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How Asbestos Impacts Your Home Renovation: Part 1

Posted January 20, 2020

You may be considering making some big changes to your home, but before you start tearing down walls and ripping up tiles, we want to make sure you not only understand what designated substances like asbestos are, but how they impact your home renovations. In his latest two-part series on CTV News at Noon, Amsted President Steve Barkhouse reviewed some of our past projects that were impacted by designated substances like Asbestos, as well as what the process is to remove it.

Most people have heard of asbestos, but they may not know just how prevalent it really is. Designated substances like asbestos are an important consideration when you’re making changes to your home. However, despite the fact that having “designated substances” in your home sounds a bit scary, they don’t have to stop you from completing your renovations.

In part one of his appearance on CTV, Steve reviewed how we worked with two of our clients to overcome the challenge of asbestos in their homes.

Taking on Asbestos

Asbestos and other designated substances can be a big issue when it comes to renovating you home. While it’s not the ideal situation, you can still proceed with your plans as long as you take the proper remediation actions first.

We’ve worked on many homes that had to go through remediation before we could begin, and they have all turned out amazing despite those hiccoughs at the start.

Opening Up the Kitchen 

These homeowners wanted to expand the kitchen and create an open-concept living plan. During forensic testing—a part of our pre-renovation investigation of a home—both the drywall and the stippled ceiling were found to contain asbestos.

Kitchen: Before

As you can see, the kitchen was closed-off from the rest of the house. Before we could tear down those walls to open things up, we had to bring in the experts to take out the asbestos from the drywall and ceiling.

We know no one wants to hear they have asbestos, but if you’re going to be removing walls, you need to make sure it’s safe to do so. Once the asbestos was gone, we were able to create that open, family space they wanted.

Kitchen: After

The kitchen was completely gutted, including the wall between it and the family room. We redesigned the layout to allow for open viewing through the whole area. And a spacious, dark wood island adds contrast to the otherwise light-coloured cabinets and counters.

French pocket doors were added to the dining room (seen in the background here). Because we were going to be digging into the drywall, we needed to make sure the asbestos was all taken care of.

Upgrading The Bathroom

Your master bath should be an oasis, and these homeowners knew their current setup wasn’t working for them. With a total redesign, they were able to create a unique space. The tiled walk-in shower makes a statement, the oversized vanity gives plenty of space for the couple, and the full-sized mirror helps reflect all the natural light from the two windows.

Open-Concept Living

The goal of this renovation was to maximize the storage space and increase the amount of natural light. The plan involved opening the walls to create an open floor plan that allows for light to flow from room to room. However, asbestos was discovered in the drywall and the old vinyl floor.

Even though the project presented challenges, we worked with the client to create a new layout that promotes seamless transition between rooms.

Kitchen: Before

It was crowded and dark in this kitchen, with only one source of natural light. Outdated cabinetry, appliances, and floors weren’t the inviting environment that the family wanted.

Kitchen: After

What a difference a wall makes! Now that the walls are gone, the light from multiple natural sources filters throughout the main floor. Now, everything feels much more connected and spacious.

With bright white cabinets in the kitchen, a sleek island, and grey cabinets continuing into the dining area, the home has much more storage than before. And having the cabinetry flow from the kitchen through the dining room adds to the cohesiveness of the design.

Living room: Before

Keeping a consistent look throughout was extremely important to the homeowners. The original living room felt disconnected from the rest of the home and not set up in a way to optimize the space.

Living room: After

By creating this feature wall in the living room with a custom shelving solution surrounding the fireplace, the usable space is increased significantly. The shelving matches the cabinets in the kitchen, which helps the eye flow from one space to the next in this newly opened up space.

What’s important to remember is that asbestos doesn’t mean you have to cancel your renovation. It just means there are a few more steps involved before you can get to the fun part of building your dream home.

In part two of the CTV News at Noon segment, Steve digs deeper into those designated substances, with examples of where they would typically be found in your home. He also explains your responsibility as a homeowner when it comes to designated substances.

Get more details on remediation steps in Part 2 of Steve’s CTV appearance. 

Plus, homeowner obligations regarding designated substances