Asbestos 101: all you need to know

July 9, 2015 - 2 min read

If you are worried your home may have asbestos, here is everything you need to know and what to do if you find it. Always contact a professional if in doubt!

Asbestos is essentially a group of naturally occurring minerals that form bundles of fibres. Before the 1990s, asbestos was widely used in construction throughout Australia because of its affordability, as well as its heat, fire, and chemical-resistant properties. However, when disturbed asbestos particles can become airborne and make their way into your lungs – putting you at risk of lung cancer, asbestosis and other health issues. While it is now illegal to use this material, it is still prevalently found in older homes. Are you worried you might be at risk? We’ve done our research and provided you with a guide to establishing whether your house has asbestos and what to do if you find it.

How to check for asbestos

If your house was built or renovated before 1990, there’s a good chance your home contains some form of asbestos – most likely in your cement sheeting. It’s almost impossible to determine whether your property has asbestos just by looking at it – as it could be used in everything from your chimney flues to your hot water pipes. builder or asbestos removalist to come and evaluate your property if you’re concerned.

What to do if you find some?

Just because you’ve found asbestos doesn’t mean you have to demolish the whole house, or even remove anything for that matter. It all depends on where the asbestos is found, what condition it’s in and whether it’s bonded asbestos or loosely-bound asbestos. Loosely-bound asbestos is easily airborne, whereas bonded asbestos only becomes airborne when sanded, cut or sawed. So if you find some bonded asbestos deep within your home and in good condition, it may not be worth touching it at all. Again we suggest contacting a builder or asbestos removalist who can help you decide what to do.

Can you remove asbestos yourself?

If you find asbestos in your house, don’t touch it! As mentioned above, asbestos causes no threat unless airborne, and this won’t happen if you don’t disturb it. There are countless health considerations you need to take into account before asbestos can be removed, so please, for the sake of you and your neighbours, get professional help. If you have accidentally disturbed asbestos in your home, the best course of action is to wipe up any dust with a damp cloth, then put it in a plastic bag, tie it up and place it in the bin.

Click here for more information on asbestos prevention and who to contact for advice.

Professional help

If you suspect you may have asbestos or want to get some removed from your home, don’t put your health at risk—contact a asbestos removal expert.