If your house was built before 1985, it is highly likely to contain some asbestos-based materials.
Once airborne, asbestos can become potentially dangerous if it lodges in the lungs.
Expert removal of any asbestos materials is essential to ensure the safety of all involved.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral made up of thin fibrous crystals that can be released by abrasion and other processes. They are commonly known by their colours, with the following three found in Australia:

  • Chrysolite or White Asbestos
  • Amosite or Brown Asbestos
  • Crocidolite or Blue Asbestos

Asbestos was utilised extensively due to its desirable properties of sound absorption, tensile strength, fire resistance, affordability and its resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage.

Where is Asbestos Used?

Non-friable asbestos (or bonded asbestos) was commonly used for roof sheeting and capping, wall sheeting and cladding, eaves and soffits, guttering, gables, water pipes and flues. It was also used for fencing, carports, sheds and garages. As well as in construction materials, asbestos was also used in brake pads and plant machinery.

Friable asbestos (or loosely bound materials) was used for sound proofing, fire proofing, lagging and insulation on stoves, heaters and hot water systems.

Asbestos felt was also used as a backing material for several varieties of linoleum and vinyl flooring. This can pose a serious health risk if the floor covering is removed, as the fibres can very easily become airborne.

Who Can Remove Asbestos?

Because of the serious health risks posed by its airborne particles, any materials containing asbestos must only be removed and handled by a professional and licensed removalist.

If a building was built before 1985, it is highly likely that it will contain some form of asbestos material. If the property was built between 1985 and 1990, it is also very possible that it contains some of the mineral. If it was built after 1990 it is unlikely to contain any.

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Asbestos mining began more than 4,000 years ago, but did not start large-scale until the end of the 19th century. Manufacturers and builders began using the mineral because of its high resistance to fire, heat and electrical damage, its sound absorption, and its affordability. It was used as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation. When used for fire or heat resistance, the fibers are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats. This became a very widely used material, and its use continued to grow throughout most of the 20th century until the carcinogenic effects of the dust were discovered.

Some typical products that contain asbestos fibres include:

  • ACM sheets utilised in construction
  • Thermal insulation and lagging
  • Roof sheets
  • Fence sheets
  • Pipes and downpipes
  • Low density board and ceiling tiles
  • Brake pads and housings
  • Acoustic ceilings

Asbestos becomes hazardous as soon as it is airborne