About a third of all Australian homes contain asbestos, and if your home was built before the mid-1980s, yours is probably one of them. Many people think of asbestos as an insulating fibre that hides inside your walls, but it can be hiding out in the open, too. If you plan on doing renovations, you need to be aware of these three surprising places this dangerous material could be hiding.
What is a carcinogenic mineral doing on your roof? Asbestos is a fire resistant material, and it's also very strong. Both of these characteristics made it seem like the perfect material to make shingles: your roof wouldn't burn, and it would last for a long time. When your house was built, the builders didn't know that asbestos caused cancer. If your shingles are still in good shape, you aren't in too much danger, but when they get damaged, asbestos fibres can be released into the air. This is why you shouldn't replace your own shingles, even if you're a competent handyman.
Vinyl floor tiles
Vinyl is a type of plastic resin that's still used today, but it's not made with asbestos anymore. Starting in about 1950, asbestos was added to vinyl floor tiles to make them stronger and less likely to catch fire. It was also very inexpensive, making it somewhat of a wonder material. Just like roof shingles, if your tiles are undamaged, you don't have much to worry about, but it the tiles get damaged, the asbestos fibres will become airborne. This is a major concern during renovations since you have no way of knowing if your tiles contain asbestos or not.
Electrical panels may seem like a strange place for builders to put asbestos, but it was used to prevent electrical fires. Your wires may be protected with asbestos cloth, and your plastic switches may also contain asbestos. Something as simple as replacing a blown fuse can put you in danger. Inspecting or maintaining the electrical panels can put you at risk, and renovating is even more dangerous.
Asbestos can be hiding nearly anywhere inside your house, which makes renovating both dangerous and difficult. You can't identify materials that contain asbestos by sight; only a lab can tell you if something contains asbestos. If you're thinking about doing renovations, contact an asbestos removalist first so that you don't unknowingly breathe in asbestos fibres.
For more information, contact a company such as ASBESTOP.