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Last updateTue, 24 May 2022 10am

Asbestos in residential homes: what you need to know

If you live in a residential property built in the early 1970s, there's a big chance that your structure has asbestos. During that time, contractors used fire-retardant and insulation materials that had asbestos incorporated into the product. Recent studies confirmed that asbestos fibres, when inhaled, are harmful to your respiratory tract. They could cause inflammation and other respiratory problems, and even lung cancer in extreme cases.

If left undisturbed, asbestos wouldn't typically cause problems. The issue, however, would come from materials with asbestos that has been damaged over time. With many older construction products containing asbestos, older structures need to be thoroughly checked to prevent such problems. Manufacturers have identified the following as among the products which contain asbestos: attic and HVAC insulation material, vinyl floor tiles, glue attaching the floor tiles to concrete or wood, linoleum, window caulking and glazing, roofing materials, plaster and paint.

If you have a structure built in the 70s that you wish to remodel, it's not recommended to do it alone, as it comes with potential health risks. While it may entice you to wield a heavy mallet and hack away at walls and other structures around the home, you will need the assistance of expert demolition contractors like those from abruss.co.uk. Finding a service with proven expertise improves the chances of excellent results.

If you have an older house, you need to have contractors double-check the materials used. Here are some of the building products you may need to inspect: 

Steam pipes, boilers and furnace ducts 

If your house has a heating system installed, you need to have them checked for asbestos. Older steam pipes and ducts were typically insulated with asbestos material, including paper tape. Over time, these materials have already crumbled and have been damaged. If this is the case, you need to have them replaced with better and more resilient materials. 

Floor tiles 

If your property has vinyl sheet flooring, there's a big chance that the adhesive that sticks the material to the concrete or wood may contain asbestos. Don't remove it yourself because the asbestos may come loose, and you'll expose yourself to a health risk. Likewise, do not scrape or sand vinyl asbestos and rubber materials on your driveways or garages. 

Roofing shingles 

If you have shingles as a roofing material, you may need to have them replaced. The asbestos in these materials may loosen up due to continued exposure to the elements. The fibres will pose a huge health risk, especially for younger children. 

Textured paint and patching compounds

If your house has a textured paint job and there are patched up areas, there's a chance that these spaces contain asbestos, especially if they were painted a long time ago.

If you own a property built during the 1970s and 80s, you need to have it checked for asbestos. Hire experienced contractors to identify and safely remove the materials that contain asbestos.