How to Test for Asbestos in your Home

If you’re about to start work on a renovation project or have come across some material that looks suspicious it’s important that you need to know how to test whether it contains asbestos before you continue with your plans.

Don’t worry, there’s lots of information on how to test whether asbestos is lurking undetected inside, or indeed outside, your home.

The very first thing to do is you’ll need to dig into the history of your building to find out when it was built, whether it had any improvement works carried out and if possible, when that work was completed.  If your house was built or had any works done prior to November 1999 then it is quite possible that there may be asbestos related materials inside the structure of the building.

Even if any works were carried out after this date there will still be a chance that some materials containing asbestos may have been included through sheer ignorance of the dangers of this product or, of the contractors not knowing that what they had purchased, contained asbestos.

Not all countries banned its use at the same time it was banned in the UK so it is perfectly likely that manufacturers in other countries may have supplied asbestos related products to UK markets.

Once you know how likely, due to the age of your property, there is to be asbestos within your property, you’ll need to know what materials need testing and how to do this safely.

Testing for Asbestos and Staying on the Safe Side

It would be safe to say that if you have any suspicions at all then testing for asbestos makes sense and it’s both cheap and easy. You’ll find UK retailers like Amazon and other similar outlets sell cheap and easy to use kits to test for the presence of asbestos.

Because of its versatility, asbestos was used in a wide variety of everyday materials, here’s a handy list of just some of the common products that you may need to take samples of to test for asbestos.

wall and ceiling boards

floor tiles

insulation boards (AIB)

loose fill insulation in ceiling or floor cavities

cement products such as soil pipes, guttering and flues

textured coatings such as Artex

roofing felt

A word of caution here, just because you may know how to test for asbestos in your home doesn’t mean that you should actually do the testing yourself.  Although materials that are in good order and with no obvious damage to them should be safe, the same cannot be said if you come across damaged materials or material that is likely to be disturbed as you carry out your renovations.  In this instance it is safer to get a professional asbestos survey carried out.

If you decide to go down the DIY route, then you can purchase asbestos testing kits for between £30 to £100+.  These come complete with the necessary PPE, sample packaging and instructions on how to test for asbestos.  The cost usually also covers the cost of testing your sample at a UKAS accredited laboratory but some don’t, so it is worth checking. Take a look at the advice given out on how to carry out asbestos testing safely on HSE’s website.

Obvious Health Risks

Due to the health risks that can be associated with this hazardous material we’d recommend letting the professionals take care of the testing, after all they know exactly how to test for asbestos and how to keep everyone safe while they carry it out.

Your Next Best Option

Using a third party company to test your asbestos is a sensible bet and once the results are in, if it turns out that you do indeed have asbestos in your property then you need to decide how to deal with it.  A professional survey will give recommendations on whether it is safe to leave in place using an encapsulation method or, whether it should be removed.  They’ll also let you know whether you can safely remove it yourself or whether you should let the experts handle it for you.

Again, in most instances of removal, getting a professional asbestos company such as JS Removals will give you qualified peace of mind that all the work is carried out safely and the asbestos is disposed of legally.

Final thoughts are yes, it is possible to learn how to test for asbestos in your home but this is probably one of those areas best left to the professionals.

 

See also

Asbestos, from the Stone Age to Today

Asbestos, from the Stone Age to Today

Known to have been used in the Stone Age around 4,500B.C., the inhabitants of East Finland used the asbestos mineral …