Asbestos: Where does it hide around your home?

In a recent blog we talked about domestic asbestos; the danger of asbestos in homes and who is responsible for managing it, but where exactly are you likely to find asbestos around the home? The below list highlights a few of these places.

External

Asbestos was used in many products, including external construction such as in roofing felt, cement gutters and downpipes, soffits, cement roofing and cement panels.

Image of Cement Pipe

Internal

  • Vinyl floor tiles/Flooring products

This type of old flooring is often found beneath carpets. Asbestos can be contained in both the floor tiles and the bitumen/backing used to stick the flooring down. Sanding this material can lead to fibre release.

Image of asbestos flooring
  • Texture coating

Did you know that asbestos was used so extensively that it can even be found in decorative texture coating, such as artex? That’s not to say it exists in every single decorative pattern in your house, but it’s worth knowing whether it does or not if you’re planning on getting rid of it. By having the material sampled, you can find out for certain if it contains the deadly material.

Image of texture coating to a ceiling
  • Toilet seats and cisterns

Asbestos was often added to older toilet seats and cisterns to strengthen the material. These items usually have low friability, but should still be treated with caution.

Image of an asbestos-containing toilet cistern
  • Fuse Boxes

Some of the older fuse boxes contain textile (rope-like material) asbestos behind the fuses. Due to its non-flammable properties, asbestos was used to absorb the flames in the event of a flash. In some cases the back panel may also be made of AIB (Asbestos Insulating Board).

Image of textile flash guards
  • Airing cupboards

Sometimes AIB can be found in airing cupboards, likewise, sprayed asbestos insulation coatings can be found around the boilers and associated pipework etc. Both materials have high friability and pose a great risk of fibre release.

Board to Airing cupboard
  • Partition walls

In some cases, asbestos insulating board was used in partition walls with the sole purpose of preventing fire from spreading.

Image of AIB partition walls
  • Window panels

Asbestos insulating board or asbestos cement boards can sometimes be found to window panels.

Asbestos window panels
  • Loose insulation

This material can be found in places such as wall cavities, loft spaces and under floorboards to insulate the home. This material is considered to be one of the most dangerous because it is raw-crushed asbestos, and has the potential to release high amounts of fibres.

Loose asbestos insulation

As discussed in our recent blog ‘Domestic Asbestos’, these are just some of the common places asbestos can be found. Aside from other places asbestos could’ve been applied professionally, as we’ve discovered on recent jobs, there is also the risk of previous home owners ‘applying’ loose asbestos to items and is often in poor condition, unsealed, and potentially poses a huge risk to the home owner, or those carrying out works in the property. So it’s best to be vigilant and contact the professionals if you suspect you have asbestos in your home. That way you can get the best advice and help in dealing with the dangerous material.

Always remember: there is no such thing as safe asbestos!