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Staging and Style

Watch for Asbestos When Renovating Older Homes: You May Be at Risk

Photo credit: BanksPhotos -iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rosie Rosati, guest contributor

As a homebuyer, it’s easy to understand the appeal of investing in an older home. After all, it’s the perfect opportunity to tackle a few DIY projects and renovations to give the place the custom touch you’ve always imagined. Although this can seem like an exciting endeavor, new owners may get ahead themselves without realizing their house may be harboring toxins from decades ago.

It’s important to understand the dangers of asbestos during home improvement projects and how to reduce exposure risks.

Measuring Your Risk

Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral that was revolutionary for the building trade until its carcinogenic nature was discovered. This toxin was once widely-used by the construction industry due to its resilience and ability to withstand chemicals and high temperatures. Although its health risks were discovered as early as the 1920s, the United States continued producing, importing and manufacturing asbestos-containing consumer products for decades.

Researchers concluded in 1960 that asbestos exposure could cause a wide range of long-term diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and a deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma. As more tradesmen came forward with asbestos-related illnesses, this mineral became known as a primary source of occupational cancer.

The mineral is heavily regulated today, but millions of people are still vulnerable to exposure due to its expansive use in residential homes and buildings.

Asbestos is only considered dangerous when contaminated materials have been worn down or damaged which unfortunately, is a standard part of most renovation or remodeling work.

Any sanding, grinding, sawing, drilling, buffing, or physical impact may cause these fibers to become airborne and easily ingested or inhaled by anyone in the general proximity.

What Homeowners Need to Know

Asbestos is nearly impossible to identify on your own because it’s often mixed within building products, but it is possible to identify a hazardous situation and take appropriate preventative action.

Before getting involved with any sort of home improvement project, you should always double-check that your property has been recently inspected by a trained professional. This simple step is especially important if you reside in a home built more than 40 years ago and has visible signs of aging. This bit of precaution could save you from developing an asbestos-related illness years later.

You should be aware of common products that have a history of containing the toxin and monitor their condition for any sort of wear and tear. Keep an eye on old insulation, ceiling tiles, vinyl flooring, joint compounds, door gaskets, furnaces, roof shingles, electrical wiring, fireproof products, and more.

Asbestos is known to be a significant threat when it is “friable,”  meaning it can be easily crumbled or crushed by hand. Spray-on insulation and spray-on ceiling textures are prime examples of products that once contained friable asbestos and have been found within residential homes today.

Unlike floor tiles and cement that must endure long-term deterioration before asbestos fibers are loosened, the slightest amount of pressure can instantly release these fibers, allowing them to be carried throughout the air and dust indoors.

Do not panic and try to remove any materials you think are toxic, as this will only do more harm than good.

Instead, block off the area and avoid any activity, including sweeping or vacuuming, which can exacerbate the situation and cause toxic dust and debris to travel even further throughout the house.

Restrict anyone from going near the area until a professional can take samples to confirm it contains asbestos. If the toxin is present and appears to be hazardous, the licensed professional can safely remove the toxin from your home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosie Rosati is with the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center. She is  a health advocate for anyone impacted by the aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma. She dedicates her time to educating the public on where asbestos is found today and how to prevent exposure. Her ultimate goal is to connect anyone affected by this rare diseases with the resources and support they deserve.

Staging and Style

Hot Home Trend: Furnishings With Curves

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Furniture is getting curvier this year. Softer lines, curves, and rushing are trending in design. Rounded options are pushing out the sharp-edge designs. It can be a nod to the 1960’s and ’70’s, but contemporary fabrics and details keep it from looking outdated.

Check out some examples.

Rounded chairs

 

Circular tables

 

Curved sofas

 

Rounded backs

 

Curvy ottomans

Community Real Estate

The Woodlands 26 Dove Trace

The Woodlands. Picture perfect one-story Village home across the street from a park with pool and courts! Open floor plan with 3 bedrooms, study plus flex space. Wide plank wood floors…Plantation shutters throughout…bay windows …spacious kitchen with lots of cabinets and counter space. Master with sitting area. New carpet in secondary bedrooms and flex room. Spacious multi-level wood deck with built-in seating. Enjoy living in this low maintenance home. Roof replaced in 2015 and HVAC replaced in 2015. Garage has a 5 ft extension…perfect for work space or additional storage and long driveway allows for extra parking. Walk to park and hop on the hike and bike path to 3 shopping centers. Within 10 minutes to Town Center. Cannot beat this location!

