Asbestos: The History

Asbestos: The History - Aztec Group - Asbestos and Mould Experts Calgary

Asbestos isn’t a man-made material; it’s actually a group of naturally occurring minerals similar to garnet and other silicate stones. Asbestos has many useful physical properties such as being heat resistant, chemically innate, electrically resistant, strong, and sound absorptive. There are asbestos deposits occurring on each continent which means it’s also abundant and affordable.

Ancient World Asbestos Use. When people think back to the most primitive human tools and materials, they usually think of the stone age. Quite fittingly, as asbestos is a mineral and stones are made of minerals, asbestos has been found in stone age debris dating as far back as 750 000 years ago. Speed forward several hundred thousand years, and archeologists have discovered candles and lamps containing asbestos used as early as 4000 B.C.E. Asbestos was also used in the embalming process by Ancient Egyptians, found in clay pots (thought to make them more heat resistant) created by Ancient Finns, and spun into cloth by the Ancient Romans.

The ancient world was where the side effects of asbestos were first observed. Slaves who mined, sewed, and worked with asbestos were found to develop lung diseases. However, it would take until the modern age of the 2000s, for Canada to close their final asbestos mine for good.

Middle Age Asbestos Use. Many of the same uses found in the ancient world continued into the middle ages. Napkins and table runners were woven with asbestos, so they were resistant against fire. An important attribute when a castle is lit by candle light. The dead were wrapped in cloth made from asbestos, and it was used and mined across Asia by Russians, Mongolians, and the Chinese. As society approached the end of the renaissance and entered the modern age, asbestos fibers were also used in the clothing worn by firefighters.

Industrial Revolution Asbestos Use. The industrial revolution saw an explosion of asbestos use. No longer a novel material used in a few items, the industrial revolution fueled new inventions, and creators loved asbestos. Asbestos mining became mechanized, and by the early 1900s, more than 30 000 tons was produced annually. Everyone including women and children were involved in asbestos mining and product creation. During the height of its use some 4000 everyday household items like hair driers and toothpaste contained asbestos.

The Fall of Asbestos. With the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, asbestos use began to decline world wide. While privileged individuals had noticed the link between asbestos and lung diseases as early as the ancient world, it took until the 20th century for the general public to realize that working with asbestos had major repercussions. Trade unions were demanding safer working conditions, and by 2005 asbestos was banned throughout the European Union, Australia, Switzerland, and the UK. To the south, our American neighbours had also effectively banned asbestos through legal deterrents and consequences. In 2011, after a long political battle to protect its asbestos industry, Canada finally closed its last mine.

Few materials have such a long or complicated history of human use. Despite our knowledge now, asbestos still lingers in many older Canadian homes and products. It’s important to be aware of how asbestos can still sneak into the air of your home or workplace. If you have any questions about asbestos, contact Aztec Group today!

Choosing your Mould Specialist

Choosing your Mould Specialist - Aztec Group - Calgary Mould Experts

Discovering mould in your home is stressful. Nobody wants to deal with that, but if it happens to you there isn’t much of a choice: the mould has to go. But how do you select which Calgary mould removal team is best for you? Well, it’s going to depend on your specific situation, but here are a couple things nearly any Calgary homeowner should ask or do. It’s up to you as a homeowner to decide what answers you want, what you can live with, and which things are the most important to you, but it’s still a good idea to gather as much information as you can.

What’s their process? Each company is going to work a little differently; before hiring your mould specialist, it’s a good idea to know what services they provide and how they go about things. You’ll want to ask how they do testing. Are they just going to check the air quality inside the home? Just do a visual inspection for mould? Will they check the humidity level? Are they going to look for water damage? Will they take samples back to their lab for testing? A responsible mould specialist will do a little bit of everything.

You may also want to check if the business you’re thinking of hiring only does mould inspections or whether they do mould removal as well. Some teams, like Aztec Group, also specialize in constructions, repairs, and renos. We can help you get your home back to looking its best after the mould has been removed.

Do they carry Insurance? A reputable mould specialist is going to have insurance. Insurance is there to protect them and you if something goes wrong. If the company you’re talking to doesn’t have insurance — or they claim they do but refuse to provide you with a copy, it’s best to just move on.

How many years they’ve been in business? It’s important to know how much experience your mould removal specialist has. This is your home you’re talking about after all! You don’t want a bunch of amateurs having access to your house and taking your walls apart. By working with a team that’s at least a few years old, you’ll also know that they’ll still be around — and that you’ll be able to get a hold of them — if problems occur later.

Do they have some sort of guarantee? What happens if you have a team come in to remove all the mould, have them renovate to fix the problems with humidity or leaks, and then have more mould grow back? Do they have a guarantee for their work? What’s their policy on recurring problems?

Are they prepared to recommend an independent indoor environmental professional that can provide you with a post remediation verification report? A post remediation verification report is what proves that your home is in fact empirically free of a mould problem. Some Calgary homeowners feel that their mould removal team has a conflict of interest when providing this report themselves. If you agree, you may want to ask for an independent professional.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when choosing your mould removal team. Fortunately, the internet has made it easier than ever to check for online reviews and get information on the businesses in your area. Before choosing a team, be sure to shop around. Pick out two or three specialists, ask them questions, and call their references. If you’re looking for a mould removal expert in Alberta, add Aztec Group to your maybe list and call us today!

