Firstly, there are a large variety of products within the home that have had asbestos added, and the age of your property will play a big factor as to the likelihood of finding any.
All homes built before the year 2000, may have asbestos products within their fabric, but the variety and amount is likely to increase if it was built between the 1950’s and 1980’s. If you live in a Victorian terrace for example, the probability of the original structure containing any asbestos is remote (but not impossible) so the asbestos containing products that may be there, are likely to have been introduced as part of a refurbishment, redecoration or building maintenance. If you happen to live in a barn conversion which was converted back in the 1970’s, I would not be surprised to find an asbestos board or two, as they were as common as plasterboard is now.
There are literally hundreds of different products that contain asbestos, but in the home some are more common than others. One of the most common is Artex (asbestos reinforced textured coating). There was a time when it seemed every wall and ceiling was plastered with this decorative finish, but thankfully those times have passed! Thermoplastic floor tiles were commonly laid across hundreds of thousands of floors and they also added asbestos into the bitumen adhesive to ensure they were firmly fixed down. These are not so common now – as many have been replaced – but the old “shires lynx” toilet cistern was reinforced with asbestos fibres and many a flue pipe or vibration pad under your sink would be found to contain this harmful substance also.
Here’s a question. When was the last time you replaced your ironing board? Amazingly, some people hang onto, and even hand down ironing boards to other family members, but there is a risk. I do occasionally find ironing boards with asbestos heat pads, so it’s a worthwhile item to check. Another advisable location to search is your loft. If you venture into your attic, you may come across an old asbestos water tank (hopefully, no longer in use!) These were quite often left behind after new boilers or tanks were fitted, as they were too large to fit through the loft hatch. And lastly, asbestos cement was widely used in various forms and locations: garage walls and roofs, plant pots, waste pipes, porch canopies – in fact, it was used so liberally, the potential list of locations could be endless.
If you have any concerns regarding asbestos within your home, why not give us a call and we can offer you a full survey or some targeted samples. Like I always say; better safe than sorry.
Author – Chris Firth, Senior Asbestos Surveyor