Asbestos was an essential construction material in the past. Most of the houses that were built before 1980 in the country either have asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (ACM). While the use of asbestos in construction started declining in the 1980s, it was only in 2003 when the material was banned from use in building throughout Australia. Time and again, traces of asbestos have been found in many homes around the country. Below are five signs that might indicate the presence of asbestos in your home.
If the home was built before 1980
If you bought a home that was constructed before 1980, there is a high chance that you could have asbestos in the house. Asbestos was used in the construction of floors, walls, pipe cement and ceilings. The risk in these older homes is that asbestos deteriorates with time, and if damaged, it could release fibres that cause complications such as lung cancer.
If your house has flat corrugated or bitumen roofing
The manufacture of flat corrugated roofing sheets involves the use of asbestos cement. Even though white asbestos, said to be the least harmful of the three types of asbestos, is used in the making of these two roofing materials, it is still a health hazard. The fibre utilised to reinforce the roofing material is also made of asbestos and was widely manufactured in the country in the past. If your house is old and has a bitumen or flat corrugated roof, you might want to check for asbestos.
If you have 9x9-inch or vinyl flooring tiles
In the last century, manufacturers mixed asbestos into vinyl products to make them strong and durable. If your house was built in the 80s and it has vinyl flooring, it's possible that the tiles contain asbestos. Other vinyl construction materials that might contain asbestos include vinyl wallpaper and vinyl sheet flooring.
If the home has old cement sheet ceilings
Cement sheet ceilings used to be made using asbestos for structural integrity. If your ceiling is made of this material, you should also check cover traps and vent covers as they might all contain asbestos.
If you find out your house has asbestos, but it is still intact, there won't be much cause for alarm. However, if the materials are showing signs of deterioration or appear damaged, you may need to leave the building and call professional asbestos services for inspection and removal.