The Dangers of Untreated Mold in Your Home

The Dangers of Untreated Mold in Your Home - Aztec Group - Mould Experts Calgary

It’s unfortunate, but a lot of times mould isn’t the first thing wrong with a home. Usually it starts with a plumbing problem or a roof leak. Homeowners who have just had to do a major fix to get rid of the water source, may feel they can’t afford to also deal with the mould. Some Calgarians are in a position where they wonder just how long they can wait, or they try to fix the problem themselves and make the situation worse.

Mould Around Us. You’ve likely heard that mould spores are all around us, and it’s true. Mould is a natural part of the air inside and outdoors, so the human body is perfectly able to handle low concentrations of it. However, when you can see mould growing or smell decay in your house, the concentration has already begun to rise higher than what your system is typically dealing with.

First you’ll begin to feel sick. 40% of people have allergies to mould spores, and even those who don’t often get sick can experience runny noses, itchy eyes, and other cold symptoms. If you have any pets, they’ll likely get ill faster than you. While you’re blowing your nose, small animals like cats may develop fungal infections and be constantly nauseous. Children and the elderly are also susceptible to the nastier symptoms, and they’ll develop faster in these demographics.

Complete Contamination. Wait too long and your entire home will be taken over by mould. The house will be worthless and any possessions made from natural materials – books, clothing, furniture, and more – can all become homes for growing mould.

It’s important to remember that, as with most household problems, it’s advisable to fix a problem before it gets out of hand. Fixing a little mould is expensive, losing your home to an infestation is much worse. If you have a mould problem in your home, the experts at Aztec Group can help. Contact us at 587-315-5001 in Calgary or 780-328-6603 for Edmonton.

Top 3 Things to Upgrade When Doing Commercial Office Renovations

Top 3 Things to Upgrade When Doing Commercial Office Renovations - Aztec Group - Renovations Experts Calgary

Is it time to renovate your office or long past time? There are many advantages to owning your own location, but dealing with renovations isn’t one of them. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about a landlord deciding to renovate at an inconvenient time. However, now you have to wonder what renovations are going to be the best use of your money.

Electrical. While your priorities are going to depend a lot on your specific business and office, investing in upgrading the electrical system is rarely the wrong way to go. Better lighting will make your whole office feel bigger and brighter. That can be a huge improvement for your employees and clients a like. If you’re a high tech company, installing new outlets may also be a good idea.

Plumbing. Nothing makes or breaks an office space like the washroom. A well-kept, clean washroom is more pleasant for everyone; a gloomy, smelly one may very well have your clients wondering what else is subpar behind the scenes.

Aesthetic. People prefer working and doing business in a place they can take pride in. Sometimes a new coat of paint and renovating the floor can make all the difference. If you have carpet, try upgrading to something easier to keep looking clean and professional. If you already have a floor you like, maybe add some new baseboards or renovate the ceiling.

When it comes to renovations, only you are going to know the best decision. However, the experts at Aztec Group are here to help! Have questions, need advice, or want a consultation? Call us today at 587-315-5001 for our Calgary location or 780-328-6603 in Edmonton.

Is Your Restaurant Ready for a Makeover?

Is Your Restaurant Ready for a Makeover? - Aztec Group - Asbestos and Mould Experts Alberta

At Aztec Group, we understand why most of our clients view us as Calgary’s asbestos and mould experts. However, removing hazardous wastes, abating asbestos, and cleaning up mould is hardly all we do. Our team is also proud to provide professional renovation services for all of Alberta. You may be wondering why having a team like the one at Aztec Group would be better than one that focuses solely on commercial renos. Here are just a few reasons why we’re the better choice:

Humidity and Mould are problems that can plague any business, but restaurants with all the steam from cooking, dishwashers, etc. often really struggle with keeping moisture levels down. By working with Aztec Group, you’ll have a team of people who know how to counter mould and prevent humidity issues at every turn. We’ll use every tip and trick we know about mould prevention to design and build the perfect mould-resistant restaurant. Just because some commercial spaces are vulnerable to mould, doesn’t mean yours has to be.

Professional Work on Time on Budget. Here at Aztec Group, we pride ourselves on our professionalism, transparency, and teamwork. We love working with businesses across Alberta, and we understand that that means being on-time, on-budget, and on-task! Whether you have ceilings to replace or floors to do, need electrical work done or have plumbing problems, Aztec Group is here for you. And because we’re certified to work with Asbestos and other hazardous materials, no nasty surprises will slow us down.

A One Stop Shop. We love being here for Albertans. It’s why we only hire the best team members. We want to provide only the best services to Albertans from start to clean up. It’s why we combined our talents for renovating with mould and asbestos removal. With the many skills our experts have, we know we can see a job to the very end no matter the bumps along the way. Our team of experienced professionals is WCB licensed, fully insured, and completely bondable. That means the only question is: what are you waiting for? Contact Aztec Group today!