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Asbestos in Wallpaper Underlayment?

My husband and I recently purchased a home built in the 1940s. All interior and exterior walls are constructed of wood ship-lap which have multiple layers of wallpaper and paint. We started stripping the wall paper of the ship-lap in order to install gypsum wallboard. While removing the multiple layers of wallpaper we came across an underlayment which was applied to the wood ship-lap and beneath the wall paper. The underlayment is a grey, felt paper like material. We are wondering if such a material contains asbestos. In all the internet research we have done we can not find the exact product which was used as an underlayment. I am curious if someone has run into a similar product or has knowledge of such a product and knows whether it contains asbestos.


Re: Asbestos in Wallpaper Underlayment?

It is likely the cloth backing to a layer of wallpaper or a wallpaper that is cloth itsself.

Re: Asbestos in Wallpaper Underlayment?

How old is the wallpaper if it was installed before or around 1980 it could have asbestos. Though it also just sounds like thick paper. When you use water and steamer to remove wallpaper it will be pretty wet so not likely to get airborn, but you want to be safe. I don't know of it being put in wallpaper, but asbestos was put in joint compound, drywall, plaster, flooring tiles, sheet vinyl, black glue mastic, etc. You name it it was probally added at some point to the product. Do you have a lab near by that you can take a small sample to and have it tested? Here in Seattle we have a lab ( NVL Labs) that does test building materials. They also have some info on asbestos on their website. If it does have asbestos, you should probally hire an asbestos abatement company unless you are really brave and want to do it yourself. Lots of advice about that on the internet. Plastic containment, wetting down everything, proper safety equipment, etc. We did have asbestos black mastic glue in our baseement and had to have it abated after a flood damaged the flooring. It was complete nightmare so don't recommend that either. The abatement folks will get the asbestos off your walls, but probally dent and mess them up really bad as they are about getting rid of the asbestos, not anything else. We only had asbestos glue on a floor and the mess to the walls at the floor after abatement resulted in having to fix dents, etc and repainting every room.

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