Asbestos management for homeowners.

As I have said before, asbestos management in a home mainly consists of keeping a watchful and knowledgeable eye on your house and maintaining the materials that contain asbestos in good condition.

Table of contents for this page.
Asbestos management for AC siding, FAC flat sheets on wall and ceilings | Management of corrugated FAC roof sheeting | Wet area sheets, "Tilux" | Loose items containing asbestos. | To test or not to test, that is the question |

If you know or suspect that you have asbestos in your home DON'T PANIC.  Just about all of the asbestos related products are very stable.
By far the best asbestos management strategy is to LEAVE IT ALONE. DO NOT DISTURB IT!
The danger from asbestos is through inhaling the fibres but in it's undamaged state it does not give off any fibres.

Asbestos management for AC siding, FAC flat sheets on wall and ceilings

  • On a fairly regular basis check the material to see that it is in good, undamaged condition.
  • Don't to anything that will abrade the surface, don't scour it, don't let tree branches get anywhere near it so that they can abrade it.
  • If the siding or sheeting shows signs of wear, if is is unpainted, if has got damaged in some way the consider the asbestos management strategy of encapsulating it.
    • The simplest way to do this is to paint it.
    • Prepare for painting in the normal way but do not use scourers.  wash down with a chlorine solution if it shows signs of mould.  Use sugar soap or plain soapy water.
    • Dispose of cleaning rags etc. according to the same procedure used for disposing of any asbestos products. Refer to your local rgulatios.
    • Another more permanent way of encapsulating FAC sheeting and siding is to cover it with new sheeting, for example Sheetrock or plasterboard internally and new metal or vinyl cladding externally.
    • If you have to remove AC battens etc from the old cladding follow correct asbestos removal procedures.
  • For the most part the motto "If it's not broken don't fix it" is good advice, however if your sheeting gets damaged or if it shows signs of wear fix it as soon as possible.
  • This may be as simple as just screwing or gluing a piece of replacement material over a hole, or it may mean a larger project that requires outside help.
  • In either case, make sure that the person doing the work follows correct removal and disposal procedures.

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Asbestos Management of corrugated FAC roof sheeting

This is one product that in my opinion that there is no asbestos management method. The only thing to do with this stuff is to have it removed professionally.  In the same category are asbestos cement gutters and rainwater downpipes.

  • The material itself has a very high percentage of asbestos fibres in, far more than the ordinary flat Fibro sheets.
  • On a roof it gets far more weathering than wall or eaves lining.
  • Super Six as it is known in Australia loses it's strength with age, so even if there was no asbestos in it, there is a good case to be made for its removal on those grounds alone. I did a job many years ago where my guys fell through the roof three times.  Not all the way through luckily. But it could have been far more serious.
  • Be extremely careful if you have to walk on one of these roofs.
  • Always step on the battens and if possible at the overlap of the joints where there is a double thickness.
  • If I had to go on one of these roofs, say to fix a TV antenna I would make up a cat ladder.

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Asbestos Management of Wet area sheets, "Tilux"

a tilux shower recess
Asbestos management - A "Tilux" lined shower recess.

  • It is possible to leave these old sheets in place, they are pre finished.
  • If they are showing sign of wear then they can be painted, preferably with two pack epoxy.
  • A better way is to simply cover them with ceramic tiles.
  • The more usual thing to do with these sheets though is to remove them entirely because bathrooms and the like get a significant amount of other alterations done in a remodeling project.  In this case of course the correct asbestos removal procedures should be carried out.

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Asbestos management of loose items.

For items like planter boxes, garden ornaments, stove top pads, oven gloves ironing board covers etc it is best just to dispose of them if you have the slightest suspicion that the may contain asbestos.

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Asbestos management - To test or not to test, that is the question.

Some reasons not to test:-

  • Consider carefully before removing pieces of suspect material to send to a testing lab.   There are asbestos testing kits available that allow you to do it yourself, but just the actual fact of disturbing the material for a test piece release fibres into your home.
  • In many cases it may be better not to do any testing at all, but to just assume that the suspect material does contain asbestos and treat it accordingly
  • Depending on where you live there may be a legal issue to consider before getting any testing or an asbestos audit done on your property.
  • If you get tests done that prove the existence of asbestos containing materials you may then be duty bound to disclose that fact to prospective purchasers of the property or others with an interest in it.

Reasons to test.

  • For your own peace of mind it may be better to know the facts.
  • Asbestos removal can be expensive, so if test results are negative then you may save a lot of money.
  • Depending on the type of building, for instance if it is a rental property you may be legally bound to have an asbestos audit done on the property.

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Asbestos - Disclaimer.

This is a highly complex and stringently regulated field.   I am not a scientist, I am not a government spokesperson or anyone with any authority to talk or give professional advice on the subject in your area.

What I am is a retired builder with a large amount of practical experience fixing fibrous asbestos cement products and then later removing them.

In 1995 I was issued an asbestos removal licence (43133) by the Northern Territory Work Health Authority, and did many asbestos removal jobs, complying with Australian Work Health (OH&S) Regulations and the NOHSC National Code Of Practice For The Safe Removal Of Asbestos.

I hope you get something of value out of these pages, but a word of caution, at the last count I get visitors from 132 different countries, there is no way that I can give specific advice that would comply with the regulations in your country, state, district or local area.

In other words, the onus is on YOU to check out the regulations where you live, and comply with them.   If you have any doubts get advice from a licensed person IN YOUR AREA.



Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
You must check your own local conditions.
Copyright © Bill Bradley 2007-2012. All rights reserved.
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