You might be wondering: how do I even know if my home has asbestos?
You already know asbestos is a health hazard. Whether it’s just scratching the tissue lining your lung or has caused a particular type of cancer associated with its fibres, it’s liable to hurt someone if exposed to it. So it’s the right move to want to make sure it’s not a problem.
The safety and well-being of yourself and everyone in your home is important. You don’t want to risk their lives, so you’re willing to do some renovations to remove the fibres. The problem is that if you just go in blind, you’re going to make things worse.
The obvious option is to get an asbestos inspection done.
You have a new home, and you love it. However, you did the due diligence and learned it’s old. The age is part of the charm, but it’s still old. Old enough, in fact, that the building codes banning asbestos weren’t in place yet when construction ended.
You just bought a house, though. You can’t afford an inspection.
How, then, do you find signs of asbestos yourself? After all, it might not have any hazardous lining.
One way to do it is to look into the materials that were used to build the house. Most homes timber, brick, cement, or steel as primary materials. There might be other materials, thought.
Cement sheets tend to be likely to have asbestos fibres, bonded to the sheets. Rooftops with corrugated cement sheeting are at risk of having asbestos, for example.
Areas prone to wet conditions also have a high chance of having asbestos. The fibres are excellent insulators and have waterproofing qualities; you might find them in toilets, bathrooms, and laundries. They’ll often be sheeting in the walls or asbestos vinyl tiles if they’re on the walls and floors.
Pipes throughout an older building might also have anasbestos lining.
If you decide to do the inspecting yourself, remember to be thorough. Look into every room and every space. The inspection must go from the ceiling to the cellar, along with every space, shaft, and storage area in between. If there’s a cavity in the structure, you’ll need to go in and look around.
There are a few basic guidelines for typical people. Professionals tend to have the more detailed inspection guidelines they follow.
Here are the instances when the materials might contain asbestos:
- If you can’t identify the material that went into the spot
- If it can’t be accessed, there are high odds it has asbestos
- If you can’t otherwise be sure that it doesn’t have asbestos
The plans for a building often help when identifying an inaccessible area and the materials used. For the rest of it, you’ll need to consult builders, architects, and the like. Manufacturers of materials and maintenance crews can also help give you what you need to know.
However, in the end, the best choice is still a professional inspection. If you do it yourself, you’re taking a risk. Your lack of training means you might miss a detail or two.