How To Identify Asbestos in your Home (And Remove it!)

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Asbestos is practically a household name at this point. Most of us have at least heard the term in casual usage, and are aware of the dangers that it connotes. However, few of us have knowingly come across asbestos in our day-to-day lives, or would know how to look for it in a structure. Whether you’re just curious or you’re about to embark on a home renovation project, here’s how you can work out if your building has asbestos in it.

Photo by Josh Hemsley on Unsplash

1. How old is the building?

One of the basic ways of assessing whether your building could have asbestos in it is by looking into how old it is. Asbestos was widely used between around 1930 and 1980, although it wasn’t fully banned until the late 1990s. 

As a result, houses built after that time frame should be fine. Houses built before could, however, still contain asbestos, as there would likely have been at least some renovation work carried out during that 50+ year time frame.

2. Common asbestos-containing materials

If your house was built or had work done on it during that time frame, you’ll need to know what to look out for. While asbestos can come in a wide range of different materials and forms, there are a few examples that are more common than others. 

These include floor tiles, a kind of cement flooring, and a surface coating material called Artex. Learning what these materials look like can be a good way to prepare yourself to then identify whether there might be asbestos in your building.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

3. Testing

While the tips listed above are a good place to start, the only way you’ll know for sure whether your building has asbestos in it is by using an asbestos testing service. If you know that your building was built during a time when asbestos was being used, or you think you’ve recognised a common asbestos-containing material, then it’s worth using one of these services so that you can know for sure. You’ll normally just need to place a tiny sample in a container, and then you can send it off and wait to get your results.

4. Removal

If the results come back positive and it turns out that you do have asbestos in your building, then you might need to get it removed. Even if you’re not planning on working on that area of your property, certain asbestos-containing materials can start to break down over time, slowly polluting your living spaces

How the material is removed will depend on what kind of material it is, but it’ll generally require hiring a specialist removal service. It’s absolutely not worth attempting to do this on your own, as it could put both your own and other peoples’ lives at risk.

Asbestos shouldn’t be something that you worry about obsessively, but it’s definitely dangerous enough to merit a certain degree of care and concern. By testing for asbestos and then getting it removed in the right manner, you can minimise the risks of exposure and keep your building safe for use.

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram

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