A guide to what asbestos is and what you can do if you find it in your home.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural raw material. In the past, it was used in a lot of building materials because it is strong and can stand up to heat and chemicals.
If you have asbestos in your home it is not a problem as long as it is in good condition and you do not disturb it (for example, by drilling into it or using sandpaper on it).
If asbestos is disturbed or damaged, its fibres can get into the air. If you breathe in these fibres, you can get a range of very serious illnesses.
Usually, there is a low risk of getting these illnesses from asbestos that is used in homes. However, you should try not to come into contact with asbestos fibres. If there is asbestos in your home and it is in a place where it might be damaged easily, it may be safer for you to have it removed. Any asbestos removal work must be agreed with us before work starts.
You should never try to remove any asbestos yourself.
What is asbestos found in?
Asbestos can sometimes be found in the following places, especially if the materials were made a long time ago.
- Roofs – corrugated (ridged) roof panels and roofing boards
- Water and drainage – guttering, drainpipes, and cold-water tanks
- Fires – surroundings and flue pipes
- Walls, ceilings and floors – plaster, Artex, ceiling tiles, and plastic or vinyl floor tiles
- Bathrooms – toilet seats, toilet cisterns (tanks), and bath panels
- Central-heating systems – hot-water boilers, gas fires, and electric storage heaters
- Insulating board used for fire protection.
What are we doing about asbestos?
By law, we do not have to remove asbestos from your home, but we do have to manage it properly (for example, making it safe).
All our trades staff and contractors are trained to recognise asbestos and not disturb it when working in your home.
We are checking our homes for asbestos. If we come to your home, we may take samples of materials that we think may have asbestos in them so that we can test them. We will put information about where asbestos is on our database. If we know there is asbestos in your home, we may come back to check that it has not been damaged or whether we need to do any work on it.
However, if anything with asbestos in it is damaged, we will come out straight away to remove it or make it safe.
What you can do
You should also take care if you are decorating or carrying out any repairs in your home. If you think something has asbestos in it, you should not:
- drill it;
- cut it;
- scrape it;
- use sandpaper on it; or
- disturb it in any other way.
Some types of asbestos materials are very soft, and a lot of fibres will get into the air if you rub or scrape them. If you are concerned about any potential asbestos before doing any decorating in your home, please phone us. You should never try to remove any asbestos yourself. A licensed contractor must remove some types of asbestos. They will remove it safely and make sure that they get rid of it properly.