Encapsulants: An Easier Method to Reduce Asbestos Hazards

Health & Medical Blog

When your building or facility is found to have asbestos-containing materials in place, you may be forced to do an entire demolition of the affected areas where asbestos was found. This is costly and must be done carefully so that no microscopic fibers are released as they are broken apart and removed from the building.

Another option is to use encapsulants to seal asbestos in areas where it is otherwise stable. This method of asbestos abatement is less costly than complete removal and it does not disturb the asbestos or release it into the air. This article discusses the two types of asbestos encapsulants and how they work.

Bridging encapsulants.

All encapsulants reduce or eliminate the release of the microscopic fibers that make asbestos so harmful to the lungs.

Bridging encapsulants form a thick skin, like a dried coat of paint, that becomes a barrier between the asbestos and the air. This bond with the asbestos is not as strong as that of a penetrating encapsulant, but for some areas and types of asbestos material, it is a cost-effective method of abatement.

Bridging encapsulants merely cover the asbestos material. They do not bond with it or improve its adhesion to other surfaces.

Although a coat of plain latex paint can act as a bridging encapsulant, care should be taken with any encapsulant to not overpaint the area. If the coatings become too heavy, they may chip off and expose the asbestos.

Penetrating encapsulants.

Penetrating encapsulants do just that: they penetrate into the asbestos coating and bind with it, setting to form a hard plastic like coating that seals in the asbestos fibers.

Penetrating encapsulants are thinner liquids when wet, and should be applied with airless sprayers rather than rolled or brushed on the surface of the asbestos-containing material.

Once they bond with the asbestos material, they help the material stick to underlying surfaces. Remember that penetrating encapsulants also make it much more difficult to remove the asbestos material later.

Other forms of asbestos sealers.

There are tapes and wraps designed to cover asbestos-containing pipes and other areas. There are also encapsulants that can be painted on surfaces while they are extremely hot or used on those surfaces that are exposed to other temperature extremes. There are encapsulants that dry white or clear and some that can be painted.

An asbestos inspection company knows the rules regarding asbestos removal and encapsulation. Speak with an asbestos inspection professional through resources like http://www.arguspacific.com to learn the facts about your responsibilities and choices regarding asbestos abatement on your property.


6 October 2014