Asbestos Testing

Asbestos Testing Calgary

With proper asbestos testing, the team at RGR Abatements can determine the percentage of asbestos containing materials and the type of asbestos fibres present. We can then set up timely asbestos removal. Asbestos testing is done by accredited labs to ensure accuracy. Prolonged exposure to asbestos causes an abundance of health issues that may not surface for as long as 20 years which is why asbestos removal needs to be done right. If asbestos particles and asbestos containing materials are found in your home, our team can determine the proper removal process.

Asbestos in the Home or Office

asbestos testing Calgary

Different types of asbestos can be found in many materials used for construction and machining. However, it can even be found in car parts, clothing, and lawn furniture. Asbestos fibre usage dates back to 4500 BC in Finland where inhabitants used the fibres to create durable pottery. Asbestos was present throughout ancient European civilizations but gained worldwide use during the industrial era of the late 1800s. By the 1970s, asbestos was used in thousands of products, including some right in the home. Some of the more common locations included:

  • Insulation
  • Textiles
  • Siding
  • Floor and ceiling tiles
  • Pipe and wall fixtures

Asbestos was heavily used in construction projects because of its heat and electricity resistance, durability, and cost-effectiveness to produce. Unfortunately, asbestos is often tricky to remove, which is why it is important to use removal experts. The asbestos removal process can be slow due to the surveying and testing required. RGR Abatements is the top team in Calgary for professional testing and asbestos removal.

Asbestos Testing

Asbestos testing can be time consuming, so a few preliminary steps must be done before a technician can begin his work.

  • Remove all air conditioners, fans, or anything that could blow asbestos fibres into the air
  • Close all windows and prepare your home for the testing team
  • Prepare to move to a far away room or leave the house entirely while the test is being administered

Testing Processes

Testing is done in one of two ways: material testing and air testing. Asbestos fibres are thinner than the hair on your head and impossible to detect without proper equipment. Asbestos has no distinct odor, and the particles are too small to be seen with the naked eye. There’s no way to tell if fibres have been inhaled until it’s too late.

Your asbestos inspector will determine if material or air testing is needed. Often, asbestos isn’t hazardous if it’s away from heavily used areas and isn’t broken or frayed. Asbestos fibres are only dangerous if directly contacted, so out of the way spaces with asbestos material may not need any work done. However, if the asbestos presents a problem, testing will be done to figure out the proper course of action like asbestos removal.

Your technician will likely cover walls and floors with a plastic coating to prevent asbestos fibres from traveling throughout the building as indoor air quality and air monitoring are key to occupational health and safety. Sometimes, a binding agent (i.e. something wet) is sprayed to keep asbestos fibres in place.

Air Testing

air testing

Testing the local air for asbestos removal is the most common and cost-effective method. The primary air test is done using Photon Contrast Microscopy (PCM) and looks for the quantity of different fibres floating in the air. Fiberglass, gypsum, and other organic and inorganic fibres can be found using this test. While this analysis is quick and cost-efficient, it does not identify asbestos fibres specifically. To do that, a stronger microscope is required.

A more detailed test can be done using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). This test is strong enough to determine asbestos fibres from other materials present in the sample. While longer and more expensive, using TEM for air samples is the best way to learn if asbestos fibres are in the air. TEM testing is so exact it can even determine which of the different asbestos fibres are present.

Air testing is often done prior to asbestos removal and after the asbestos abatement process has been completed to ensure the air quality is safe and healthy.

Material Testing


Material testing comes in several different forms depending on the type of substance being tested. Since so many various products could contain asbestos, methods for sampling are dependent on the material. Some different types of elements to be tested could include:

  • Soil samples – these samples are used in environmental investigations. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and asbestos deposits in nature can because hazardous after weather events or natural disasters.
  • Building materials – using a magnifying technique called Polar Light Microscopy (PLM), researchers can determine the percentage of asbestos fibre in a particular building structure. The sample is smashed into dust, and the polarized light helps identify asbestos fibres from non-asbestos fibres.
  • Water samples – this test is mostly done by municipal governments during renovation or replacement of pipes and underground water channels.

After samples have been acquired, they are sent to an accredited lab for testing. Depending on the type of test performed, results could be seen in hours or weeks.

Asbestos is a danger to health and safety, air quality and anyone living or working in a residential or commercial building that might be contaminated. Asbestos fibres are microscopic and can easily be inhaled into the lungs without notice. Our experts will solve your asbestos issues whether they occur in a single family home or large industrial complex. Contact us today for peace of mind with our asbestos inspection, asbestos testing, and asbestos removal services. We provide both residential commercial asbestos services in Calgary and surrounding areas.