When you’re looking to buy a home and come across asbestos, it is natural to be concerned. Most of the houses built around or before the 1990s can have a presence of asbestos around the property. These are mostly in the form of bonded asbestos cement and could have been used in various products, including:
- Drainage channels for sewage
- The backings of carpets, rugs, and floor coverings
- Roof shingles and guttering
- Fibro or fibrolite sheeting
- Vent pipes
- Insulation spaces
- Switches and power points
- Around gas and wood heaters
- Garden edging and fencing
- Dog kennels
- Vinyl tiles
Now that you know where asbestos can be hidden, when should you be careful? Asbestos in its intact form is not harmful. It only becomes harmful when damaged or in a deteriorating condition. This is when it might become airborne and in cases of moderate to high contamination in the body, might cause lung cancer or asbestosis. Asbestosis is a very critical and life-threatening infection if it develops complications.
Thus, when you are looking to purchase a house, keep in mind that asbestos in a friable form is both hazardous and expensive to deal with. A very rough figure for asbestos removal could be anywhere between 100 dollars to 200 dollars per square meter. These costs are dependent on multiple factors like the quantity of asbestos, the complexity of the task, labour costs, and countermeasures needed during the release of asbestos fibre.
The first question that would pop up in your mind would be “What should I do if I find asbestos in a house I intend to buy?”
Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a property for renovation, paying a few hundred dollars for a professional asbestos inspection service to determine the presence and severity of the problem seems more reasonable. Under no circumstances should you try to remove the asbestos materials yourself, be it friable or not. Once damaged or disturbed, a process of release of harmful asbestos fibres is triggered and this would be very dangerous. Any procedure where asbestos is involved should be performed by a licensed professional who can safely remove and contain the asbestos particles during the entire tenure.
Finding asbestos might be distressing, but it is very common when one is looking at buying a home, considering how widely it has been used in home construction and building supplies for quite a long time. But rather than taking any hefty decisions, asbestos can be dealt with comfortably once you bring in a professional.