Reasons you Should let a Professional Handle the Removal of Asbestos

Most people have heard about asbestos. It’s a naturally occurring mineral that’s found all over the world. For a long time, asbestos was used by humans as a material for all sort of things. It’s fireproof, chemically inert, and affordable. These traits lead to asbestos being used in everything from ceiling tiles to firefighter uniforms and artificial snow. However, much has changed since department stores used to keep piles of the stuff for kids to play in during the Christmas season.

It’s Dangerous.

The problem with asbestos lies in its structure. The mineral is made of very fine hair-like fibers. When inhaled, these fibers get lodged in your lungs. The trapped fibers can then cause many problems down the road. Most notably, exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to asbestosis and mesothelioma (a particularly nasty type of lung cancer). The experts at Aztec have the equipment and knowledge to remove asbestos without contaminating the area. When we abate the asbestos in your home or workplace, we make sure that everyone is kept safe.

It can be Anywhere.

Because asbestos has the potential to be so dangerous, it isn’t commonly used anymore. However, homeowners with an older house likely have asbestos lingering in their home. During the 50s over 1000 common household items contained asbestos. New homes may also have asbestos. Rigid, strong building materials like ceiling and floor tiles, siding, and roofing shingles often still contain asbestos. The asbestos in these materials is trapped and unable to escape as long as the material remains in good shape. When homeowners do renos to their own home, they may accidentally disturb asbestos if they don’t have the work site properly tested first.

Calgarians are required to have a professional test their home for asbestos before they can be issued either a demolition or renovation permit. This is because asbestos has the potential to cause great harm both to the renovator and everyone else exposed to the fibers. If asbestos is discovered in your home or if you need asbestos removed in order to move forward with a project, the experts at Aztec Group can help.

Have a question about asbestos in your home or workplace? Contact Aztec today; we’d be happy to explain our process and answer your questions.

Asbestos: Your Responsibilities as a Homeowner

Asbestos: Your Responsibilities as a Homeowner - Aztec Group - Asbestos Testing Experts

So you want to get a work permit for a renovation on your home, and you know that you need to do have the work site checked for asbestos or something. But what exactly are your responsibilities as a homeowner in this situation?

Getting the Premise Tested.

It’s up to you to have your home thoroughly examined for asbestos or asbestos-containing materials. Any materials that are going to be handled, disturbed, or interacted with in anyway during the work must be tested. This means having a professional team like the experts at Aztec out to take samples on site. We then test materials back in our lab. We’ll bring you our report. If you don’t have any asbestos, great! If you do, things just got a bit complicated for you.

Removing Asbestos.

Any asbestos or asbestos-containing materials must be removed before you can start your renovation or demolition work. Again, you’ll have to bring in a specialized team to carefully remove the asbestos from your home. This is not a do-it-yourself project. Our expert team has the knowledge to handle asbestos safely. We can keep you, your family, your neighbours, and our employees healthy while the asbestos is removed. No one lacking the proper training and equipment should attempt to remove asbestos.

Filling out the Appropriate Paperwork.

Once we’ve removed the asbestos, you can fill out your paperwork and proceed as usual. We understand that homeowners can sometimes think the extra paperwork is tedious and unnecessary, but it’s important to remember that checking for asbestos saves lives.

When you’re a homeowner hiring a team to renovate or demolish part or all of your house, the lives and health of the people you hire are in your hands. It’s up to you to make sure that the premise is properly checked for asbestos and that the contractor working on your home has all the information they need in order to keep their people safe. That means there can’t be any best guesses. Remember that disturbed asbestos could continue to release fibers into the air for years. Everyone who spends any amount of time in the home would be at risk.

If you’re planning a project that requires your home be tested for asbestos, you need to be certain: call in the experts. Contact us today.


Halloween Special: Werewolves & Witches

Halloween Special: Werewolves & Witches - Aztec Group - Mould Testing Experts Calgary

Most Canadians know about the Salem Witch Trials. These infamous hearings and prosecutions took place in Salem Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. They resulted in the execution of twenty people. Numerous more were imprisoned and all in all it was not a good time to be a woman or an outcast.

What the average Canadian may not know is that witch and werewolf trials didn’t start in Salem. There’s a long history of werewolf and witch trials in Europe. Thousands of people in Europe were tried as witches or werewolves between 1520 to 1630 and more than a few were executed.

So what was happening? Today, people understand that magic, witches, and werewolves aren’t real. But something was convincing the people of Massachusetts and across Europe that these things were a real threat.

One of the big differences is, that during the time, magic, witchery, and the power of satan was believed in literally. In fact, many religious people argued that not believing in demons, spirits, and witches meant not believing in God. Which at the time, was a pretty dangerous declaration to make. On top of that, people may not have been thinking straight in general. A variety of fungus that attacks rye — which was a fundamental part of the diet of poor European peasants and the residents of Salem — may have been a contributing factor.

Ergot fungi, like some varieties of mould, produce mycotoxins. These toxins can cause a variety of interesting effects in humans (as well as other mammals). First of all, the mycotoxins in ergot are hallucinogenic. In fact, the drug LSD was first synthesized from chemicals found in ergot. Hallucinogenic bread could explain why people were seeing things they couldn’t understand or thought were magical in nature. Between have a literal belief in monsters and suffering hallucinations from the food they were eating, it’s logical to assume fingers would start getting pointed as scared peasants tried to find the cause.

