Where is asbestos found in flats and houses?

Asbestos in the home comes in many forms and is used for its heat resistance tensile strength and as a bonding agent in materials from asbestos insulation board lining to asbestos floor tiles and asbestos pipe lagging.

Asbestos was used up until 1999 with peak usage of asbestos being in the 1960s and 1970s. Higher risk asbestos materials that have a greater likelihood of releasing fibre were prohibited gradually before all asbestos usage was ceased in 1999.

Where are the most common places to find asbestos?

The most commonly found asbestos materials in houses that we are asked to sample include Artex and similar textured coatings to ceilings and walls, asbestos cement garage roofs, cement cold water tanks and flue pipes soffits and guttering. Asbestos floor tiles are still often found in older properties on occasion under wooden flooring or a couple of layers of lino.

Asbestos is used where there is a risk of fire such as in air heating systems and in the lining to boiler cupboards and airing cupboards in garage ceilings in older storage heaters, air heating systems, in gas heaters in fire blankets and very old ironing boards. In some areas such as parts of Chessington and also Sunbury, there are houses built with asbestos cement ceilings and walls.  We have come across numerous cases of asbestos cement garage ceilings in Esher, Hinchley Wood, Sutton and Claygate and Asbestos board ceilings in Townhouses in Teddington and Richmond for example.

What to do if you think you have asbestos in your house

Often we receive enquiries from homeowners and buyers who suspect asbestos is present in a house or flat. If you are not sure whether if asbestos is present in your home or if you are about to buy a house or flat then it is often wise to find out. The survey can be carried out of all of a house or sampling carried out if there is a specific material suspected to contain asbestos.

Asbestos Sampling

If you suspect a particular material to contain asbestos then we can carry out a sample of the suspected asbestos. The asbestos samples will then be analysed by a UKAS lab. We will give you a definitive answer whether asbestos is present or not. If asbestos is found then we are happy to run through any remedial action that is required. In some cases, lower risk asbestos materials such as Chrysotile asbestos floor tiles and Artex can be left in situ.

Do I need to remove all asbestos in the home?

If the asbestos containing material is in good condition it often does not require any action apart from ensuring nothing is done to disturb it and risk releasing fibres and that it is monitored to ensure no deterioration occurs.

Damaged asbestos especially in a more friable material such as asbestos insulation board or pipe lagging with a greater likelihood of fibre release is likely to require encapsulation or removal to prevent any risk of it releasing asbestos fibres.

Do I need an Asbestos Survey of my house?

If there are a few suspected asbestos materials or the house is of an age or design such as a 1960s to 1970s bungalow, redbrick house or townhouse then it may be worth having a full survey carried out.

We have come across clients in Cobham and Epsom who have not checked before buying and found asbestos insulation board in their walls under the windows and not identified in partition walls and in the loft and in the soffits. With higher risk materials the asbestos removal process is very stringently controlled and can be relatively expensive so in these cases, it would have been better to know before buying a house with asbestos and facing a bill of several thousand for asbestos removal.