How to spot asbestos in your home

Grace Harper
Oct 7, 2020 12:30:00 PM

Many people have heard of asbestos in some way or another, but do people know what it is? Asbestos is a group of minerals which are made of microscopic fibres. Asbestos was commonly used in buildings for insulation, flooring and roofing and sprayed on ceilings and walls. Once it was discovered that asbestos was hazardous, it was banned in the UK. Buildings which were constructed before the year 2000 could have asbestos in them, but don’t panic if the fibres are undisturbed as the asbestos poses little risk when undamaged.

The dangers of asbestos

It’s important to highlight here that asbestos is not generally considered to be dangerous unless it is releasing dust or fibres into the air. Asbestos tends to release fibres and dust into the air when it has been disturbed, this is usually as a result of building work or demolition. Once inhaled these fibres attach to the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they can be removed, however if they’re swallowed or pass into the lungs, this is where the fibres can cause damage.

Ceiling tiles, floor tiles, undamaged laboratory cabinet tops, shingles, fire doors, sliding shingles etc which contain asbestos will not release asbestos fibres unless they are disturbed or damaged in some way.

Where is asbestos commonly found in homes?

Many homes built before the 1980s contain asbestos in:

  • Cement
  • Roof shingles
  • Steam pipes
  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Textured paint
  • Spray-on insulation

It isn't easy to tell whether something in your home has asbestos as modern asbestos-free materials will look similar, remember that it's most likely the older homes that have materials containing asbestos. The most common materials found in the home will be roof sheets and guttering, since 1976 British manufacturers put labels on their products to show they contain asbestos. A handy tip is asking your neighbours whether a survey for asbestos has been completed on the homes, if in doubt always seek advice through your local council or Asbestos Surveyors.

How to safely dispose of asbestos?

If you suspect you have asbestos in your home then it’s important not to panic. Asbestos poses no threat unless it has been damaged in some way and fibres are being released in the air. Check the condition of the asbestos materials from time to time, and if you begin to notice any deterioration or damage then get in contact with your local council. If you're about to undertake any building work then you must inform your builder before the work begins.

If you, or your builder, has found material containing asbestos in your home then please do get in touch with us and we'll be able to guide you through the process and help dispose of the material economically and safely.

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