If you own an older home and have an eye on renovation, you will need to take particular care. Until you find out otherwise, you should assume that your home contains asbestos in one form or another, and any work could be problematic. This doesn't mean that you cannot renovate and update your property, but it does mean that you need to be aware of the risks and consult experts before you proceed. What's one of the biggest potential risks associated with period properties?
Beware of Loose-Fill Insulation
Many homes of a certain vintage will feature loose-fill insulation, a particularly effective way of regulating internal temperatures. After all, this type of installation would be sprayed into the space between an outer wall and inner drywall or into the void between the ceiling and the attic. It effectively controlled the in-home temperature. It would ensure that hot air could not penetrate the inner envelope in the summer and keep warm, conditioned air in those living rooms during winter.
Availability of Asbestos
Unfortunately, builders usually chose the most cost-effective solution in those days without being aware of the repercussions. They would buy this loose-fill insulation in bulk even though it had asbestos in it and often at a very high concentration. This loose-fill insulation would be easy to work with due to its very nature and could be easily pumped into those wall cavities. However, the asbestos would then be "friable," which means that it could escape into the atmosphere when not contained.
Threat to Health
Asbestos that becomes easily airborne is a significant threat to health. People can breathe it in without realising that they have done so, and this could lead to lung problems and certain types of cancers in the years ahead. This is why the government now regulates asbestos and why you need to take particular care before you break into those ceiling voids or drywall spaces. If you do so without regulation, you could disturb the friable asbestos, with significant risks to anyone in the vicinity.
Call in the Experts
So, before you raise a tool to begin any renovation work, get in touch with experienced contractors. They will conduct tests to find out if your hidden areas contain friable asbestos. If so, they'll take steps to remove it safely before you get down to any work.
Contact professionals in your area for more information about asbestos removal.