Written by Brett Abraham, Principal Consultant at Survey Asbestos | Thomas Consultants
Feeling inspired by renovations shows such as The Block NZ and thinking about renovating your house? Before pressing go on your exciting renovation check when your house was built. If your house was built before 1990, it is highly likely to contain asbestos. Houses built between 1990 and 2000 may also still contain asbestos so it is also best to check before undertaking renovations. Here are 3 tips if you’re looking to renovate
Tip #1 – Look out for asbestos in ceilings
Even if you are just drilling holes to install downlights or light fittings, the asbestos contained in textured ceilings will be disturbed and can present a very real health risk. While not all textured ceilings contain asbestos, it is impossible to tell just by looking at it and so testing is the only way to confirm if it does. Contact us to arrange a test.
Tip #2 – Check your Vinyl flooring
Vinyl floor sheeting incorporated a felt-like or paper backing which contained a high concentration of friable (easily broken) asbestos. This backing can be easily disturbed during removal, drilling or cutting for example and can present a very high exposure risk. It is common for asbestos containing vinyl flooring to be covered over with new layers of vinyl or carpet so it is strongly recommended to conduct an intrusive survey of your floor coverings before starting any renovations. Vinyl floor tiles also contained asbestos, which is bonded in the matrix of the tile itself. These were glued directly to the floor and it is important to note that the glue may also contain asbestos.
Tip #3 – Check for Asbestos cement (fibrolite) sheets and boards
Asbestos cement (AC) is the most common type of asbestos containing material (ACM) found in NZ and is found in a wide variety of places including external cladding, soffits, baseboards, roofs, gable ends and decking boards. It can also be found in wet areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundries. If it is in good condition and sealed (painted), it generally presents little risk to homeowners and occupants. While it can be easy to tell if some AC products contain asbestos, it is always best to have it confirmed by a competent asbestos surveyor and laboratory testing. It is also important to note that you do not have to necessarily remove all AC products during a renovation, only those products which will be disturbed
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