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Can You Put Drywall Over Asbestos? (How To)

Upgrading the home can be a stressful situation and when you find asbestos, you may wonder where to go from there. If you are doing drywall, can you simply put the drywall over asbestos or must it be removed?

If the material containing asbestos is in good condition, it can be encapsulated under drywall safely. The only time asbestos is dangerous is if it is damaged and the fibers become airborne and breathable.

renovation house

The answer as to whether you can put drywall over asbestos is yes, but it isn’t always so simple of an answer. You need to know what you are doing and you need to work carefully and properly so as not to cause additional problems for you and your family.

You will be happy to know that even government websites say that it is not hazardous just to have asbestos in a home or building. As was stated, damaged asbestos is what is dangerous because it can release fibers that are able to enter the lungs.

The website recommends that if there is asbestos material in your home and it is in good condition, the best thing you can do is to leave it alone. Therefore, if you want to cover it with drywall, you really aren’t causing any problems.

Can You Put Drywall Over Asbestos? (How To)

At the same time, however, it is important to recognize that there are times when you would not want to drywall over asbestos. If it is crumbling or has shown signs of damage, you may be better off having it removed. This will come at a cost.

Asbestos removal is a serious business and you will likely have to pay a removal company big dollars to come into your home and remove the material. They will be able to do so safely and properly, however, and they will even dispose of the material in the right way.

You should also recognize that covering asbestos with drywall will effectively encapsulate it. There may be some other factors that should be kept in mind, including what may be done before you install the drywall.

For example, you can paint over the asbestos material or perhaps use some primer, but that is not going to effectively encapsulate the asbestos and keep it from shedding fibers. That being said, many people who are covering asbestos with drywall will paint it ahead of time to give an extra layer of protection.

Finally, I would recommend that you work as safely as possible when you are dealing with asbestos. More than likely, you are not going to have to worry about exposure but it doesn’t hurt to wear the proper PPE for the job.

At a minimum, I would recommend wearing a Tyvek suit and either an N95 or a half-mask respirator. It is also a good idea to wear a face shield and safety glasses.

Anything you can do to protect yourself from the possibility of asbestos exposure will help to keep you safe and sound. In this type of situation, where the material is not damaged or shedding asbestos fibers, you can usually do the job safely.

Should You Put Drywall Over Asbestos?

Man installing drywall

We have already established that it is possible to put drywall over asbestos and it may actually be a good idea. We will now look at some potential problems you should watch out for when doing this type of work.

Screwing through Asbestos – One of the issues that you may run into is that you will have to put screws through the material that contains asbestos. This will damage the material and could cause asbestos fibers to shed.

You will not have to worry about this issue as long as the drywall is in place. If you remove the drywall at some point in the future, however, you do run the risk of being exposed to the damaged material that contains asbestos.

Damaging the Material – Along with screwing through the material containing asbestos, you may also run into problems where you damage the material in the process of hanging drywall. This is something good to keep in mind as well.

To put it plainly, any damage that occurs to the material containing the asbestos could cause it to shed fibers and be a hazard in the future. While the drywall is in place, it is not going to be a problem.

Future Removal of Drywall – When any work needs to be done on the home, you may need to remove the drywall at some point in the future. This could be a problem because you may be exposed to asbestos fibers at that time.

If the drywall does have to be removed, it is best to suit up and wear the proper PPE as described above. This will help to limit your exposure, even if it does occur.

Future Owners – More than likely, you are always going to remember the fact that there is asbestos material behind the drywall. A future owner of the home, however, may not be in the know.

It is unlikely that you are going to tell a prospective buyer that there is asbestos in the home. That does put them in danger, because they may remove the drywall without any thought of the possibility that they could be exposed to a dangerous hazard.

Keep in mind that there is no level of asbestos exposure that is considered to be safe. That being said, exposure to asbestos is not going to cause problems immediately and it takes years of repeated exposure over the long term for it to cause any permanent damage in most cases.

What Tools Do You Need To Put Drywall Over Asbestos?

tools for drywall

You will need to gather some tools together before you begin working on your home. If you are putting drywall over asbestos, gathering those tools together in advance will help the work to go smoothly and keep problems to a minimum.

Gather the following tools along with any others you feel would be beneficial:

  • Tape Measures
  • Levels
  • Drywall Square
  • Utility Knife
  • Cordless Drill
  • Chalk Line
  • Pencil
  • Drywall Knives
  • Safety Glasses
  • Tyvek Suit
  • Respirator

What Preparations Do You Need To Put Drywall Over Asbestos?

Man installing drywall

An important factor for doing any job around the home is proper preparation. Without it, you are unlikely to be happy with the finished project. What preparations are needed to hang drywall over asbestos?

Cleaning – Regardless of whether you are dealing with asbestos or not, it is always best if you have a clean area to work in. Make sure that everything is cleaned properly ahead of time and as you are working, make sure that you clean up the area regularly.

Safety – You can’t underestimate the need to work safely when doing any project. In dealing with asbestos, you would want to protect yourself from exposure that may or may not happen.

Always wear your safety glasses, but up your game while dealing with asbestos by wearing a disposable respirator, Tyvek suit, and face shield. Gloves, long sleeve shirts, long pants, and work boots will also go a long way to keeping you safe and sound.

How To Put Drywall Over Asbestos

confused man standing

Now that you have the area ready, it’s time to actually hang the drywall over asbestos. The process is not much different than doing any other drywall job.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on January 3, 2023.

Measure – Begin by measuring the area to be covered and purchasing sufficient drywall. Since you are covering over another material, you will likely want to use thinner drywall, such as 1/2 inch.

Mark and Cut – After measuring the area to be covered, if it is less than a full sheet, you should mark the sheet with a pencil. Use the drywall square to get a right angle and then cut along the edge of the drywall square with a utility knife.

You should try to cut through the drywall paper and a little of the gypsum underneath. Your goal is not to completely cut through the drywall, but to score it deeply so that it breaks easier.

After you score the drywall, tilt it up on its edge and use your knee on the opposite side to break the drywall at that score line. It is the weakest point of the drywall, so it should break cleanly.

At that point, use the utility knife to cut through the drywall paper on the other side. Be careful you don’t cut yourself with the utility knife, as it is easy to get your hand in the way.

Hang – It is easier to have someone help you hang the drywall because they can assist with holding it in place while you attach it. Otherwise, you should put it in place and hold it with one hand while you begin attaching it with the other.

Screw – Use drywall screws to go through the drywall and into the material underneath. In some cases, you may find it beneficial to use long drywall screws that will go the entire way through both materials and into a stud.

When you almost have the screw flush, slow down so you don’t puncture the drywall paper. You want to indent the paper with the screw but breaking the paper will compromise the holding power.

Finish – Finally, finish the drywall with some drywall compound. Put it on thin enough that You don’t have a lot of drywall compound to remove after it has dried.

You can use dry sandpaper but many prefer to use a sponge. This is known as wet-sanding and it accomplishes the same purpose without creating a lot of dust.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on January 3, 2023.

It is possible to cover asbestos with drywall as long as the asbestos is not damaged. The drywall will effectively encapsulate the asbestos and keep it from causing harm in the future.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on January 3, 2023.

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