There's a room in my house that has walls made of a material that I've always thought was weird. It's not like normal drywall. Recently, I pulled up the base boards I got a better look at the bottom of the walls that had previously been covered by the base boards. I started wondering...How do I know if the walls are made of a safe material? I started thinking about it and am wondering if they could be made with asbestos.

The material is like an insulted board, made of some brown or black fibrous material, with a thin, wooden outer shell (like paper on drywall). It could be totally safe, I just don't know.

Is this a common type of wall board in older houses? Is it safe? I can't seem to find any resources to help me identify the kind/brand of wall board and whether or not it is safe. Can you provide some resources that will help me determine if this wall board is safe?

  • 5
    Can you posts a picture?
    – ChrisF
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 22:53
  • 4
    can you establish when this may have been installed? Where are you located? Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 10:50
  • It was installed any time before 10 years ago. The house was originally built in the 1940s but has gone through numerous remodels. The house is located in Oregon, USA.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 17:56
  • After much research, I think this material may be "Beaverboard" or a variation of it. Still hard to tell. I will post pictures.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 17:58
  • 2
    Even if it were asbestos, I'm not sure I'd be concerned. Asbestos is not poisonous, and it has no dangerous fumes. It's only dangerous if the particles are airborne and therefore breathable. You could eat it, lick it, probably even inject it without danger. But don't cut it/grind it/spew it into the air and then breath it. Especially long-term. So in most instances it's best if it's simply left alone. It's not that it cannot pose a threat, but I'm not sure it's the boogey man that it's generally considered to be.
    – Bob
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


You can buy an inexpensive asbestos test kit if you're concerned. One of my family members bought an old house and successfully used "asbestos test strips" from the local home warehouse store to determine that the floor tiles were asbestos.

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