Here at Core Surveys, we’re often asked where the most common places to find asbestos are, at home or in the workplace.
But first, what exactly is asbestos? You may already be aware that the term asbestos refers to six naturally occurring silicate minerals, all of which are made up of long, thin fibrous crystals.
Clearly, all types of these fibres are known to give rise to severe health risks in both animals and humans, and that exposure to them is always considered hazardous, with most asbestos-related diseases only diagnosed several years after exposure.
The reality is you can potentially find asbestos in pretty much any residential or industrial structure built pre- 2000, since it was a very commonly used building trade material, and its use in the UK was not banned until the turn of the millennium.
Where is Asbestos Often Found in Residential Properties?
There are more potential hiding places for asbestos fibres in the home than you may have realised.
And when residential construction products made with it get damaged, the fibres become airborne, and possibly lethal to anyone who inhales this toxic dust.
In a home, asbestos can be concealed in the roof area, in places such as pipe lagging or the cement of a water tank or loose-fill insulation.
Another potential location is in the textured coatings used to create decorative finishes on walls and ceilings. There were often patterns or peaks to the finish, and traditional trade names for these finishes include Artex.
You should also be aware of Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB), often used in fireproofing but also found in places such as ceiling tiles, behind the fire, in partition walls, bath panels and the panels beneath windows. Or this board may also be lurking behind your fuse box, in the airing cupboard or around your boiler.
Staying in the bathroom, asbestos can be found in the bath panel, as well as in your toilet cistern and seat. If you have vinyl floor tiles, these could also contain asbestos fibres.
Where Can Asbestos Be Found Outside Your Home?
Unfortunately, it’s also possible to find asbestos in external areas of your home, including in gutters and downpipes, soffits, outside window panels and roofing felt.
One thing to look out for in particular is asbestos cement, found inside and outside residential properties. This is a mix of chrysotile (or white asbestos) and cement, moulded and compressed to create a range of different products.
It can look just like conventional cement and can be made up of more than a third asbestos.
What About Asbestos in an Office or Other Commercial Building?
When it comes to commercial sites, again asbestos can lie concealed in a myriad of different locations. Similarly to a home, it can be found in sprayed coatings on various surfaces, in a water tank, in loose-fill insulation and in the lagging on pipes and boilers.
Ceilings and vinyl floor tiles, partition walls and fire doors can all potentially harbour asbestos. You can also find AIB around boilers, while asbestos may be lurking in textiles including fire blankets, and, as in a residential dwelling, in a textured coating such as Artex.
Outside a commercial building, key places to check include the roof, gutters, soffits, flues and downpipes. Once again, asbestos cement and AIB present particular menaces.
Choose Us for Your Asbestos Survey
A thorough inspection of a premises in the form of an asbestos survey is the best way of identifying how much asbestos is present in a building. This allows you to carry out a thorough risk assessment and plan a way forward, especially if you’re demolishing or renovating a site.
At Core Surveys, we’re accredited asbestos testers and inspectors with a reputation for swift, cost-effective results. Whatever your project, commercial or residential, let us take care of the asbestos side of things, including removing and getting rid of it.
We’ll start by listening at length to what you need and take it from there, offering practical solutions every step of the way. Start by giving us a call today.