The Woodlands Indian Springs

Indian Springs is located south of Woodlands Parkway, north of Spring Creek and west of Gosling. This is the only village featuring actual hills in The Woodlands. In addition to John Cooper Private School, Falconwing Park and Forestgate Park is located in Indian Springs. Shopping areas include Indian Springs Center.

Neighborhoods in Indian Springs: Altwood, Cascade Canyon, Chandler Creek, Dove Trace, Eagle Rock, Hazelcrest, Heritage Hill, Hunters Crossing, Idlewood, Indigo Sky, Lansdowne, Legacy Point, Lenox Hill, Mirror Ridge, Peaceful Canyon, Piper Trace, Rushaven, Shawnee Ridge, Stellar Point, Teal Briar, Trace Creek

Community Creekside Park Real Estate

The Woodlands Creekside Park Village 39 Prairie Falcon

The Woodlands Creekside Park Village. Remarkable 1.5 story home with fabulous curb appeal in Tupelo Green Creekside! Great home for entertaining family and friends. Livable floor plan with 4 bedrooms downstairs in a split plan, and nice size game room upstairs with a half bath. Kitchen is open to family. Tons of storage and counters in this kitchen with beautiful stained cabinets, granite counters and a center island. Master suite offers a tray ceiling and bay windows. Wood floors in formal dining. Enjoy outdoor living on extended patio with pergola. Tupelo Park is at the front of this neighborhood and has courts, play and picnic areas, and pond for fishing. Creekside shopping is just a few minutes away. Enjoy all Creekside offers...shopping, restaurants, Rob Fleming Nature Trails, Aquatic Park, recreation center, festivals, 4th of July fireworks, art & sporting events. Zoned to highly acclaimed Creekside Forest Elementary. Easy access to Grand Parkway! Visit http://micheleflory.com/property/39-prairie-falcon-place/ for more info plus photo gallery.

The Woodlands Creekside Park Village

The Woodlands Village of Creekside Park is planned to be home to 7,100 new families. A mix of home styles, price ranges and homebuilders is found in the Village of Creekside Park, similar to the other villages in The Woodlands. Many of the same popular homebuilders who build in other areas of The Woodlands are building new homes in Creekside Park. New homes are currently priced from the $180’s to more than $3 million.

New homebuilding is underway in several neighborhoods located off the main entrance to the village on Gosling Road and in the neighborhood of Timarron off Kuykendahl Road. Sale of new homes and homesites is also underway in the gated community of Carlton Woods Creekside, home of a Tom Fazio Championship Golf Course.

Lakes & Parklands to Discover

Vast areas of parklands, totaling 1,850 acres, along with plentiful lakes and ponds, are the highlight of the new Village of Creekside Park. Here, you and your family can enjoy hiking, swimming, fishing, kayaking and canoeing, mountain biking, birding and other creative ways to commune with nature. It’s a true adventureland!

Many of the neighborhoods in Creekside Park are centered around parks or water features. A 72-acre lake and linear park, called Lake Paloma (Spanish for “dove”), extends east to west in the center of the village, acting as a scenic connector between neighborhoods. A 12-foot wide walking and biking trail will run along the banks of Lake Paloma. Major parklands include the 1,700-acre George Mitchell Nature Preserve, named in honor of The Woodlands’ founder, George Mitchell, and 20-acre Rob Fleming Park, named in honor of Rob Fleming, Texas Parks and Wildlife naturalist and artist.

A Vision Named for a Visionary

Trailheads will lead from several of the neighborhood parks into the 1,700-acre George Mitchell Nature Preserve at the northern border of the village. Two trailheads leading into The Preserve – one in the Village of Creekside Park and one in the Village of Indian Springs – are now open. Miles of soft surface trails are also open for hiking and birding. The George Mitchell Nature Preserve includes seven miles of frontage along Spring Creek, and is part of the Spring Creek Greenway Project, a joint effort of Harris and Montgomery Counties to amass 33 miles of Spring Creek frontage for a bi-county nature trail system extending from US 59 to Spring.

Rob Fleming Park features a Craftsman-style Pavilion; a playground; tree-lined promenades and groves of specimen trees; a naturally landscaped one-acre lake with lakeside conservation trail; a bluebonnet meadow; a field for community festivals; a butterfly garden; and a picnic area. A wildlife sculpture trail that will be a tribute to the artistry of Rob Fleming will be completed soon.