If you are about to start carrying out DIY tasks around the house, it could be worth taking a minute to think about asbestos. You might assume that asbestos is not a problem you need to worry about – the substance was banned from use in 1999 – however, asbestos can still be present in properties built before 1999 so unless you are absolutely certain that your property is asbestos-free, it’s worth taking precautions.
Here we will look at whether you need to be concerned about asbestos in your property when you come to carry out renovation works and what you should do if you think there is asbestos in your home.
Is there asbestos in your home?
As we have established, asbestos can be found in any property built before 1999 as the material was previously commonly used for a range of purposes from insulation to being present in sprayed coatings and other building materials. Asbestos is very hazardous to human health if the fibres are allowed to get into the atmosphere so it is very important for you to understand whether asbestos is present, as DIY work is one of the most common ways to disturb the material.
An issue with asbestos is that it is not always obvious whether the material is present or not. Many things that look like asbestos are actually harmless, while asbestos itself can be hidden within other materials such as ceiling coatings (like Artex) or in cement. The only way to know for sure is to have an asbestos survey carried out.
What to do if you have asbestos in your home?
If you believe that asbestos is present in your property then you should first establish whether this is the case with a survey. In the meantime if you have any concerns about materials you should not attempt to remove or disturb them. Many people make the mistake of thinking that if asbestos is present, the correct solution is to remove it from the vicinity as soon as possible. However, attempting to move asbestos when you are not trained to do so can lead to you actually causing the release of fibres which is when there is the most danger.
Leave it to trained professionals who will be able to provide you with information on whether the asbestos is safe to remain where it is or whether you need to have it removed.