With all the talk recently in our blogs about renovating and buying homes, we thought it was relevant to talk about asbestos. This is something anyone doing any work to a home built before 1990 needs to be aware of. We have talked about this topic last year in one of our blogs already, but we hope to extend our readers knowledge because it is something that home owners should always conscious of. So we don’t bore anyone, this blog will address some deeper information on asbestos than our other blog. You can click here if you are yet to read it. You will learn what the material is, what the risks associated with it are, and how to know whether your home is at risk.
Where is asbestos found?
In the home there are many places that asbestos is commonly found. During the times where it was used, it was very popular and seen as a staple in many construction jobs. Any room within your home could contain it as the material was very versatile as well as being so popular. Below is a short list of possible places where the product could have been used in the different rooms of a home. Bathroom, toilet, laundry – Cement sheeting in walls, ceilings and floors – Hot water pipes set into masonry walls – Lagging on hot water pipes Living areas – Insulation – Cement sheeting Kitchen – Vinyl floor tiles – Backing to cushion vinyl flooring – Hot water pipes set into masonry walls Exterior – Wall and roof sheeting – Imitation brick cladding – Lining under eaves Backyard – Garden sheds – Garages and carports – Dog kennels This is not to say that if your house was built before 1990 that your home is full of asbestos in all these places. This is just a warning that these are all of the places that asbestos could possibly be. Our asbestos blogs aim to be about awareness, not scare tactics.
How do I know whether there is asbestos present in my home?
It is extremely difficult to judge whether a building material is asbestos by just looking at it. The only way to be certain is to have a sample of the material analysed. You should get confirmation from a professional that the area is free of asbestos before carrying out any general maintenance, renovation or demolition activities. If you do not want to go to the expense of testing, then the material should be treated as though it contains asbestos. Something as simple as screwing on a house number is enough to release the particles and expose you and your family. If you believe you have asbestos present in your home, it is not always a time to panic however. If in sound condition, asbestos products are of much lower risk as long as they are not disturbed. Once there is damage to the asbestos product, this is when something needs to be done straight away.
How is asbestos removed?
A home renovator and owner-builder are only legally allowed to remove up to 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos material. For anything larger, they must obtain a certificate under arrangements approved or established by Queensland Health. When it comes to asbestos removal and renovation, there are a number of prohibited activities because of the potential to expose self, clients, family or neighbours with the hazardous fibres.
- Never use power tools, such as angle grinders, circular saws and electric sanders (unless enclosed or used with a device or process that prevents dust)
- Never use high pressure water cleaners
- Never use compressed air or abrasive blasting
- Never use household vacuum cleaners even if they have a HEPA filter. (Only specially designed cleaners for work with asbestos can be used).
Even though it is legal for a home owner to remove small amounts of asbestos themselves, we would not recommend it unless you are trained. If it is not dealt with properly, it poses a risk to not only yourself, but your family and neighbours. If you do not know how to do this, we highly recommend you source a professional. When hiring an removalist, make sure that the company you employ is fully licensed and experienced. Failure to ensure that the contractor carrying out the removal is licensed may result in both the company and yourself, as the property owner being fined. You should also make sure that the removalists license is appropriate to the job (Class A = friable and bonded where Class B = bonded only).
Our Asbestos removal services
You can hire us to remove your asbestos quickly and easily by reading more on this page or contacting us today.