Why you should be aware of asbestos when renovating your home
In recent times, home renovations have become the new norm. With online retailers selling DIY equipment and there being so many ‘How to’ videos on platforms like YouTube, people are being encouraged more than ever to take things into their own hands.
The dangers of DIY
With most of the country in complete lockdown for three straight months and having nothing to do apart from sitting around, the sudden surge of DIY makes sense. People like improving their homes, and when you’ve suddenly got an abundance of spare time, the idea of making a few home renovations is likely to be appealing.
But with home renovations, there is always a certain level of risk. You could break something by accident or pull a lever that was better left alone. You could end up doing so much harm that it would take professional assistance to rectify the situation. Or, you could end up unknowingly disturbing asbestos particles which had up until very recently been safely packed away.
Once asbestos packaging becomes damaged, the particles will become airborne, which is when they become dangerous. The effects of asbestos inhalation are well-documented and by now are known to be fatal in the long-term.
For this reason, if your property was built before the year 2000 needs to have a Refurbishment and Demolition survey prior to any significant works being carried out. This will not only protect your health but also save you time and money because if asbestos is disturbed by the work the property will need to be decontaminated by professionals before the work can continue.
This blog will explain why home-renovators should be aware of this extremely harmful substance not only just when they renovate their homes but at all times.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a group of six fibres which come together to form a highly-resistant substance. Asbestos was once widely used in the construction industry, most commonly as a spray. When sprayed onto a material, asbestos would prevent it from burning and from being damaged by heat and chemicals.
It was only in the last few decades that the true harmful nature of asbestos was revealed. Once inhaled into the lungs, asbestos fibres lodge themselves in the lung tissue and stay there for extended periods of time, causing deep internal scarring. This results in a number of irreversible conditions, such as lung cancer, pleural thickening and asbestosis.
When was it banned?
Asbestos was banned in the UK in August 1999. This explains why old houses, built before this date, are at danger of containing asbestos somewhere within their walls. The professional advice is to assume that your house contains asbestos if it was built before this date and to seek advice accordingly.
Where might asbestos be hiding?
Asbestos can sometimes be hard to spot, and there are a number of places where asbestos may be hiding in a house. While it was commonly used to spray walls, it was also used in many other scenarios. The highly resistant properties of asbestos made it extremely popular, which means in older homes it was likely to have been used generously throughout. This is why getting a survey and test taken can be beneficial in terms of locating all present asbestos.
That being said, here are some of the most common places where asbestos might be hiding:
In the loft
Asbestos was extremely useful at protecting insulative materials. By coating insulation with asbestos, it would remain in a better condition for longer which would reduce heat loss and save energy. If you have an older house and you’re doing any home renovation work in your loft or perhaps looking to clear out some space, you should consult an asbestos removal specialist first.
In the garage
We all love the idea of a garage renovation. Clearing out all that junk and maybe installing a bar in the corner or using the space to set up a home gym. But what you might not be aware of is that metal sheets in garages would have benefited greatly from asbestos. By coating corrugated sheets with the substance, you could protect them from rusting, corroding and from harsh weather conditions.
Before you go tearing down the old garage roof or knocking through the garage walls, give yourself peace of mind and ensure that no asbestos is present.
Underneath kitchen tiles
Kitchen renovations are without a doubt one of the most exciting things you can do to a house. While a kitchen may not necessarily seem like a place which could contain asbestos, the substance was commonly used underneath old tiles. Again, for its resistant and protective qualities, asbestos was a top choice when it came to making sure kitchen floors and walls would last longer.
Before you remove any kitchen tiles, you should check with a qualified asbestos professional. It might be the case that asbestos is present and that it needs to be removed and disposed of before you put in that shiny new tiling.
Asbestos is a substance that should be treated with the utmost care. According to the Health and Safety Executive, there are still over 5,000 asbestos-related disease deaths per year, including Mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. For a substance which was completely banned over twenty years ago, that’s a devastating statistic.
Performing a home renovation is no doubt a fun and exciting challenge which can be extremely rewarding in both the results and the feeling of saving money from doing the job yourself. While this is clearly a good thing, it’s important to be safe with your home renovation at all times.
Not only should you consult professional advice in terms of the structural layout of your home in terms of what can and can’t be knocked down, but you should also be wary of asbestos. If you have an older home and you aren’t sure if asbestos is present, then you should assume it is. It’s simply too dangerous to take the risk.
Here at Colchester Asbestos Services, we offer a comprehensive service that takes care of everything from initial surveying and testing to completely removing and disposing of your asbestos. We provide fast turnaround times to make sure the threat is eliminated as quickly as possible, and we work at competitive prices and will price-match any competitor. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you.
Get in touch today
If you are getting ready to start a home renovation project, whether in Essex, London, Suffolk or Kent, we can help. Give us a call or send us a message and we can provide a quote and then the help you need to tackle your asbestos.