Well, I have good news and bad news

Our story so far: We tried to be careful and responsible as we demolished the interior of the old Methodist church we intended to turn into our home.

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We also were warned we had asbestos in the walls.

If one thought lead and mold were bad, exposure to asbestos was known to cause lung cancer. And eliminating it was expensive. In fact, it was asbestos that had scared us off from going through with the purchase of a church in Pecatonica at one time.

On this project, however, we’d gotten such a good deal on the church, we figured if we found asbestos, we could afford to pay to get rid of it.

One former parishioner reassured us that only love flowed from those walls, and we believed her. But unlike some matters related to a church, this one we could test. We sent three samples to the laboratory: main floor ceiling tile, main floor wall sample and basement flooring, which looked a little suspicious to us. Within twenty-four hours, we’d learned the ceiling and walls on the main floor were mostly cellulose with no asbestos. Cause for celebration!

basement floor tile
This was an attractive and durable floor covering in its time. But it was not “rustic transitional” and would have to go.

The avocado green basement floor tiles lovingly installed by a couple who were active members of the church when avocado green was in vogue, however, were 3% chrysotile, a Category 1 asbestos-containing material. Category 1 was the least bad of the three types of asbestos, that is, not brittle, breaks by tearing rather than fracturing and does not easily release asbestos fibers upon breaking.

We got a reasonable quote for professional asbestos abatement, but since our structure was now privately owned, we could legally get rid of it ourselves. When we were ready to refloor the basement, we had the Tyvek suits, goggles and respirators to scrape up the flooring if we decided to go that route. But in the meantime, as long as we didn’t disturb the floor tile, we’d be fine.

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Tomorrow: Hey, this testing business is fun! Read about it here.

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