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Safeguarding Your Home Renovation: Tips for Asbestos Awareness

If you're embarking on a home renovation project in New Zealand, there's much more to consider than just colour schemes and décor. Renovations in older homes often uncover hidden risks, like asbestos. Asbestos is a hazardous mineral that, when disturbed, poses serious health threats. However, with the proper knowledge and precautions, you can ensure a safe and successful home renovation project. Asbestos Removals Marlborough investigates the dangers of asbestos and your next home improvement.

Renovations are all the rage, particularly as the weather begins to warm. Dreaming of knocking down that wall to make the loungeroom larger or pulling out that old, outdated shower can seem like a game-changer. And who isn't tempted by the DIY banter? After all, the TV makes it look so easy, and you can save so much money…right? This is certainly not always the case, and in fact, it could leave you and your family exposed to some severe nasties that could not only see your project come to a screaming halt but also hit your wallet with a hefty thump.

The Importance of Asbestos Awareness with Renovations

Before diving into your renovation project, it's crucial to understand asbestos. Asbestos was once a common building material due to its incredible heat resistance and durability. However, it was later discovered that inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to severe health issues, including lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma, and as the bans took place around the globe, the need to rid our communities of this deadly fibre became a massive task.

Today, it is still known as one of the biggest killers in the construction industry, and even though it has been banned for years in New Zealand, it is lurking behind many walls in homes and businesses throughout the country. This awareness is paramount regarding renovations, as any home built or renovated before 2000 will most likely contain asbestos.

Identifying Asbestos During Renovations

Asbestos can lurk in various places within older homes, and sadly, it is only possible to identify if you are a trained professional. Many other materials can mimic the look of asbestos.

The most common places asbestos could be lurking include:

  • Roofing materials

  • Ceiling tiles

  • Insulation

  • Flooring

  • Siding

  • Pipes and ducts

To identify potential asbestos-containing materials, it is crucial to consider a few basic questions before you begin your renovation. If you answer yes to any of these, it is highly recommended to call in the professionals to have this checked.

  • Was your home built or renovated before 2000?

  • Do you have textured ceiling coatings, often called "popcorn" ceilings?

  • When was the insulation installed in the home before 2000?

  • Do you have old sheds with trademark asbestos roofing?

What to Do If You Suspect Asbestos While Renovating

If you suspect asbestos in your home, the first step is to refrain from disturbing it. Asbestos is most dangerous when airborne, so don't sand, drill, or demolish materials that may contain it. Instead, contact a certified asbestos professional for testing and, if necessary, removal. Calling in the experts is vital; this cannot only save your health but also your budget. Contamination from asbestos can cause the entire worksite to shut down until the contamination is removed – this can also affect your contractors and neighbours.

The Importance of Working with Asbestos Removal Professionals

When it comes to asbestos, it's not a DIY project you want to take on. It's essential to engage with licensed asbestos removal experts. They possess the knowledge, skills, and safety equipment required to handle asbestos-containing materials safely. Cutting corners can result in the contamination of your living space, which poses a severe risk to your health and any others working on the project. When it comes to asbestos, it's just not worth the risk.

Asbestos exposure can lead to life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. These conditions may not manifest for years or even decades after exposure. Protecting yourself and your loved ones is paramount.

What Can Happen If You Contaminate the Area?

Contaminating your home with asbestos fibres can have severe consequences. The clean-up process is costly, and you risk spreading the contamination further, making the problem even more challenging to address. It's common to hear of neighbours being evacuated from their properties after a significant asbestos contamination. DIY can pose a considerable amount of health risks. The financial repercussions of asbestos contamination can also be substantial, stopping your project and possibly your budget.

Top Tips for a Safe Renovation

  • Prioritise safety and assume that materials in older homes may contain asbestos.

  • Hire a licensed asbestos professional to assess your property for asbestos before you begin.

  • If asbestos is detected, entrust removal to experienced experts.

In New Zealand, asbestos awareness is essential for safe home renovations. By taking these precautions, you can protect your health and the well-being of your family, neighbours and other contractors working on your dream project. This can ensure that your home improvement project proceeds without a hitch. Regarding asbestos, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

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