Most people you ask could name at least a few materials which might contain asbestos. From cement eaves and fibre board walls to resin electrical units and woven rope seals, the list of products which could contain asbestos is near endless. All too frequently we receive calls from Melbourne home owners who are concerned about their kitchen walls but never thought about what might be under the sink or in the door of their oven. Here are some of the areas you may have never thought could contain asbestos.
Asbestos in the ceiling void
Loose asbestos insulation is one of the most terrifying materials to find in your home and as such this materials is receiving increasing attention. (read further about Mr Fluffy asbestos insulation within Canberra homes https://www.asbestostesting.com.au/news1/mr-fluffy-methods-of-investigation-of-asbestos-in-canberra-houses/).
However, the insulation may not be the only potential asbestos item in your ceiling. Disused hot water units may reside in the ceiling void and without boring into the side there is no way to know for sure what the insulation within these is made of. Another hot water related product in your ceiling may be a cement pipe or lagging from an old unit in a cupboard or laundry. Even if the unit has been remove there is a chance that the pipe remains.
Asbestos walls and ceiling
This sounds glaringly obvious, but if the outside of your home is made of a plastic weatherboard or the roof is tiled ceramic it might never have occurred to you that there may be a hidden layer beneath all this. As styles changed over time homeowners might have placed a more attractive roof or a decorative wall directly over the top of the old asbestos product.
Asbestos in a window frame
The idea of asbestos being used in a window might sound absurd but it is something to be mindful of next time one breaks. Asbestos is sometimes found in the window putty of wooden window frames and in the black “bubble-gum-like” sealants of metal window frames. Even if you cannot see any sealant where the window meets the frame there may be a small layer of an asbestos containing mastic deep inside the groove.
Asbestos under the sink
If you open your cupboards and take a look underneath your sink you may see a small black square or the underside of your drainer might be completely covered in a bumpy black coating. These are noise dampeners designed to minimise the sound made when placing items on the sink and they can both contain asbestos.
An asbestos brick wall
Technically it wouldn’t be a brick wall at all but looking at it you would not know otherwise. These “brick walls” are a decorative coating only a few millimetres thick applied directly onto a fibre board or cement panel which may contain asbestos, particularly in older homes. In some stone walls, the pointing material between the tiles or bricks may also contain asbestos.
There are many more materials and locations within the average home which could contain asbestos. The wires in the walls, paint on the ceiling or packing under the floor are all items which at one time have contained asbestos. So before you do any home improvement or plan a renovation, call someone who knows all of these hidden places and materials which may pose a risk to you and your family.
Contact our team of highly trained asbestos assessors as Safe Environments to assist you in identifying asbestos or having materials sent to our NATA accredited laboratory for asbestos testing which may hidden in your Melbourne home.
Author: Amy Morris
Amy Morris is a Property Risk Assessor at Safe Environments Victoria with a Bachelor of Science (Forensic Science) and associated Biology major and Forensic Chemistry sub-major. Having worked both nationally and internationally in her field Amy is familiar with current standards and legislation for asbestos and other hazardous substances. Trained under Safe Environments NATA endorsed training program she regularly conducts residential and commercial asbestos inspections and provides consulting services to individuals and companies.