Guide To DIY Asbestos Removal
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a common term used to refer to a group of six minerals. The minerals are usually made up of durable fibers, and they are highly resistant to heat and different chemicals. In the past, asbestos was used in manufacturing a broad range of products such as building materials and fireproof protective gears. It is has been proved that constant exposure to asbestos can cause various types of cancer and it is highly poisonous.
Places Where Asbestos is Found in Your Home
You would be surprised at all the different locations asbestos might be found in your home especially if your house was built before 1990. If you are unsure, you should get an asbestos inspection from a licensed company like Pro Asbestos Removal Melbourne who offer free appraisals for domestic homes. Below are some places you should check for asbestos.
Asbestos was commonly used as a roofing material for the older houses in Australia. Asbestos roofing comes in two different forms;
- Corrugated asbestos sheeting which is widely known by its brand name “Super Six.”
- Roof shingles. The roof shingles look very much alike like slate, and most of the real estate agents will lie to you about it.
Asbestos in eaves, gutters, pipes, and chimneys
The chances of other structural features of homes containing asbestos are high. The structural features include gutters, eaves, chimney flues and pipes such as hot water pipes and down pipes. The possibilities of having asbestos in these areas are so high, and it isn’t easy to spot it if you aren’t an expert.
Asbestos in Vinyl flooring and carpets
Don’t be surprised that asbestos may be found beneath your feet. Before 1990, asbestos was widely used to extend the lifespan of linoleum. There is a possibility of finding it in both lino floor tiles and lino sheets. Sometimes, the Hessian bags that are commonly used to make carpet underlay also contains asbestos.
Most of the flooring materials contain a high concentration of asbestos that can easily be released into the air when the carpet or lino is ripped up.
Asbestos in walls
Older homes, garages, and sheds contain asbestos in both their interior and exterior walls. The asbestos is commonly in form of fibro. The term refers to the bonded form of asbestos meaning that for as long as it remains intact, the asbestos can’t escape to air. Problems arise when the fibro is disturbed either by drilling a hole inside the fibro or by knocking the wall down. It becomes friable hence releasing dangerous asbestos into the air.
Asbestos in Insulation
Asbestos is commonly used as a strengthening material. Further, the material is also preferred by manufacturers for its fire-retardant and insulating properties. It can be found as an insulation material for older stoves and heaters. Asbestos is also used as a loose insulation for inside ceilings.
Asbestos Regulations in Australia
Keep in mind that every Australian state has different requirements for the safe removal of asbestos containing materials (ACM). All the States don’t require you to have a valid license to remove limited amounts of ACM, if it’s less than 10 square metres. The asbestos licensing is currently regulated through the Planning and Land Authority Act. The type of license you require to remove ACM depends on whether the material has been classified as friable or non-friable. For more information about the removal of ACM, you can visit http://www.asbestos.vic.gov.au/ the Victorian Asbestos Safety website.
Steps To Removing Asbestos
If you are thinking of removing even the smallest amount of asbestos yourself, be sure to follow all the precautionary measures to stay safe.
Make sure that you wear the appropriate personal protective equipment that meets the minimum set standards. The PPE equipment should include the following;
- Disposable overalls
- Footwear- gumboots are the best option. Never wear shoes with laces
- Shoe covers-They are worn over shoes and should cover the whole gumboot
- Hand gloves- use disposable neoprene gloves
- A mask-should be worn at all times
- Protective eye-wear- Wear the protective eye-wear when working with materials that can easily produce dust
Don’t eat or drink anything in the area you are working from and avoid using power tools. To find more information about safety before removing asbestos check it at Asbestos Awareness.
- Before you begin removing the asbestos make sure that you have closed all the doors and seal the work area using a tape and plastic sheets. This is to avoid contaminating your whole house with asbestos.
- Cover all the vents, heating ducts, and air conditioning
- Get rid of all soft furnishings and curtains from the working area. Alternatively, you can seal them in plastic if they can’t be removed.
- Carefully lay the 0.2 meters thick plastic sheeting under the work area to prevent any dust from contaminating the floor.
- Carefully remove the asbestos while taking precaution not to harm yourself.
- After you are done be sure to clean up the area as explained below
- Stack the asbestos cement very carefully on safe plastic sheets. Make sure that you wrap the material at least twice while still in the work area. The plastic sheets need to be at least 200 mm thick, and they must not be used for any other purpose.
- While stacking the sheets, avoid skidding one sheet over the other because the fibers may end up being released
- Don’t leave the plastic sheets to lie in the area once you are done because they may be broken down by people.. Make sure that no dust leaves the workspace either by shoes or clothing. You should stack all the used overalls and masks in bags for removal with the plastic sheets.
- Avoid dry sweeping the area. You should dampen the dust first with some little water from a spray pump.
If you know that there are asbestos materials in your home, make a point of checking them regularly for any signs of damage. Limit the interaction of children with any asbestos containing materials. Take measure to protect your household against the risks associated with asbestos today.