Is this asbestos?

I found this in a home built in 1915. It is on an abandoned heating pipe I believe. Does this look like asbestos or some old styrofoam pipe insulation.

Note that a large number of the pipes in the basement have white duct tape and insulation which is of materials that have been known to contain asbestos. We are not licensed to inspect for asbestos and most of the material appears to be in good condition. Note that the certainty of whether or not a material contains asbestos can only be determined by laboratory analysis. Generally, asbestos is not considered hazardous unless it is friable. Friable asbestos has the ability to crumble in the hand.

Mark has a good blurb…asbestos-like wrap and in some of the pictures it does look friable (#2, for instance).

sure looks like it to me …don’t lick it !!!

sure does look like it… but you have to be careful saying so… just as Mark has stated…

That is definitely Asbestos.

But…You’re not a Lab and you are unable to verify this material by simple observations. So, protect yourself and simply report this asbestos looking material as follows…

Asbestos looking material was viewed on heat pipes at (location).

If the asbestos looking material is friable, recommend professional encapsulation or removal.

Very good answer Mark. Thanks.

I just have not seen this type before. It really almost looked like styrofoam. Most of the time the insulation that contains asbestos is more of a paper like insulation.

I don’t know if it is or not…but if it could be, I feel like the client should know of the possibility and of the next step if they are concerned.


The 1st picture does appear to be a styrofoam, which appears to be a totally different material (Asbestos) than what is applied to the piping.

Are you sure that both materials are alike?

This is the same type of material (Asbestos) that I thought I was looking at…

Notice the corrugated cardboard-like material.


I am pretty sure what was on the ground (first pic) and what was on the pipe was the same material. I am not affaid to say I had never seen this type before. What you have in your picture is what I have seen before. I didn’t take any chances though, I stated (for the most part) I was not licensed to inspect for asbestos, but that the material could contain it.

Suspected Asbestos containing material (ACM)
write it up this way, then your clear, encourge a bulk sample be sent to the lab and when results confirm or deny then amend your report to state either findings

It is definetly asbestos insulation, I see lots of this in Wyoming due the vast amount of older homes. It appears in the photos to have been disturbed & is a health hazard due to that. Take a look when the light is just right & I bet you can see the fibers floating in the air depending on if there is moving air in the vicinity. These houses scare me & I try to avoid them. I did one, one time here & the owner was on oxygen & had lung cancer, wonder why. The proper remediation for this condition, unfortunitly, is very expensive especially, if the EPA gets involved. I wouldn’t spend alot of time in the basement of this place breathing w/o a proper respirator. There is another type of this even older that is rolled cardboard soaked in an asbestos dip, then rolled like this around the piping. There is some that resembles the casting material used to cast broken limbs. Google “asbestos pipe wrap” & it will probably scare the bajebees out of you. I will see if I can find a pic of the cardboard type & post, I’m sure I have one. We get lots of fun stuff to inspect here in “Paradise”…

The corrugated cardboard-like material is referred to as “aircell” and is ACM. The other material is “mag block”. Styrofoam was not manufactured back then.

It is asbestos, however, it is totally safe 90% of the time.

Just tell your client it is “circular drywall”…haha