How to Find Asbestos?

Asbestos has been a bane to many home-owners, new and old alike, since its harmful effects were publicly revealed many years ago. Asbestos was a massive component of the building industry for many years before this discovery, it was a very durable, fire-proof and cheap building material, making it a favourite of building companies for many years before its potential danger was widely known. In Victoria alone it is estimated that 98% of buildings that were built before 1976 contained asbestos in one way or another, leading many to be concerned about how to identify the dangers lurking in their home. A good indicator of whether there is likely asbestos in your home or business is the date it was built or its renovation dates. If your home or business was built or renovated before 1990 it is very highly likely it has some type of asbestos within it, most likely cement sheeting or similar.

 

So, I can practically hear you asking yourself, how do I find the stuff and remove it? My house was built or renovated before 1990, how do I identify the issue and get that ticking biologically hazardous time bomb out of my house A.S.A.P? This is where some of an Asbestos Removal Bundaberg has the most fiddly and tricky work. It just so happens that Asbestos sheeting can look very close or identical to regular sheeting. This means that it can be very difficult for the average home or business owner to identify problem areas and keep themselves and their families/employees safe! This is where this mini-guide steps in to offer a hand!

 

The first thing to remember is that if you are in a house that was built or renovated before 1990, or even as late as 2003 when asbestos and products containing it were finally banned for good, depending on the property it is imperative that any surface that has not been tested by a professional – such as Asbestos Testing Bundaberg – should be treated as if it is asbestos. As a follow on to this reminder is that testing is the only way to be absolutely certain that a substance contains asbestos, and confirmation of this should be sought before any maintenance, demolition or renovation takes place.

 

Now, acknowledging that asbestos is best identified via a test, lets run over the possible forms and places you will encounter asbestos – noting that this is not an exhaustive list and should not be considered superior to a professional diagnosis.

 

Firstly, there are two types of asbestos that may be in your home, bonded (tightly-bound) asbestos and friable (loosely-bound) asbestos. Bonded asbestos is typically found as cement sheeting and, in an undamaged state is considered “safe” or as safe as asbestos can be. That being said, when this asbestos ages it can crumble and when damaged it can release asbestos fibres into the area. Bonded asbestos is generally the easiest to remove. Usually found on fences, sheds, internal walls and cladding external walls, it is usually a cement sheeting or insulation board.

Friable Asbestos is a different kettle of fish entirely. Due to its nature as a loosely bound material asbestos fibres are more readily and easily released into the air, putting you and your family at risk. This sort of asbestos should not be disturbed by anyone but a trained professional in an airtight negative pressure environment. Friable asbestos used to be used as insulation (look out for roof cavities if they haven’t been touched since the 90’s) and can be found in a wide variety of places around the home like pipe lagging and ceiling insulation. It is also found under linoleum or vinyl floor coverings in some cases.

 

Make sure to stay safe and test before you touch!

Further Reading:

For more info: http://www.asbestoswise.com.au

http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/health-and-safety/safety-topics-a-z/asbestos

Staying Sane When You Have Asbestos

Incredibly, asbestos was banned only banned in Australia in 2003. Leaving behind a legacy of doubt and uncertainty, not to mention the rise and rise of asbestos related diseases. Just when we think we have asbestos under control, the new wave of renovations across the country has again caused diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma to rise.

 

Who you gonna call?

Staying sane when you live in a house that has asbestos can be a real issue! If, you are unaware what you are dealing with. Asbestos can be a perfectly safe product if it is treated properly and receives timely maintenance. If the asbestos in your home is worn, weathered, flaking, cracked, broken or damaged in any particular way, call an asbestos professional straight away and stay clear of the damaged product. An asbestos professional will be able to tell you in the remainder of your home is contaminated from the damaged product or not. If you do not have contamination, while you have the asbestos contractor there, ask them about the condition of your current asbestos, do a walk around the home with them and ask them to advise you of each products condition. Keeping note of your asbestos and what date you checked it will be of great comfort to you.

 

TIP: Check with your insurance company to see if they will cover damage to your asbestos from events such as storms, cyclones, bush fires, floods etc. Many Australian roofs are made from asbestos and many insurance companies have elected to remove and replace hail damaged roofs knowing the contamination issues if not actioned in a timely fashion.

 

Where to look for asbestos?

 

  1. Roofing
  2. Fireplace and heater exhaust pipes
  3. Roof Gutters
  4. Outdoor deck under sheeting
  5. Blown in insulation, such as vermiculite
  6. Ceiling tiles
  7. Asbestos padding under fireplaces
  8. Textured or ‘popcorn’ ceilings
  9. Splash backs in kitchens, bathrooms & Laundries
  10. Soffit boards
  11. AC Fibro Sheeting
  12. Insulation around pipes and wires
  13. Fuse Box backing boards
  14. Downpipes
  15. Vinyl tiles & linoleum sheet flooring, and the adhesive that sticks it down.

 

 

Although asbestos is no longer in use, you will find all of these items in older pre 1980’s houses, sadly some houses built between 1980 and current day still have asbestos as not all builders have followed the rules. Many have suffered huge penalties and fines for not doing so. Asbestos testing Melbourne should always be used to ascertain 100% that you do not have asbestos in your home.

 

But what if I Do Have Asbestos?

As already mentioned, maintenance is key. A little known or discussed topic, apart from a clean removal of the asbestos from your home, is encapsulation. Encapsulation is quite under rated as a useful tool to manage asbestos. Possibly because in the past normal paint was used as an encapsulation tool, nowadays you can actually purchase a type of plastic paint that has been designed for one specific purpose, and that is to encapsulate asbestos.

 

TIP: There are two distinct asbestos material type. One is hard (Bonded asbestos), the other is softer (friable asbestos). If you do not already know about these two distinct material types, please ask your asbestos professional for further explanation and what type you have in your home. Without wanting to cause you too much alarm, bonded is dangerous, friable is EXTRA dangerous. Friable is such due to its softness and ability to crumble under hand or foot pressure, thus releasing fibres into the air which could be inhaled.

 

What about waste?

It is widely noted that the best way to treat asbestos is to have asbestos removal Melbourne, always look for a reputable contractor, one with great reviews is Asbestos Watch Melbourne. Remember that where there is a removal, there is waste product that will need to be disposed of, this can prove to be a costly exercise if not left to the professionals.

 

 

Further Reading:

Asbestos Guide –

http://asbestosawareness.com.au/gallery-videos/gallery/hazards-in-the-home/#houses-with-asbestos

https://www.australianasbestosnetwork.org.au/contact-us/

https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/environmental-health/environmental-health-in-the-home/asbestos-in-the-home

 

Encapsulation Products – https://thermaguardhrc.com.au/  https://www.fibrelok.co.uk/ https://flexcrete.com/asbestos-encapsulation/