What does Asbestos look like?
It is entirely possible that you might have asbestos in your office or home and not even realise it. To the naked human eye, asbestos can look like almost anything as it is a highly versatile material that was used in a wide variety of building products up until the mid 80’s. For this reason, visually inspecting your home is unfortunately not enough to discover whether or not you have an asbestos issue.
Where can I find Asbestos?
The most common places where this deadly material is found are roofing, wall and ceiling linings, soffits, gables & flooring. Asbestos can also be contained in
- Pipe coatings
- Floor tiles
- Artex ceiling finishes
- Wall & ceiling linings
- Boiler insulation
- Down pipes drains & gutters
- Roof sheeting
- Gaskets and rope seals
- Heat proof cloth
- Low-density fibre boards
- Vinyl sheeting
- Soffits, fascia’s & gables
The above however is by no means an exhaustive list, as manufacturers took advantage of the material’s various qualities, so it is unwise to assume asbestos is only contained within a handful of places.
What is the difference between friable and bonded asbestos?
The method used for safely removing asbestos found in your home will depend on the asbestos found, the condition the material is in, and whether the asbestos is friable or not. Non-friable asbestos is tightly bound with other bonding agents and therefore, not easily released. This type of asbestos has to be broken, cut, sanded, or sawed to be released. Friable asbestos however, is easily reduced to powder and can become airborne in a matter of seconds, making it extremely dangerous if breathed in.
Friable asbestos can be found in:
- Insulation on hot water pipes, heaters and stoves.
- Backing material on floor tiles or vinyl flooring
- Spray-on insulation or soundproofing
- Heat-resistant fabrics
- Textured paints or coatings
- Wall and ceiling linings
- Exterior and interior wall and ceiling linings
- Water or flue pipes
What should I do if I think I’ve found Asbestos?
If you suspect that your home or office may contain asbestos, it is so important that it is safely removed by an accredited asbestos removal company. Not only is it illegal to remove certain types and amounts of asbestos yourself, but it creates a huge health risk to your family, neighbours and yourself if you begin messing with materials that may contain asbestos.
Because asbestos materials are so prevalent in Australian homes, asbestos testing should be carried out before any renovation or demolition work commences, or if there are any areas of the home starting to degrade (such as in old sheds and external sheeting). Asbestos Removals Australia (ARA) is a fully licensed and insured asbestos removal company that can take samples of suspected asbestos containing materials and send them into a laboratory for analysis.