It can be very difficult to tell if you have asbestos in your property. Whilst asbestos is a huge danger to human health it is also often misunderstood, and this means that you could be living with the material in your property for a long time without realising.

But if you begin to get suspicions that your home contains asbestos – what can you do? Here we take a look at how you can tell whether it’s asbestos or materials that might look similar.

Firstly, it should be pointed out that telling using the naked eye is almost impossible. Many materials that look identical to asbestos-containing materials are actually harmless, and vice versa.

Where you might find asbestos

Some of the commonest places to find asbestos in the home include as insulation and lining – however, there are actually a surprising number of places where asbestos might be ‘hiding’. Cement, floor tiles, and materials such as Artex can all contain asbestos as a constituent ingredient.

The challenge is in the fact that it can be almost impossible to tell the difference between materials that contain asbestos, and those that look the same. This means that if you are only judging on what the material looks like, you can’t be certain.

Better to be safe…

You should not take any risks when it comes to asbestos exposure. This is a material that can be extremely hazardous if it gets into the atmosphere. This typically only occurs if the material is in poor condition or is damaged (for example, during home renovations). So, if you have any concerns about asbestos in your home at all, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Work with professionals

Given that you cannot be certain about asbestos, if you do find any materials that you are concerned about, you should contact asbestos professionals immediately. The only way to truly know the difference between asbestos materials, and those that look similar is to have an asbestos survey carried out.

During a survey, potential asbestos-containing materials are sampled and sent to a lab to be analysed. If the samples are shown to contain asbestos then you can arrange to have the material removed, or create a plan to minimise the risk of exposure.