Buying an older house and transforming it into your dream home can be an incredible adventure. You can combine the history and character of the original dwelling with your own personal touches to create something truly unique. If the house was built before the 1980s, however, there’s a good chance it contains asbestos.
It’s common knowledge that asbestos is incredibly dangerous. Renovations to older homes can release that asbestos into the air, contaminating the surrounding area and putting those nearby at risk.
Don’t let this get in the way of your plans because, with the help of the team at About the House asbestos removals, you can carry out your renovations in a safe, cost-effective manner.
Where can asbestos be found?
Asbestos can be found throughout older homes, often as insulation, cladding or lining. Because of this, certain rooms and areas are more likely to contain asbestos.
- Asbestos cement was often used to line the floors of bathrooms, kitchens and laundries
- Fibro cement sheeting contains asbestos fibres and was used for cladding the outer walls of houses. Fibro was particularly common in garages and sheds and comes in many forms, such as corrugated sheets, patterned sheets and weatherboards
- Ropes and blankets woven from asbestos fibres were often used to insulate hot-water pipes and boilers in older homes
- Asbestos fibres were used to fill roof spaces. This type can be extremely dangerous as they’re likely to become airborne even if undisturbed. It’s always best to consult a specialist before doing anything in an older house’s roof
How dangerous is asbestos?
Aussies often wonder, ‘should I be worried about asbestos?’ The truth about asbestos is that it’s incredibly dangerous, and still very prevalent in Australian homes. When asbestos is disturbed and becomes airborne, it’s highly toxic and potentially deadly. People who are exposed to it are at an elevated risk of developing cancer of the lungs and chest lining. Yes, it’s that serious.
However, it can take decades for these cancers to form, which is why it took a long time for doctors to realise just how dangerous this mineral is. Asbestos remains in many older Australian homes, so it’s imperative to minimise the risk of exposing your family to it by having your house thoroughly inspected before undertaking renovations or repairs.
How do I deal with asbestos in a home I’d like to renovate?
If you’re planning to buy an older house, it’s important to have it inspected by licensed asbestos removal specialists. They can help you through every stage of the process, to ensure it goes smoothly and everyone is kept safe.
If you suspect that areas of your home contain asbestos, and have already been disturbed or broken, then you should clear the house of occupants until the potential hazard can be assessed and dealt with.
There are strict laws in place across Australia regarding handling and disposal of asbestos, so doing it yourself could actually be against the law.
Don’t try to clean up potentially contaminated debris by yourself – leave it to the professionals. They can conduct a thorough survey of your home and, in the event that asbestos is present, remove it safely and efficiently.
If there’s no airborne asbestos, a professional inspector can advise you which materials in your home are likely to contain it. If these are in areas you plan to renovate – which is very likely with an older home – they should be removed before any work is started.