Does my ceiling contain asbestos?
During the 1950s up until the 1980s, asbestos was commonly used in houses due to its fireproofing and heat resistance properties. Asbestos ceilings helped to reduce the risk of any fires spreading throughout the house and are predominantly still found in bathrooms, utility rooms and garages. Verandah ceilings and asbestos eaves were also used to reduce the risk of fire spreading to adjoining properties.
Asbestos ceilings can contain the three common asbestos types, which include chysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos). Asbestos can usually be found in ceilings such as:
- Asbestos Cement Sheet
- Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB)
- Asbestos Ceiling Tiles
- Sprayed insulation such as vermiculite or popcorn ceilings
There is a strong possibility that if your home has one of the above ceilings it contains asbestos. It is strongly recommended that you employ an asbestos testing company to sample a piece of the ceiling. Once tested, a qualified company will talk through the options available to you. When materials containing asbestos are disturbed, fibres can be released into the air and once inhaled can lead to terminal diseases. Sometimes it is recommended that if asbestos is present but remains intact, it can be left or covered as long as it is regularly managed and monitored. However, ceilings can be extremely hard to repair or renovate without the risk of fibres escaping into the air. A simple coat of paint or scrapping away the existing paint can cause the asbestos to become airborne. A lot of the paint used up until the 1980s contained asbestos too. Therefore, it is recommended that ceilings be removed by a professional asbestos abatement service before any minor or major work is carried out.