How to Paint Asbestos Walls


Asbestos comprised mineral fibers in plaster, pipe insulation and roofing on homes and buildings constructed before the mid-1970s, when asbestos was banned. These fibers become hazardous when airborne and inhaled, and are known to cause lung cancer, emphysema and mesothelioma. If you are renovating a home or building of that era or prior, it's important to not release these fibers into the air, thus preventing health hazards. When left undisturbed, asbestos is not a threat.

Things You'll Need

  • Oil-based paint/primer mixture
  • Paint spray gun
  • Plastic liner
  • Blue masking tape
  • Protective face mask
  • Rent or buy a paint spray gun from a home improvement store.

  • Buy however many gallons of your choice oil-based paint, preferably a paint/primer mix.

  • Mix the paint and pour into the spray gun and assemble as instructed to prepare to paint.

  • With blue masking tape, tape of the edges of the wall that do not need to be painted.

  • Cover floors and other countertops, items, furniture with the plastic paint liner to prevent paint from dusting onto these items.

  • Put on the face mask to not inhale any toxins or possible dangerous materials.

  • Spray the paint 6 to 8 inches from the wall to obtain the color and thickness desired.

  • Apply any additional coats of paint after the first layer dries, repeat this as necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Patch any nail holes or other uneven spots with plaster and smooth with your hand or finger only. Do this gently to not damage the wall and release any fibers.
  • If the wall is textured, you must leave it that way. Smoothing it flat will cause the asbestos to go airborne.
  • Many construction and certified painters are trained in asbestos awareness. Asking them to examine the wall or help with the project can save time and provide extra safety precautions.
  • Do not under any circumstances sand the wall with sandpaper or any rough surfaced object. This breaks up the materials and releases the fibers into the air.
  • Do not drill, cut, remove, or grind any holes into the wall. This will also release the fibers.

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  • Photo Credit drywall worker image by Sherri Camp from
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