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10 Places to Find Asbestos in the Home

Asbestos can be found in a whole host of interesting places, particularly in the home. Undertaking renovations, even in a simple form can expose you and your family to this toxic fibre. Asbestos Removals Marlborough takes an in-depth look into where you might find asbestos lurking in your home.

DIY is all the rage around the country. Transforming older homes into something fresh and beautiful is a joyous experience for many homeowners. The endless television shows and expert tips on YouTube spurred the drive to 'do it yourself'. However, it does come at a risk. Many DIY enthusiasts need help understanding the risks asbestos poses. In fact, if you're living in a home built or renovated before the year 2000, chances are you have some asbestos hidden behind walls, floors, and roofing.

Before you start renovating, a good understanding of the risks and the knowledge of where you could find asbestos is imperative. It is important to note that asbestos that is not damaged or deteriorating does not pose a problem. However, if you intend to remove or renovate areas containing asbestos, you must understand the risks and regulations involved.

1. Roofing

Asbestos is very commonly found in corrugated cement roofing. It is highly advised to have this type of roofing (known as super six) looked at by an asbestos removal professional. If you have super six corrugated cement roofing it is not advisable to pressure wash this material as it can release harmful microfibres into the air. This type of roofing is also widespread on old garden sheds and garages. Old asbestos roofing panels can pose a real problem for renovations as they are known to become easily brittle. Before attempting to remove roofing, it's best to ensure you are not dealing with any asbestos.

2. Seals & Caulking

If you are renovating an older home, your window seals could also contain asbestos. Asbestos was commonly utilised to seal windows. However, as this sealant ages, it can easily crack and release asbestos into the air.

3. Exterior Cladding

Deemed as the wonder material of its day, until the deadly aftermath, it is no surprise that asbestos could be lurking on your exterior cladding. Unfortunately, cladding can also conceal asbestos cement boards.

4. Gutters & Downpipes

If you have an asbestos roof, chances are your gutters and downpipes are also made from the same material. If they are not, they will most likely also be contaminated. Asbestos will look like concrete around the guttering.

5. Pipes & Ducts

Known for its excellent insulation properties, it's no surprise asbestos was used in pipes and ducts. So it's an ideal plan to get these double-checked before removing or upgrading.

6. Vinyl Tiles & Flooring

When renovating an older home, removing outdated vinyl flooring is the first thing to be considered. But buyers be warned. As popular as they were in NZ, most also contain a friable asbestos backing.

7. Wallpaper

As with vinyl flooring, care must be taken when removing wallpaper, particularly in much older homes. Many old vinyl wallpapers also contained asbestos. If the previous owner had wallpapered over the top of old wallpaper, you could be exposing yourself to this deadly fibre.

8. Electric meter boards

Homes built pre-1983 will most likely contain asbestos-containing electrical meter boards. Fuses and their backings may also contain asbestos. Never attempt to remove these yourself. You must seek professional advice for your health and safety.

9. Ceilings

Popcorn or acoustic ceiling were all the rage back in the day. Sadly, most contain asbestos. Also, keep an eye out for asbestos ceiling tiles, the popular and affordable option for many older homes.

10. Eaves & Insulation

Houses built between 1930-1950 could still contain asbestos insulation. Having your home checked before removing any old insulation is highly recommended. Eaves or soffits can also contain asbestos – particularly if you have an asbestos-containing roof. It's always best to get it checked before drilling or removing.

Older homes may also contain asbestos in textured paint and patchwork for walls. Asbestos Removals Marlborough suggests that all older homes be inspected before undertaking any DIY work. If you are calling in the contractors to carry out the work, it is also best to bring up the 'asbestos' topic with your chosen builder to prevent contamination. This will not only prevent a risk to your health, but it can also save you thousands. Contamination in homes will be costly to fix, put your health at risk, and have the site deemed dangerous until the clean-up is complete.

If in doubt – get it checked out!

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