos has declined significantly. But there is still a need to worry. Any building with older material, built pre-1989,, should be tested to ensure asbestos isn't present.


What does asbestos ceiling tile look like?

It is often difficult to identify asbestos ceiling tiles simply by looking at them. To know for sure if your tiles contain asbestos, it is best to contact a professional asbestos removal company to have them tested.

However, there are some signs you can look for to help you determine if testing is necessary.

Visual: What do asbestos ceiling tiles look like? Well, they are generally light in color with mild texturing, a powdery appearance, and small pinhole markings. They are square or rectangular in shape, and come in 2 x 2 or 2 x 4 sizes.

Location: In commercial buildings, asbestos-containing ceiling tiles were commonly used, so it's important to check everywhere. In homes, they were used in drop ceilings in kitchens and basements to cover ductwork. You should start there when searching for asbestos ceiling tiles.

Age: One of the easiest ways to guess if your ceiling tiles contain asbestos is to check the age of the tiles. Look for a manufacture date on the tiles. There should be a stamp on the back of the tiles, or if you have records of installation or leftover tile packaging somewhere.

If the tile was manufactured between 1920-1978, there is a good chance it could contain asbestos. However, Armstrong Ceiling Tiles have never contained asbestos. Homes built from the 1950s – 1980s are especially likely to have these tiles.

If your home was built after the mid 1980s, or the whole ceiling was renovated around that time, then you should not have asbestos ceiling tiles


What are Armstrong ceiling products made of?

Mineral fiber ceilings are our signature products, and are installed in all types of spaces. These tiles are made up of:

• 40%-50% of fibers: used for acoustics
• 20%-30% perlite: used for fillers
• 1%-10% of starch: used for binding
• 5%-10% of recycled ceiling panels: used for fillers
• 1%-10% of recycled paper: user for fillers
• Coating, scrim, and adhesive are the remaining components.

Disclaimer: If you are unsure what type of ceiling tile you have, we cannot guarantee that it is free from asbestos. The only thing that we can guarantee is that if your ceiling tile is an Armstrong ceiling, it does not have asbestos. Our ceiling tiles have never contained asbestos.


Asbestos FAQs

How do I know if my ceiling tile has asbestos?
Some quick ways to identify:

• Color & Texture  Light, Textured, Or Soft Tiles
• Size 2×2′ Or 2×4′ Acoustic, Drop & Suspended Tiles
• Date Of Manufacture Mid 1980's Or Earlier
• Manufactured By A Company That Used Asbestos
• Date Of Building Construction Especially Pre-1980's

We recommend you always contact a professional if there are any doubts.

How long does asbestos stay in the air?
Asbestos fibers may take 48 to 72 hours to settle in a setting with few disturbances. The dust is so light that if it is disturbed, it can readily become airborne once more.

Should I worry about asbestos tiles?
You should never try to conceal or remove asbestos tiles on your own. Materials containing asbestos should only be handled by trained professionals.


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