It’s also worth noting that the symptoms described by those cursed by witches in Salem and the symptoms caused by ergot poisoning are very similar. The victims of the witches described symptoms such as creepy crawling sensations in the skin, tingling fingertips, vertigo, tinnitus, headaches, disturbances in sensation, hallucinations, painful muscular contractions, vomiting, and diarrhea. All of these symptoms are also caused by ergot poisoning. Other psychological symptoms of ergot include mania, melancholia, psychosis, and delirium. This could explain the general histeria and craziness that was affecting those taking part in witch and werewolf hunts.

Historians and anthropologists are still arguing over the likelihood of ergot’s role in the trials at Salem and throughout Europe. Perhaps ergot played a large role, but perhaps it was only a small part of the insanity. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, and it’ll be hard to ever really know.

What does matter is that over the centuries a lot of people have died from coming in contact and consuming mycotoxins like the ones found in ergot and mould.

So while we spend Halloween handing out candy or taking our kids door-to-door, let’s spare a little thought for the origin of Halloween as All Hallows’ Eve and remember the tried witches, werewolves, and all people who weren’t (and aren’t) fortunate enough to live in a time and area where mass ergot outbreaks don’t happen.

Mould: Not Just in Homes… is Your Business Affected?

Mould: Not Just in Homes... is Your Business Affected? - Aztec Group - Mould Removal Experts Calgary

Nobody wants to imagine their home quietly rotting from the inside out, but houses aren’t the only building susceptible to mould. Public buildings, like libraries and schools, and corporate buildings can also be affected. Any building with enough humidity and a food source like drywall or carpet can develop mould, so it’s important to know how to recognize the early signs of infestation.

Moisture and Condensation are necessary ingredients for mould growth. High humidity levels in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms often leave a thin layer of water on the walls. Laundromats, restaurants, and other businesses with these rooms should keep a careful eye on the humidity level. In basements and storage rooms, the cold cement and walls may allow condensation even if humidity levels are relatively low. Where you find wet rooms, you find a mould problem waiting to happen. Adding ventilation, insulating cold walls, and installing a dehumidifier can all help.

Rotten or Mildew Smell is one of the first signs that something may be lurking behind the walls or under the floorboards. People may not outcompete dogs in a smelling competition any time soon, but we humans are still pretty great at detecting rot in our food or dwellings. If you catch a mould infestation when it’s just beginning to smell, there’s a good chance that the mould can be dealt with quickly and easily.

Small Flies and Visible Rot is a sign that things have gotten a little out of hand. When you don’t notice the moisture and ignore the smell, a large scale mould infestation is nearly inevitable. If you’re business has heavily discoloured ceiling panels, mould splotches on the walls or carpet, or small flies that are seemingly coming out of nowhere, it’s past time to call in the experts at Aztec Group. If your business is contaminated with mould, you, your employees, and your clients will be at risk for becoming ill.

When your home is affected by mould, your family and pets can become sick from the toxic mycotoxins. When your business is infested, you’re putting your employees and your clients at risk as well. Mould in a public or corporate building is a public health hazard that needs to be dealt with. If your business is experiencing any signs of mould call Aztec Group today!

Planning a Reno? Don’t Believe What you see on TV


If you enjoy watching home renovation shows you might get the false impression that home renovations are a lot cheaper and they can be completed a lot quicker than they can in the real world. On a typical home reno “reality” TV show, an army of contractors descend on a home, there’s lots of stress and drama, but in the end, the results are stunning. It seems like the work is completed in the blink of an eye and for a lot less money than one might expect.

Home improvement shows work on tight budgets so they rely a lot on donated materials or labour provided by contractors who get a lot of advertising by appearing on a show. When the final cost breakdown of a project is shown, the price may not include the real costs of labour and materials.

That beautiful kitchen reno that cost the homeowners $20,000 might actually be worth more like $50,000 to you and me. Before you start a reno project, it’s a good idea to price out materials yourself so you’ll have a realistic idea of how much it will cost you. Find out how much countertops, cabinets, and hardware will cost. Then, get labour estimates and add an additional 20% to 40% to ensure that you can cover unexpected costs that inevitably spring up. Reality TV can also give the impression that a major renovation can be completed in a few days to a week.

In reality, it can take two months just for kitchen cabinets to be built. One of the most important steps in a renovation is finding a reliable contractor to do the work. Good renovation contractors aren’t generally waiting for the phone to ring – they’re booking jobs two or three months down the road.

Last but not least, when you’re planning a reno, don’t assume that it will add an equivalent value to your home. The return on the investment of a reno diminishes over time.

While it doesn’t make sense to do a $100,000 reno on a mobile home, it also doesn’t make sense to do a $20,000 kitchen reno on a 2.5 million dollar property. If you’re thinking about renovating a home in Calgary or area, contact Aztec Renovations and Refit. This article was written by Doug Dumelie. Visit Doug on