Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Where Can Asbestos Be Found?

Asbestos is a well known hazardous material nowadays and has been known as such for a good twenty plus years now. But there was a time when it was considered to be almost a super material and used en masse throughout residential and commercial properties. Unfortunately, it was used so frequently that a lot of buildings still retain asbestos in many hidden areas. This needs to be addressed by professionals who know how to safely remove it without causing any health risks.

So, the question is, just where might asbestos be lurking in your property? Here are a few examples of the most common places that asbestos can be found, so you can then find out and if necessary, do something about it. 

Firstly, asbestos can be found in certain types of cement. There are tests and analysis that can be carried out, if a surveyor suspects asbestos cement. This kind of asbestos can be found on cement roofs on larger agricultural buildings, wall cladding, guttering of warehouses and cement flues, found in some ventilation systems.

Asbestos, rather alarmingly was used in many textured coatings of domestic properties, due to its heat protective properties. These decorative touches were seen on both walls and ceilings. One of the better known examples of this was Artex, which is now seen as potentially hazardous and should be taken down; if it was installed before the late 1970’s when asbestos was still being used.

Asbestos can be uncovered in floor tiles, which may be laying unknown underneath carpets or laminate.
Certain textile materials contain asbestos and there may be evidence of this behind a fuse box. They used to make fire blankets and other heat resistant objects such as safety gloves from asbestos, because it had the quality of repelling high temperatures.

Asbestos was often used as an insulation material too and can be found under roofs of lots of buildings, both domestic and commercial. It was also installed to create protection against fire to steel beams and under floors where columns were found.

Other places that asbestos can be found to reside in are within lift shafts linings, between partition walls, the panels of fire doors, amongst boilers and other sorts of heated pipes, lagging, lofts, cavity walls and in panelling underneath windows.
Hopefully this highlights just how much asbestos was used in all areas of a property, so if you are concerned, then call in an expert and don’t try to remove it yourself.

If you need an asbestos removal team to get rid of any asbestos in your home or business premises we would be more than happy to help.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

What is Asbestos?

Lots of us have probably heard of asbestos in one way or another and most of us should know that it is a potentially 
harmful material that needs to be treated with care. But what is it and why do we need to be so careful around it?

Asbestos was hugely popular and widespread in the 1950’s throughout the building and construction industries. The reason? It has very good insulating properties, by keeping the cold out, whilst holding heat in. Asbestos was found to also be a strong protector against fire and corrosion.  For these reasons, asbestos was mass produced and used in a wide variety of ways and incorporated in all sorts of buildings, including countless thousands of domestic properties.

However, from as far back as the 1970’s, asbestos was found to hide many serious health risks, mostly concerning the lungs of those who come into close contact with the fibrous material. Diseases such as: Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, lung cancer and pleural thickening are the most common with exposure to asbestos. The difficulty with these are that they take a long time to develop and therefore, to diagnose. This was one of the factors why the danger of asbestos wasn’t highlighted straight away. 

There were attempts at blanket bans of the use of asbestos in new builds, but because of various loopholes, it wasn’t until the turn of the new millennium that it was against the law to use it. Regardless of the ban, there remains huge portions of buildings that still have asbestos used somewhere as lining, be it in ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, loft insulation, boilers or sprayed coatings.

It’s often thought that asbestos was used to add insulation in lofts as thick panels of it were laid down. This is true; however, it was more widely spread than that. For example, a sprayed coating of asbestos was used to protect against fire on beams in properties. AIB, or asbestos insulating board is highly dangerous and was used in door panels mostly. If these are cut, then the tiny fibres of asbestos fly out and this is what can cause lung damage. AIB was also used in many window panels too, and the result of which is the same as that on the doors. 

Thermoplastic tiles that were used on many floors of buildings in the 1950’s contained asbestos, and these could become air bound if torn up. Asbestos was also used in cement roof sheeting, commonplace on larger scale buildings, such as factories and warehouse roofs.  

Lastly, asbestos was used in the process of decorative coating in properties, chiefly the ceiling panel design called Artex. It may only contain traces of asbestos, but this material should still be treated and precautions taken when handling it.