How to Remove Asbestos
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral that was used extensively as a building and insulating material from the 1950s to the 1980s, when the dangers it presents became apparent.
It was used to make structures more rigid, robust and fire resistant, but was often also used in everyday household products, such as ironing board covers and oven gloves.
Historic Uses of Asbestos
As a result of its widespread use, there are some places you may still find asbestos in your home today, especially in you know it was built between 1950s and 1980s. These include:
- Garage and shed roofs
- Eaves and guttering
- Floor tiles
- Central heating flues
- Loose asbestos packing between floors and walls
We are all now aware of the health risks asbestos can pose, and that asbestos fibres and dust are very dangerous if inhaled, especially over a prolonged period of time. Asbestos can cause severe respiratory diseases and cancer, although you are unlikely to experience symptoms straight away it can affect you up to 20 or 30 years after exposure.
Do you have Asbestos in your Home?
The presence of asbestos can be very difficult to ascertain, and although you may be only slightly suspicious, you should always seek the assistance of a professional to carry out a thorough asbestos survey. Whilst waiting you should follow these steps below:
- Don’t panic – simply leave the suspected asbestos alone and so long as it remains undisturbed it should remain safe.
- Do not take your own samples: if it is asbestos and you disturb the fibres, it could immediately become a huge risk to you and your family – again seek a licensed contractor to assist with a professional survey.
- Never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials, or do anything else that could otherwise damage it.
- Never considering disturbing or removing it yourself – licensed contractors have the expertise, training and equipment to protect you and your family from the harmful effects or asbestos.
How do Professionals Remove Asbestos?
All asbestos materials and asbestos-containing materials should be handled, removed and disposed of carefully and in the correct and legal way. We never recommend that you attempt this yourself – the risk from asbestos fibres is simply too great!
That’s why you should always hire a professional, licensed contractor who will have the experience, equipment and skill to effectively remove all traces of asbestos from your home, quickly and safely.
First they will begin by preparing the work area, ensuring they have safe access, which may include using a mobile access platform. They will then have to restrict access to the site, minimising the amount of people present. They’ll ensure all doors, windows and vents are properly closed, sealed and taped off and will clearly display warning notices.
They will also have to dress in personal protective equipment to keep themselves safe, including disposable overalls fitted with a hood and specialist respiratory protective equipment.
Most Skip Hire companies are not licensed to remove asbestos from your property, but a lot do work closely with fully licensed companies that can assist with the safe and effective removal of any asbestos containing materials.
Alternativly you can also find specialised waste management containers for your home to ensure that you have a suitable disposal solution. Then have those containers collected and dispose of all asbestos containing materials in a safe and legal manner.